CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

Caution

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 28,000 photographs -— most of Capitol Hill images, many glorious, some technically amazing. The pool is a mix of contributions from Capitol Hill — and nearby — shutterbugs. Interested in being part of it? If we like your photo and it helps us tell the story, we may feature it on CHS so please include your name and/or a link to your website so we can properly credit you. Interested in working as a paid CHS contributor for scheduled assignments? Drop us a line –- our roster is full for general assignments but pitch us on an idea. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Yes, another Thai restaurant on Capitol Hill

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Wiborg is ready to offer you a cold one

Wiborg is ready to offer you a cold one

(Images: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

It’s true. We once found a Capitol Hill planning permit with these simple project notes: “Replace the old Thai restaurant with a new Thai restaurant.”

Here’s a look at the Hill’s latest new restaurant to create dishes catering to Seattle’s favorite cuisine.

Soi is the creation of husband and wife restaurateurs Gabe Wiborg and Yuie Helseth Soi who are bringing their years of food and drink industry experience and Kent-tested and approved recipes to E Union. The new restaurant quietly opened last week in the giant Broadstone Infinity development. “We wanted to do a restaurant like Soi in the beginning but Kent wasn’t the right place,” Wiborg told CHS earlier this year. “We had ambitious visions, ideas, and goals.”

Soi joins quite the flock of Thai restaurants in Central Seattle — we count 19 in the neighborhoods west of I-5, north of Cherry, south of 520. In coming months, Big Uncle will make it 19 1/2 — though we’d be willing to bet another two or three will be added to the list in the meantime.

Soi is located at 1400 10th Ave. You can learn more at soicapitolhill.com.

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Pike/Pine kink shop The Crypt gets the boot

If you’ve experienced spotty service and inconsistent business hours at Capitol Hill’s “harder, more extreme” sex shop, be gentle. These are rough times at The Crypt.

A sign has gone up announcing a “50% off,” going out of business sale at the 11th Ave purveyor of kink. “We’ll miss you Seattle.” We’re checking to find out the final day of business. Let us know if you’ve heard.

Behind the scenes, the store is getting kicked out. Earlier this week, the court sided with the sex shop’s landlord with a $11,706.22 judgement on unpaid rent against the company that operated the Pike/Pine store as part of a chain of six stores in Washington, California, and Colorado. Attempts to reach parent company Crypto Technology or its other stores have not been successful — every phone number we have found has been disconnected and the ecommerce website is gone.

CHS visited 11th Ave’s The Crypt last summer for a peek inside the Hill’s kink shop:

“We’re definitely harder, more extreme than other stores,” said manager Shawn Allen Hall, not far from the gagged mannequin hanging from a sex swing that greets customers at the front door. On the other hand, the seen-it-all staff are anything but hard and extreme. “We just want to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible,” Hall said.

The history we were told at the time went something like this: The first Crypt opened in San Diego in 1977 to meet the needs of the city’s BDSM community, but the Seattle shop became the flagship store after opening in the 1980s. Originally on Union and then Broadway, The Crypt made its move to 11th and Pine in 2007, replacing The Vogue nightclub.

The shop’s legend spread wider than its front doors and is part of a kinkier time in Pike/Pine before Basic Plumbing became a 24-hour diner. One story related to CHS — and wholly unconfirmed — claims crews preparing the Sunset Electric site for development found a sex room with kinky torture gear in the empty auto row-era building. Whether the gear was Crypt-branded or not, we’ll leave to your imagination.

It’s also not the first time CHS has covered a dispute between landlord Matt Basta and one of his Pike/Pine tenants. In 2010, Grey Gallery got the boot but its owner said he was happy to go.

So, how much, exactly does a sex shop pay for rent in Pike/Pine? According to court documents, The Crypt was on the hook for more than $7,000 a month:

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 9.23.19 AM

It must have been a good enough deal — according to the affidavit, the company signed a five-year extension in 2012.

The impending Crypt closure won’t leave Pike/Pine without a dedicated sex shop. Earlier this year, Castle Megastore made the move from its expansive Broadway location to a tighter fit beneath the Wildrose. Meanwhile, Doghouse Leathers got bigger on E Pike. UPDATE: While it operates in a different spectrum of sex, Babeland’s 20 years of business should also be noted here, of course.

Many will point at The Crypt’s departure as another sign in the realm of retail that Capitol Hill is fucked. With the exit of longtimers like Edge of the Circle and the incoming of big new players, there is plenty of opportunities for the little guy or gal to get screwed. But in the case of The Crypt, at least, a look behind the counter and the reality of a chain company like Crypto Technology reveals that size isn’t all that matters.

Custom gift company the latest tech-y start-up to move into Pike/Pine

(Image: Knack)

(Image: Knack)

11822391_673529589449538_8971537360606685925_nAs one big tech giant continues to build up in South Lake Union, boutique firms with much smaller footprints are finding a home on Capitol Hill.

The latest is Knack, a custom gift service that promises to restore the “delight back into modern gift giving by allowing even the most overscheduled and craft-averse to easily create meaningful, made-by-you-just-for-them gifts.”

Last year Knack was set up as a pop-up shop in the Pacific Place Mall. Now the boutique gift service is entering the world of online commerce by allowing customers put together custom gift packages online. Continue reading

Reports of the smell of smoke on Capitol Hill as wildfires burn miles away

"Out at the #ChelanComplex fire line thanking firefighters for their hard work. #ThankAFireFighter #WAwildfire " (Image: @GovInslee)

“Out at the #ChelanComplex fire line thanking firefighters for their hard work. #ThankAFireFighter #WAwildfire ” (Image: @GovInslee)

With a summer rain storm blowing into the region from the Pacific, people were reporting an odd but familiar smell in the air on Capitol Hill Thursday night — smoke, apparently from Eastern Washington beyond the Cascades.

Reports are also coming in from other neighborhoods.

In at least one instance, Seattle Fire has been called out to investigate but found nothing. Others report that their building fire alarms have been set off by the smoke — though that could also have been coincidence.

There were no major fires being responded to in Seattle as of 11:30 PM.

Earlier in the day, Senator Maria Cantwell was at Seattle University for a hearing on wildfires burning across Washington State and the west. One of the largest blazes near Chelan is more than 150 miles away from Seattle.

UPDATE: California?

UPDATE x2: A fire near Shelton — less than 100 miles away — could also be a culprit.

CHS Crowd Wisdom Poll — When will First Hill Streetcar service begin?

Last we heard in July, SDOT said “the start date is still not fixed.” There’s not much to go on but small clues here and there — an uptick in social media activity, for one — indicate we just might finally maybe be getting close. CHS kind of forgets why we were excited about the new connection to the International District and Pioneer Square in the first place. Now it’s mostly just about finally getting the trams out of the barn. So let’s turn it over to the collective wisdom of CHS readers — when, indeed, will First Hill Streetcar service begin?

Create your own user feedback survey
View the latest results

We’ve also asked SDOT, of course. We’ll let you know what we hear back. UPDATE 8/28/2015 8:45 AM: We haven’t heard back.

With hopes of becoming part of a changing E Madison — and a $200k construction challenge — plans revealed for Cayton Corner Park

“We are just so happy that people came out for this little site.”

A community “open house” at the planned Cayton Corner Park at 19th and Madison put plans on display Tuesday evening as the park enters its final phase of design. Planners say it should be open for the public sometime in 2017.

The park, which was named in 2013 to honor an important African American Seattle newspaper publisher, is located on a triangular, 4,500 square foot plot of land directly across the street from the Mount Zion Baptist Church. The land was purchased by Seattle Parks and Recreation in 2011 at the behest of the local community which had said there was a need for open space in the neighborhood.

“We are just so happy that people came out for this little site,” said Pamela Kliment of Seattle Parks. She said that parks was working closely with the neighborhood organization Friends of Cayton Corner Park to oversee the planning, design, and construction of the park.

So far the Friends have raised around $75,000 to fund the park, primarily through grants from the Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund. Most of the money up to this point has been spent on going through several rounds of design with the firm J.A. Brennan Associates, and now the park is entering “the phase where we can have a design ready for construction,” according to Allison Vasallo, a volunteer with the organization. Vasallo said the surrounding community gave input throughout the design process.

According to Drew Coombs, a landscape architect with J.A. Brennan, construction of the park will take place in three phases, beginning in 2016, and the park should be open sometime in 2017. He said one of the priorities in designing the park was making it accessible to people with disabilities. The park is locating right next to the Hearing Speech and Deafness Center, which gave input in its planning.

The park’s current design includes a sensory garden, ADA accessible pathways, and an embankment slide, among other features, according to Karen Portzer who is also a volunteer with the Friends of Cayton Corner Park. Portzer told CHS that the biggest challenge currently facing the park was securing funding for construction, which could cost upwards of $225,000.

“A lot of [organizations] do not fund capital improvement projects. That sorta knocks us out,” she said.

Challenges over construction funding were part of the reason it took five years to begin work to create Broadway Hill Park near Federal and Republican off north Broadway.

For Cayton Corner, Portzer said the Friends are hoping to receive the Large Projects Fund grant from the Department of Neighborhoods, which can provide up to $100,000 in funding. They’re also continuing to seek support from local foundations and the community.

The park should eventually be part of the changing face of E Madison as development projects have finally dug in, more are planned, and plans are readied to transform the street with a bus rapid transit project.

To find out more information or to donate to the park, visit seattleparksfoundation.org.

Seattle closes its first ‘$15 minimum wage’ investigation

It’s been five months since Seattle’s minimum wage law went into effect, effectively giving thousands of workers a pay raise as well as creating a new office to investigate violations of the law. Earlier this month, the relatively new Office of Labor Standards launched a dashboard to track the number of wage complaints and investigations.

So far there’s been just one closed investigation of wage theft in Seattle. It came against Homegrown sandwich shop, which has several locations in the city including one inside Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market.

According to Homegrown co-owner Ben Friedman, the investigation was opened in May after Homegrown was found to be miscalculating their tip credit at all their Seattle locations. Under the minimum wage ordinance, the tip credit allows smaller companies to pay $10 an hour if employees make $11 an hour with tips.

“Within days of receiving the notice, we sent letters out to all of our employees affected by the issue, along with back pay plus interest. The Seattle Office of Labor Standards quickly closed their investigation,” Friedman told CHS in an email. Continue reading

On the List | Punk Rock Flea Market punk rocks the CD’s Punk Rock Post Office

PRFM_Strangerlogo_WPIt’s punk not to give a shit about rain. With plans for 80 vendors inside the old post office at 23rd and Union and another 70 in the parking lot, plus DJs, a bar, and food offerings, the Punk Rock Flea Market could be even more interesting if the forecasts for (much needed) weekend rain come through.

And, remember, “there are NO LIMITS on what can be sold” —

The PRFM is a full on flea market with everything from music and clothing, to furniture, computers, stereo equipment, handmade apparel, shoes, vegan treats, porn, housewares, info from nonprofit groups, books, art, taxidermy, bikes, pet costumes, skateboards and whatever else we can fit into the space. Our “Punk Rock” name refers as much to the DIY spirit of the event as it does to any particular music or lifestyle.

All of that — and more — for $1 price of admission.

Meanwhile, also on the thrifting/rain-wary end of things, Pistil Books is planning its annual outdoor book sale for the alley at 1414 E Union for Saturday. Look for a reschedule if it’s raining.

Do a little rain dance Saturday night with dozens of your closest friends as Dancing in the Street joins the action around the final weekend of the E Pike pedestrian zone pilot.

4_Neverending_Story-233x235Rain will also threaten the final scheduled night for this year’s schedule of free outdoor movies in Cal Anderson. The Neverending Story is slated to play Friday night — check for updates.

The moon will be out rain or shine — you can stumble down the Hill to the Arboretum Saturday for the Japanese Garden’s Moon Viewing Festival. Oops. Sold out!

For things to do on and around Capitol Hill — or to add your own event — check out the CHS Calendar.

Continue reading

CHS Pics | Why are you topless in Cal Anderson?

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

With reporting by Alex Garland
Last Sunday, Seattle’s major media salivated over coverage of Go Topless Day events in other cities around the country — and the world — but skipped over a small gathering right here on Capitol Hill.

Getting partially nude in the middle of Cal Anderson to show “women have the same constitutional right that men have to go bare-chested in public” (and with the blessings of “spiritual leader” Rael), a few women and their male supporters exercised their freedom in the summer sun Sunday.

“If I should cover up, make everyone cover up. Gender equality is very important,” Kaleena Anderson told CHS. She made the trip from Bremerton for the event. While breastfeeding at a salon, Anderson said she had someone cover her and her baby physically with a salon drape. “It’s your issue not mine,” she said.

“There’s worse things in the world to focus on than who’s showing their nips,” Kayla Goullaud told CHS.

The organizer of Sunday’s event who identified himself as Joe M — in the Hard Rock t-shirt, above, told CHS the group decided to move the event to “a more friendly location” and chose Cal Anderson after being hassled by police last year in Westlake Park.