Street Critic | The Diabolical Diagonal — the architecture of the angled streets that climb Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill streets and building parcels are almost uniformly delineated by an orthogonal grid; however, when confronted with the second part of our neighborhood’s name the ubiquitous grid revealed its limitation as an all-inclusive planning tool and left city planners little choice but to utilize diagonal streets to ascend and descend our heights. Diagonal streets present a foil to the well-ordered grid, yet most buildings conform to the grid even when the site is an unconventional shape. There are reasons to stay square when designing a building, but design opportunities are sacrificed when the only nod given to an atypical, non-orthogonal site is to design an orthogonal building and treat its diagonally bounded site simply as a remainder to be ‘planted-up’.

The Hill’s longest and steepest diagonal street, Belmont Avenue, exhibits a variety of design solutions to the grid’s disruptive diagonal. The first approach, illustrated in two variants below, plays to both diagonal and grid in a manner that preserves the conflicting geometries. The third solution is a rarely seen hybrid approach where the geometries of grid and diagonal are blended and create unexpectedly complex forms. which gave us a pair of delightful mid-century apartments. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Block Party expands free events held beyond festival gates

(Image: Capitol Hill Block Party)

Two blocks of E Pike are home to music, food, and troves of festival goers as Capitol Hill Block Party takes to the streets this weekend. Although increasing artist fees and production costs have raised ticket prices in recent years, CHBP plans to celebrate Capitol Hill beyond festival gates by offering a variety of free events.

“We’re excited about this year’s expansion of free events that will allow people who aren’t attending CHBP to still participate and enjoy the community celebration, while still getting a taste of CHBP,” said Kate Harris, CHBP’s executive producer.

While producers says Block Party attendance has not increased in the past eight years, the festival has continued to cement itself in Seattle’s music and arts scene, attracting big-name headliners across music genres. According to Harris, artist fees have tripled since 2012 and production costs have increased exponentially, resulting in a notable rise in festival ticket prices.

With crowds exceeding 20,000 people, surging ticket prices, and performances from mainstream talent, Block Party has strayed from its roots as a small, neighborhood celebration. According to Harris, this evolution has not gone unnoticed by the festival’s organizers, as CHBP has offered free events co-organized by a variety of local nonprofits, hosted at Cal Anderson Park and nearby businesses in recent years. This year, CHBP will expand upon its free events. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Pets | Loki — ‘best dog ever’ — on Boylston

Duncan was drawing on a scrap piece of plywood and Loki was curled up next to him when CHS found them hanging out near Fred Wildlife Refuge on Boylston. When approached, Loki became a wiggly-butted, happy, and gentle mix of Pit Bull and Lab. A rescue that’s been with Duncan for three and a half years, Loki will be four in October. Loki is assuredly one of the sweetest pups on Capitol Hill. “He’s the best dog ever,” Duncan says.

We ask photographer Alex Garland to follow marchers in the rain and do crazy things like trying to make yet another picture of yet another huge apartment building look interesting. We thought we’d ask him to do something a little more fun. Capitol Hill Pets is a semi-regular look at our furry, fuzzy, feathered, and finned friends found out and about on Capitol Hill.

After this weekend’s Capitol Hill Block Party, changes may be afoot for big events on the Hill

(Image: Capitol Hill Block Party)

2019 will be a pivotal year for the Capitol Hill Block Party, which kicks off today. And not because the great flautist-twerker-chanteuse Lizzo is gracing its main stage Saturday. This August, the city will start looking into what effect the Block Party, grown from a street festival into a ticketed, three-day musical extravaganza now in its 23rd year, has on the neighborhood — and how it can move forward on the Hill in the coming years.

The city has hired local consulting firm Fife Consulting to lead an outreach process with people and businesses in the neighborhood. The company is also completing a study of large outdoors events across the city.

The process, separate from the regular post-CHBP “debrief” with city officials or public comment during Special Events committee meetings, will start in late August and will include focus groups, an online survey as well as interviews with residents, businesses and local business and neighborhood agencies, said Seattle Special Events Committee chair Chris Swenson.

By December, Swenson said, the process should be wrapped up. At which point the Special Event Committee will decide on whether the event can go forward as is, or in a modified form. These modifications could be light (as in: keeping the event but changing days, hours or footprint) or more significant, such as the consideration of other neighborhoods, formats and weekends, Swenson said.

“We want to make sure that this is still the right place, time and manner for this event to happen,” he said. “This is a Capitol Hill-centric event, and Capitol Hill is evolving, and we want to make sure this dedicated art center is the best place for the Capitol Hill Block Party.”  Continue reading

Court: Fatal Capitol Hill stabbing sparked by fight over declined cigarette lighter

A King County Superior Court judge Thursday found probable cause to hold David Nichols in jail for murder in the second degree and assault in the second degree. Seattle Police announced they had arrested Nichols Wednesday for the deadly overnight stabbing at Cal Anderson Park early Sunday that left 25-year-old Rayshauna Webber dead.

His bail was set at $2,000,000. Nichols has not yet been charged in the case.

SPD identified the suspect publicly after taking Nichols into custody thanks to video surveillance from a nearby business and credit card information from an E Pine business he patronized that night, according to court documents. Continue reading

In a sea of Capitol Hill poke joints, Aloha Cup Bap’s Hawaiian approach stands out

(Image: Aloha Cup Bap)

Its founders hope Aloha Cup Bap’s traditional Hawaiian poke will separate the shop from the sea of poke joints around Capitol Hill. The poke spot now has two locations around the Hill after it opened its second shop on Broadway this spring.

“Opening our first location a year and a half ago was a difficult job because customers didn’t really know what poke was. Now we have returning customers and wanted to open a second location,” said Tony O, one of Aloha Cup Bap’s owners along with Madelene Phung and Yuree Chong.

With locations on 12th Ave and now Broadway, Aloha Cup Bap is creating an island chain of fresh fish spots through the neighborhood. Continue reading

Election notes | ‘Kshama Sawant broke into my apartment building,’ Orion brushes off Pride street fest ethics complaint, plus what else is on the ballot

(Image: @VoteSawant)

With Election 2019 coming to a Primary peak as ballots hit mailboxes across District 3, things have gotten a bit chippy with complaints and ethics violation threats flying.

  • Aggressive doorbelling complaints: The strategy of “aggressive doorbelling” that very well could propel incumbent Kshama Sawant through the Primary and help her keep her D3 seat on the Seattle City Council is also, apparently, one of the most controversial elements of this summer’s election — at least, if you measure controversy by the CHS inbox that is. CHS has received multiple reports and complaints about Sawant campaign workers inside apartment and condo buildings across the Hill and District 3. “Kshama Sawant broke into my apartment building,” is the subject line on the latest. “When I opened my door, there was a tall, blonde man in a red vest who asked me if I wanted to learn about Kshama Sawant. I said no and asked him how he got into the building. ‘Oh, we have other supporters in the building.’ Shutting the door, I told him that I had voted for Sawant and was not interested in speaking,” the complainant writes. For the Sawant campaign, bringing its messages to renters with good, old-fashioned human contact is key. “Our campaign’s experience has been that rent control is a bold policy measure that’s overwhelmingly popular among working people in District 3, and is especially relevant to apartment dwellers,” a campaign spokesperson tells CHS. “Renters are more likely to be low-income, younger people, and people of color, and often less represented in elections. With the million-dollar corporate PACs ready to flood the election with misinformation, it’s vital our volunteers reach out to every registered voter.” The rep also points out that Sawant also fought for legislation requiring landlords to provide voter registration forms to new tenants.
  • Ethics complaint quashed: Another D3 challenger has sloughed off a round of criticism. Capitol Hill Pride, the tiny group of original organizers of the Broadway Pride weekend street festival who lost their permit for the event in the face of criticism from city officials and the neighborhood’s business community, took a swipe at Egan Orion this week with an ethics violation complaint against the D3 challenger. Orion, whose PrideFest took over the street festival making him the seeming arch nemesis of Capitol Hill pride organizer Charlette Lefevre, was accused of making “false misleading statements” over “saving” the festival. The complaint also nicked Orion for information in his campaign marketing materials. “Additionally, Egan is also falsely claiming and implying on his website and in media his position as Executive Director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is active when in fact the chamber closed during his directorship due to lack of funds / bankruptcy in May of this year,” the complaint read. The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission took only days to respond. “We have reviewed your complaint and have determined that it does not merit any further investigation,” they write. “Even taking your complaint on its face and the facts you allege as being accurate there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the conduct would constitute a violation of the Ethics Code.” “I have no response to this claim except to say the city asked us to step in to maintain the event after the previous organizer violated the terms of her permit,” Orion said of the dismissal. “We are proud of the work we’ve done on PrideFest Capitol Hill and thank Charlette for her many years of service to the community.”
  • Also on the ballot: CHS has mostly been D3 obsessed, but don’t forget that there are a few other important issues on the August ballot:

Police announce arrest in weekend Capitol Hill fatal stabbing — UPDATE

Seattle Police announced they have arrested a suspect in the weekend fatal stabbing of 25-year-old Rayshauna Webber on Capitol Hill.

“Detectives arrested a 50-year-old man Wednesday afternoon in the city of Tacoma in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 25-year-old woman on Capitol Hill,” Seattle Police said Wednesday.

Police say detectives are now interviewing the suspect and have not publicly identified the man. SPD says he will be booked him into King County Jail for investigation of murder.

UPDATE 8:57 PM: Seattle Police said Wednesday night the murder of Webber apparently came in a dispute over a spurned offer to light a cigarette. Deputy Chief Marc Garth-Green provided new details from the case in a Wednesday night media conference and identified the man taken into custody for the murder.

“Due to outstanding work with patrol officers on scene that evening, diligent work with our homicide detectives and our real time crime center detectives, in conjunction with help from local businesses in the area, we were able to identify, locate, and, today, with the assistance of the Tacoma Police Department, we were able to arrest 50-year-old David Nichols for the murder of Rayshauna Webber,” Garth-Green said. Continue reading

On the List | Capitol Hill Block Party 2019, inaugural Salish Sea Anti-Space Symposium, Mueller Report Live

(Image: Capitol Hill Block Party)

Get ready, because what’s probably the most star-studded block party in this neck of the woods– yes, the Capitol Hill Block Party — descends on Pike/Pine this weekend. The three-day musical festival boasts Lizzo and The Black Tones among its musical guests. Below, we help you find your way through the line-up maze. CHS reported on the 2019 lineup and the one of a kind festival’s treasured and challenged place in the neighborhood’s culture and arts scene.

Other, in some cases more cerebral events on this week’s to-do list: non-stop Mueller report readings, an animation movie about redlining, substation celebrations and last but not least: the first-ever Salish Sea Anti- Space Symposium (SSASS), plus another block party. Find more on the CHS Calendar.

THURSDAY, July 18: If you missed last week’s discussion on redlining in Seattle at NAAM, the local showing of the expertly animated short documentary Segregated By Design and following discussion (hosted by the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative) is another option to get a primer on the topic. The movie, based on the book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein, explains the intentional segregation of cities across the country in the 20th century. 12th Avenue Arts, 6 – 7.30 PM (free)  Continue reading