That yellow helicopter over Capitol Hill

A tour promo shot (Image: Seattle Helicopter Tours)

A tour promo shot (Image: Seattle Helicopter Tours)

How has this never come up before? Of all the helicopter reports and questions we get — and we get a lot! — we’ve never come across the mystery of the yellow helicopter over Capitol Hill.

Until now.

If you noticed a disturbingly low flying chopper visiting Capitol Hill Friday morning, don’t worry. It wasn’t a crime issue or TV news covering a building fire.

Seattle Helicopter Tours says it was busy providing a trip for some people involved with this weekend’s PAX at the Convention Center. The company offers tours of the city “starting as low as $90.83.” Apparently, it’s a bigger deal in Ballard. We asked if we might see more flights today with the PAX marketing folks going full tilt but the representative told us she couldn’t say.

Capitol Hill newspaper publisher still making its bucks off mortgage meltdown

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 11.22.46 AMIt has been nearly three years since Bellevue-based RIM Publications and its parent company Northwest Trustee Services took over the remains of the weekly newspaper that covered Capitol Hill for decades and earned years of goodwill from the Hillers who remember their paper delivery routes and the nostalgia of simpler times. At the time, we called Northwest Trustee Services and RIM “a company built on the back of our region’s manifestations of the mortgage crisis.”

So, what are the people behind today’s Capitol Hill Times up to lately? Here is a recent piece posted by the Madison Park Times, another old-timey paper still making a go of it in the internet era:

This is how foreclosed Seattle homes are auctioned: in an underground parking garage setting more befitting drug deals. Northwest Trustee Services (NTS), which operates in eight Western states, handles 60 to 70 percent of all foreclosed homes in King County. Six years after the housing bubble burst, NTS still auctions 50 to 70 homes a month from Seattle alone.

Its building also houses Routh Crabtree Olsen, a legal firm that operates in the same eight states and represents both NTS and the banks that have seized the homes NTS auctions.

It’s a cozy, well-oiled machine for processing properties that, protesters allege, often have the same history of predatory practices and dubious paper trails that led to the 2008 bubble in the first place.

Full disclosure: The Madison Park paper is published by Pacific Publishing Co., the folks who sold off the Capitol Hill Times.

As the foreclosure business remains a profitable industry even with the late-payment rate in the nation dropping, some experts are predicting the country’s mortgage crisis is about to flare up again as “temporary relief measures and legacy issues from the crisis” come to a head in 2015. Expect a meatier free weekly in the future as the local foreclosure listings thicken up.

Capitol Hill gay bar R Place turns 30

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

_DSC0826R Place celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and, despite repeated concerns about the end of the Capitol Hill “gayborhood,”  business is better than ever.

“Seattle is just more gay popular and gay friendly. What used to be just a gay bar is not just a gay bar anymore,” said manager Floyd Lovelady.

Though the number of gay bars and clubs on the Hill has diminished, more people feel welcome at R Place, a “gay bar that is straight friendly,” Lovelady said. Continue reading

You can buy Capitol Hill’s Chop Suey for $99,950

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A peek inside from the Chop Suey real estate listing

A peek inside from the Chop Suey real estate listing

Everything is for sale. Just ask Broadway’s Charlie’s. The restaurant’s owner Ken Bauer has listed the Capitol Hill classic for years.

On Thursday, Seattle’s only music writer David Segal posted about the peculiar real estate listings involving 14th and Madison rock club Chop Suey and got some intel from longtime neighborhood booker Jodi Ecklund.

“The most recent development is that the price was significantly dropped from the original asking price. The issue is the rent on the building is 13k; even with a thriving club like Chop Suey, that is not sustainable. I have heard there are some interested parties and I have been contacted by a few folks for more insight. My number one concern is that if Chop Suey is purchased, I hope it is by someone who values the local music scene.

If you’re wondering, Dave Meinert tells us he’s not interested in owning “a live music venue.” We’ll let you parse that statement.

Team Dresch on the Suey stage in 2013 (Image: CHS)

Team Dresch on the Suey stage in 2013 (Image: CHS)

To be clear, Chop Suey is for sale.

Not the 1325 E Madison building across the street from the former Piecora’s where a six-story development is planned. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Hopvine Tennis Tournament — game, set, match for Capitol Hill’s hottest summer in 47 years

IMG_8927IMG_8796Seattle Summer is over. The annual Hopvine Tennis Tournament has come and gone. Wednesday night, hipsters and secret tennis champs trying to look like didn’t care that much about winning gathered for the 13th annual tournament sponsored by the 15th Ave E pub. We don’t know who won this year but you can tell the winners for yourself just by the pictures — definitely some winning fashion on display.

In the meantime, a brilliant Seattle summer fades. Try not to think too much about global warming.

There will still be a few summer-y bursts here and there. The East Precinct is sponsoring free hot dogs and its annual picnic this weekend — this year in Cal Anderson Park. Later in September, the Faerie Festival returns to Volunteer Park. But, yeah, as far as summer 2014 goes, it’s pretty much game, set, match. We hope you enjoyed it.

More pictures of the hardcore Volunteer Park tennis action, below. Continue reading

Pretty Parlor shop kitty injured in dog attack

Pretty kitty (Image: Pretty Parlor)

Pretty kitty (Image: Pretty Parlor)

Vincent the Pretty Parlor cat is a familiar character for many on Capitol Hill. Earlier this week, the shop cat suffered a brutal attack that left him in need of expensive surgery and medical care.

He’s in surgery Thursday afternoon. Shop owner and Vincent pal Anna Banana Lange has set up an online account if you’d like to pitch in to help cover the bills. Here’s part of a message she posted Wednesday night:

His chance of surviving the night is 80/20, which is good, considering all the fluids in his lungs. We are meeting with the surgeon tomorrow morning to determine our route for his compound leg fracture. This is the reason for doubling our goal. Surgery is expected to cost between $4000-$6000, an added cost to the original $3000 as estimated.

Banana also writes that she is close to being able to identify the dog and owner responsible for the Wednesday morning attack outside the shop.

CHS last visited the 119 Summit Ave E store earlier this summer as Banana expanded to add a Capitol Hill-styled bridal boutique.

If you’d like to help, you can learn more and give at gofundme.com.

Capitol Hill wine shop Essence shutters — UPDATE

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(Image: Essence Wine)

(Images: Essence Wine)

Retailers looking for a berth on Capitol Hill will find some open space in the 400 block of E Pine. Funky and unpredictable bottle shop Essence Wine quietly closed earlier this month.

Here’s the Facebook goodbye:

Thank you all for so many beautiful times. We are closing the shop that hosted dance, music, people, laughter, arguments, discussion, ruckus, urbanity, and you. Thank you so much for being a part, thank you so much for being a part! The beauty of the essence will happen again, in different places and in so many ways. Thank you for having carried and carrying it on

The now empty shop makes two neighboring E Pine retail spaces looking for tenants. Earlier this summer, Gamma Ray Games announced it was consolidating up the Hill in a new space combined with its Raygun Lounge.

Co-owners Zach Weissman and Winston Xu opened Essence in late 2012shaped as an artesian cave, a cave of stacked wine boxes with bottled wine atop.” The business also had a — how should we say it? — creative approach to business. Not taking things too seriously seems to be part of the lifeblood of running a Capitol Hill wine business — stop by still-standing European Vine Selections for a taste as it’s kept things running for more than 25 years on the Hill.

Essence even managed to have some good fun at the expense of local media — CHS was thoroughly punk’d by this strange episode in early 2013. At the time, Xu apologized and told us he too had been tricked by the announcement and that Weissman had “no authority” to speak for the shop. It was a strange moment for the business but, until the end, both Xu and Weissman remained with Essence, according to corporate filings.

By email, Xu declined to comment on the closure telling us things still needed to get wrapped up with the landlord.

UPDATE: Xu tells us things are wrapped up with the landlord and a new art supply store is reportedly moving in:

The reason behind our closure was complicated, but mostly because I am finding myself not able to make enough spare time to manage the shop as much as it needed to be, Zach, my partner did a wonderful job and had been the primary manager Essence over the past two years, now he is off to another great job opportunity and I am swapped with my primary job and other businesses, so we have decided to close the business.

12th Ave community group votes for apartment development over city ‘pocket park’

Reverb-Spectrum-11th-And-AlderIn response to a condemnation order placed on a site owned by real estate firm Spectrum Development Solutions at 11th and Alder in order to build a new pocket park, the 12th Avenue Stewards community group has voted unanimously to rescind the order and allow the construction project to continue rather than begin design on a new public space.

Following the vote, Mayor Ed Murray officially withdrew the proposed condemnation order, representatives tell CHS.

“This issue is something that has been difficult for the group,” said Bill Zosel, vice-chair of the 12th Avenue Stewards told CHS in a statement on the vote. Continue reading

On the List | PAX Prime wizard pub crawl, Press Start art, East Precinct picnic, Seattle Asian Art Museum tours

PAX Prime, the emperor of gaming conventions, is at the Convention Center this weekend. PAX-ers typically bring their party uphill, so if you see costumes on the streets, that’s why. First up: Thursday evening’s 7th Annual Triwizard Drinking Competition at Linda’s, Barca, Auto Battery, Unicorn, and Grim’s. Tickets to participate are sold out so you can’t join in, but at least you are now forewarned.  More PAX-related off-site parties and events here. All are open to the public, no PAX pass needed.

Press Start III: Turbo Edition is the third annual game-themed art show opening Friday night at Ltd Gallery. The artist roster includes video game artists and – new this year – artists who are game fans. The opening party is all ages and has a DJ, free Jones soda, and adult beverages with ID.

east precinct
The annual Seattle Police Department East Precinct Picnic is in Cal Anderson Park this Saturday 1pm – 4 pm. The free family friendly event includes free food, raffle prizes, and games for kids. “The picnic provides a great opportunity for people to be introduced to the department in a relaxed, non-law enforcement environment, meet their local police officers, enjoy free food, entertainment and raffle prizes, and get information on how to get involved in preventing crime in their community.”

Balconies closes it’s run at Annex Theatre on Saturday, and Other Desert Cities continues at Eclectic Theater.

Japan DecoSeattle Asian Art Museum conducts public tours of the current exhibit Deco Japan on both Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am – 12:30pm. “Explore the diverse collections of art from Asian cultures across time and place at the Asian Art Museum. This tour focuses on highlights from both the museum’s collection as well as from Deco Japan: Shaping Art & Culture, 1920–1945, the special exhibition on view.” The tour is included with  museum admission ($5 – $7).

Tours are Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 am and meet in the Fuller Garden Court.

Start your weekend early with Thursday’s Reading Comics in Public Day fun at Ada’s Technical Books:

Join Ada’s staff for a read-aloud-show-and-tell of our favorite comics with some delicious baked treats on the side.

Something to add? Let us know on the CHS Calendar — more listings below:

Continue reading

Gilda’s Club painting Capitol Hill doors red, holding 5K walk/run

(Image: Gilda's Club)

(Image: Gilda’s Club)

A red bike and the red door at Gilda's Club (Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

A red bike and the red door at Gilda’s Club (Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

Andrea Morrison, the owner of E Pine running store Fleet Feet, wants everyone to know about Capitol Hill’s Gilda’s Club.

Mayor Ed Murray, organizers say, will also show his support for the nonprofit and the fight against cancer by turning the door of City Hall red on September 13th.

Gilda’s Club is a free, supportive community for people affected indirectly or directly by cancer. It is a national organization that has more than 20 chapters across the country. The Seattle club is located at Broadway and Union. The organization was founded in memory of comedienne Gilda Radner.

The club has 6,000 members across Washington and membership is free.

Gilda’s Club calls one of the most beautiful buildings on Broadway home, but organizers say not many in the neighborhood know who they are or what they do. Continue reading

Suspects threaten to shoot E Pine DJ, steal more than $3,000 in gear — UPDATE: Call for more foot patrols

The victim in an overnight hold-up outside the Oddfellows Building was robbed of more than $3,000 in DJ equipment, his music CDs, and cash, according to the SPD report on the incident.

According to the report, the DJ told police he was leaving the E Pine building around 2:30 AM Sunday when he was approached from behind by two suspects who threatened to shoot him and demanded his gear. The victim said he never saw a gun but was afraid and handed over his stuff to the suspects described only as two black males.

The victim told police he then ran to his car and drove home before reporting the crime later in the day.

The hold-up was part of a weekend plagued by a swarm of nighttime street robberies around Capitol Hill’s entertainment core.

UPDATE: In a letter to the mayor’s office obtained by CHS, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce earlier this month called for “dedicated Seattle Police Department foot patrols at the Broadway and Pike intersections on Friday and Saturday evenings.” East Precinct’s commander Capt. Pierre Davis told CHS earlier this month that foot patrols were being increased in Cal Anderson. While the push for foot patrols may help what has become an annual late-summer uptick in street crimes, the base number of officers on patrol in the precinct at any given time is probably even more important. While we have been unsuccessful in getting official numbers from SPD, a person with knowledge of the situation told CHS that a grand total of 12 officers were available to patrol the entirety of the East Precinct on a Friday night earlier this month. UPDATE: A department spokesperson said that night of a dozen officers on patrol in East Precinct isn’t far off a typical night. The spokesperson estimated around 15 officers are on duty at any one time in the area.

The chamber’s letter is below. Continue reading