Seattle Police Department unveils high tech center for tracking and forecasting crime as it happens

When the number of 911 calls outnumber the Seattle Police officers available to respond, commanders have to make snap decisions on how best to deploy their resources. SPD’s new Real Time Crime Center now gives those commanders some sleek new tools to do it.

Using a dashboard that includes a real-time, interactive map of all 911 calls in the city, an easy-to-read overview of weapons incidents, and trigger alerts for when resources are running low, SPD say the RTCC is its latest attempt to take data-driven policing to the next level.

“You couldn’t make sense of all the numbers (before),” said Mike Wagers, SPD’s chief operating officer. “Just having it sorted … (commanders) can look up there now and see how many are active and how many are waiting.” Continue reading

On the List | October Capitol Hill Art Walk, 2015 Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Fest, Depressed Cake Shop

Your Capitol Hill weekend starts Thursday night with October’s edition of the Capitol Hill Art Walk.

Here are a few CHAW highlights — as usual, a full roster and super-useful map are at

  • 12th Ave Arts: Art Walk Happy Hour 5–6pm! All ages welcome. Start your art walk here with a social hour to pick up an art walk map and enjoy the upstairs gallery show QUEER AS A THREE DOLLAR BILL: 20 Years of LGBTQ visibility through cinema.
  • Cafe Pettirosso: A photographic journey by McCade Dolan of Cadeography & Willow of Creatrix headdresses. This collaboration showcases their combined, inspired ideas coming together to create a visual celebration of powerful self expression and radiant beauty.
  • Blue Cone Studios: New Studio Opening! View a new and an eclectic variety of art and jewelry while munching on snacks and listening to groovy tunes. With work by Carolyn Hitt, Colton Kenyon, Roberto Hernandez, Michelle McCarthy, Mary P Traverse and more. 5–10p. 1520 11th Ave, Door B Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Gaslight Inn wins Seattle landmark status


(Image: Gaslight Inn)

Screen-Shot-2015-08-08-at-7.11.26-PM2-600x344If walls could talk inside the Gaslight Inn at 15th and Howell, they would’ve been saying “aw shucks” at Wednesday’s Landmarks Preservation Board meeting. With gushing support, board members unanimously approved landmark protections for the 1911-built bed-and-breakfast.

“It’s clear to me there’s a real sincere affection to preserve the cultural stories behind the house and behind Capitol Hill,” said board member Aaron Louma.

Gaslight owner Stephen Bennett, who nominated the building, told CHS he was elated at the board’s decision and recognition of the building’s important place in Capitol Hill’s LGBTQ history. Bennett said he’s looking forward to living out his retirement with the house and his bed and breakfast business.

“I don’t have any family or children, so I would like to leave it to a civic organization,” he said. “I want it kept in the community.” Continue reading

Blotter | Eastlake homicide update, SPD report on Harvard shooting released

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Eastlake homicide: Prosecutors have not yet charged the man police say kicked his drinking companion in the head causing a fatal injury in a brawl outside an Eastlake homeless shelter in late September. 47-year-old Kenneth Lofton died hours after the September 26th fight put him on life support. According to police, the 55-year-old suspect admitted to kicking Lofton after a night of drinking and disputes on Capitol Hill and at the Eastlake facility where the two men were residents, the 1811 House shelter for homeless men and women addicted to alcohol. Police say staff at the facility saw Lofton bleeding profusely from a head injury following the 3 AM fight but that the victim refused medical attention. Around 9:30 AM, Lofton was found on the floor, gasping for breath. He was rushed to the hospital and later died of his injuries. The 55-year-old was booked into King County Jail that night on $1 million bail but was conditionally released four days later.
  • Phoenix Jones pistol-whipping incident: No charges have been filed in the pistol-whipping assault in which Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones claimed his intervention saved the victim’s life in the early morning Pike/Pine assault. Police took three men into custody following the incident. Court records indicate that none of the three have yet been charged.
  • SPD report on Harvard shooting: The SPD report on last weekend’s gunfire on Harvard Ave doesn’t add many new details about the incident — but it does clarify what the victim hit in the foot by the stray bullet was up to:Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 4.12.16 PMIt also documents a nearby close call for another man who happened to be sitting in his car near the shooting scene:Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 4.13.29 PMPolice have made no arrests in the case.
  • 12th Ave bar thief: Police were called to a bar in the 400 block of 12th Ave early Sunday morning to a report that a man who had been refused service because he owned nearly $300 on his bar tab had decided to take getting a drink into his own hands:

    V/ stated that this male currently owes the establishment approximately $285, and as a result, she refused to serve him. The male then
    became upset, and opened the door that separates the public area of the establishment with the area behind the bar, and walked behind the bar itself.
    As he did so, V/ states that the male used force to push her aside. The male then grabbed a bottle of liquor from behind the bar, and exited a back
    entrance of the establishment. The male was last seen walking west in the alley adjacent to the establishment.

    The bottle of booze was valued at $80 according to the SPD report.

  • Water bottle assault: Officers responded to a Pike/Pine bar late last month after a female patron reportedly attacked staff by tossing water bottles at the bartender:Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 4.17.01 PMThe venue agreed not to press charges if the suspect left the bar.

Ethics issues raised as District 3 race gets chippy, even more cash-filled


“My opponent only listens to people who think she is great.”

Things were already heating up at Sunday night’s District 3 debate with challenger Pamela Banks tossing more than a few barbs at Kshama Sawant — plenty prepared to return fire, herself. Two controversies in the wake of the debate may be a sign of more chippy-ness to come.

First, a subplot to the 37th District Democrats endorsement of Banks has generated allegations that the vote for the candidate was “bought” by the Bruce Harrell campaign:

An SEEC complaint alleges that, before the deadline to become a voting member of the organization in time for endorsements, 15 new memberships were paid for in one batch, with sequential money orders purchased at the same location. Continue reading

SDOT taking over Pronto bike share with plans to expand, go all-electric

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 11.16.17 PMSeattle’s bike share program is poised for some big changes.

The details are still getting hammered out, but the Seattle Department of Transportation will take over Pronto Cycle Share a year after the nonprofit running it rolled out the system in October 2014.

SDOT is currently negotiating with the Puget Sound Bike Share to acquire the system at zero cost, according to a SDOT spokesperson. The takeover would allow for an major investment of public funding to expand the number of stations into low income areas and add electric bikes.

“Bike share is most successful at scale. You need a real network of origin-destination combinations,” said Nicole Freedman, director of SDOT’s active transportation program.

$5 million in Mayor Ed Murray’s recently released budget is slated to go towards expanding the Pronto network, doubling the number of stations to around 100. If a federal TIGER grant comes through, that money would be used as matching funds, allowing the number of stations to expand to 250. That could put 62% of Seattle residents within walking distance of a station, up from 14% today. The decision is expected to be announced this month. Continue reading

Through Thanksgiving, City Council digs in on affordability, budget only — Hearing Tuesday night

No pie until you finish your budget, City Council

No pie until you finish your budget, City Council

From now through Thanksgiving, the Seattle City Council will focus on two things: affordability and City Hall’s 2016 budget. Everything else is canceled.

Tuesday night, brings the first council committee hearing on the proposed 2016 budget. CHS outlined the Capitol Hill and Central Seattle highlights including a DPD overhaul, streetcar extension, homelessness funding, bike share expansion, and cop body cams here.

Budget Committee Agenda
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 5:30 PM
Public Hearing
The Seattle City Council Budget Committee will conduct a public hearing to solicit public comment on: (1) the City’s 2016 General Revenue Sources, including a possible property tax levy increase; and (2) Mayor Edward B. Murray’s 2016 Proposed Budget.
This hearing will continue until all in-person comments have been received. In the interest of time, members of groups with similar interests are encouraged to combine their presentations. Group presentations will be limited to five minutes. Individual comments will be limited to two minutes or less.

Written comment can be sent to The hearing will be shown live on Seattle Channel 21 and online at A second hearing will be held Tuesday, October 20th at 5:30 PM, also at City Hall.

Monday, the full council approved legislation to help stop “economic evictions” in Seattle:

Council unanimously adopted a bill today to prevent landlords from drastically raising rents on low-income tenants for the purpose of evicting them without providing relocation assistance.  Currently, if a building is to be torn down or renovated, landlords must give tenants who have to move 90 days notice and pay $3,255 in Tenant Relocation Assistance to low-income households. Recently, there have been reports of low-income tenants’ rents doubling so they’ll voluntarily vacate, all so landlords can avoid paying the required relocation assistance.

The bill prohibits rent increases for the purpose of avoiding the required Tenant Relocation Assistance process:

If a landlord increases rent by 20% or more, which results in a tenant vacating a unit within 90 days, then applies for a permit to substantially rehabilitate the unit within 6 months, the owner can have their building permit denied until the owner pays the penalties. Penalties are $1,000 per day for each day from the date the violation began.

The Select Committee on Housing Affordability — which will continue to meet through the budget process — is currently shaping the first legislation out of the city’s affordability task force recommendations.

CHS Pics | A ‘rigging and rope’ view from St. James

IMG_3989IMG_3749Over the years, CHS has sent Seattle freelance photographer Alex Garland high — and we’ve sent him low. But we’ve never provided him with god’s view from way up high on St. James Cathedral, looking down on all creation — also known as First Hill.

For that, Alex needed On Sight Access and help from Ryan Daudistel’s crew of “rigging and rope” experts currently at work on the 110-year-old landmark.

Daudistel tells CHS the On Sight Access crew will be at work on the 9th Ave cathedral for the next week or so helping Nelson Electric install exterior lighting on the facades of the St. James bell towers.

“We use rope access techniques, which allows us to rappel down the sides of the towers,” Daudistel said. “It’s definitely photogenic work.”

You can learn more about On Sight Access at For more of Alex’s work, check out


Continue reading

‘Something to get motivated’ — Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival turns 20

After attending a gay film festival in San Francisco’s in the early 1990s, artist Skylar Fein knew he wanted to create the same kind of celebration in Seattle. He tested the waters in 1995 then held the first Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 1996. Since then the SLGFF has grown into a Capitol Hill tradition. This year, more than 10,000 people are expected to attend the festival’s 20th anniversary.

The reels get rolling Thursday with a showing of Freeheld at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian.

“It’s something to get motivated, this bittersweet story about a woman dying and a fight for basic civil rights,” says Three Dollar Bill Cinema executive director Jason Plourde. “It’s also a reminder of how far we’ve come as a community and a movement.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill critics say Convention Center design a rush job — UPDATE

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 7.18.09 PM

(Images: LMN Architects)

UPDATE 10/7/2015: The board voted Tuesday night to allow the expansion project to move forward to the Master Use Permit, or MUP, stage but the project’s city planning rep tells CHS there will be more opportunities for public feedback as the design and approval process plays out. At least two “recommendation” level design review meetings are expected along with the process related to street and alley vacations necessary to complete the expansion.

Original report: As the public review process rolls forward for the expanded Washington State Convention Center, a Capitol Hill community group is continuing to raise concerns that the project’s hurried pace is leaving out meaningful input from neighborhoods on a range of required public benefits.

For months, the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council has been pushing to insert Capitol Hill priorities into the public project with a $1.4 billion budget — a figure that exceeds the cost to build CenturyLink and Safeco Field combined.

“It’s almost as if there was another convention center being built in Seattle and they want to get theirs finished before it,” PPUNC chair John Feit told CHS.

Affordable housing, a transit hub, and creating open public space were just a few of ideas generated during an public open house in September. Some of the disconnect between community members and the Pine Street Group, which is managing the project for WSCC, may stem from differing views of how surrounding residents will interact with the project.

According to Pine Street principal Matt Griffin, the convention center is ultimately less about creating a destination for neighbors and more about patching over I-5. “

One of the most important things we can do for Capitol Hill is increase that pedestrian link between Capitol Hill and downtown,” he said.

But it’s likely the project will be asked to do more. Because of its scale, the project is also being managed by a Planned Community Development process in which this kind of once in a generation project may be planned in a unified process if public benefits including low-income housing, historic preservation, or public space are included. It’s rare for Seattle to see projects on this scale — the planned convention center expansion and a set of surrounding developments designed to accompany the project represent one of the few times the process has ever been undertaken.

An October 1st memo from DPD director Diane Sugimura documents five priorities for the WSCC is to consider as it utilizes the PCD process:

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 9.37.37 PM Continue reading