Pike/Pine entrepreneur tells Big Mario’s goodbye as he gears up for stadium Gridiron project

Meinert, center, on patrol on E Pike

Capitol Hill-born Big Mario’s has been sold. But don’t be sad. Your favorite chain of faux dive pizza bars is in familiar, local hands.

Dave Meinert, a Seattle nightlife entrepreneur with his fingers in many of the most popular venues in the core of Pike/Pine entertainment district, announced he has been bought out of the three-location pizza chain by his longtime partners and frequent collaborators. Continue reading

Blotter | I-5 death, Broadway hate assault, E Pine thumb stabbing

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

  • I-5 death: Monday morning commuters were witness to a horrific scene along I-5 south as a woman fell to her death near Pike. Seattle Fire confirms the woman in her 50s died at the scene. Witnesses reported seeing the woman jump from the street above the freeway. SPD is investigating.
  • Broadway hate assault: Police took a woman into custody for investigation of a hate crime and harassment in a Sunday morning, June 17th incident on Broadway:Police tallied a long list of reported transgressions: Continue reading

With a snip of a ribbon, two years of construction starts on Capitol Hill Station development

On the warm night of June 19th, 2018 a celebration did its best to fill the empty space around Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station as ground broke on the new development that includes new retail, 428 housing units — 178 of which are affordable housing, and a new community plaza featuring the AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway remembering those who have succumbed to the disease.

The event included a band that played jazz music through the evening, the Capitol Hill Neighborhood Farmer’s Market popping-up with a preview of the coming plaza’s future, and free Dick’s burgers provided by the drive-in across the street. It was hard to find someone not holding a carton of water being given out for free to assuage the thirst of the attendees as they mingled under the evening sun.

“Today’s a really important day for us and the community as we officially kick this construction project off, and really start seeing the dirt move,” said Jill Sherman of lead developer Gerding Edlen who also emceed the night’s proceedings. Continue reading

Families Belong Together protests on June 30th include Seattle rally

Jayapal at a Father’s Day rally in downtown Seattle against the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is calling for “a mass mobilization to demand the Trump administration stop its practice of separating families.”

The U.S. Representative from Washington’s 7th Congressional District is calling on her constituents to join a nationwide Families Belong Together protest on June 30th:

Families Belong Together Seattle

“This is the moral test of our time and we must show up together to protect innocent children and their parents,” Jayapal’s message to supporters reads.

Earlier this month, Rep. Jayapal met with asylum seekers being held in the SeaTac Federal Detention Center. “I hugged as many of them as I could because I just want them to know that we know they are human beings who are seeking safety and security. It was heartbreaking.” Jayapal said.

“President Trump and top administration officials have continued to defend their practice of breaking up families who arrive at the border in the face of bipartisan outcry, criticism from the United Nations and a lawsuit,” the New York Times reports.

Remembering DeCharlene Williams, Central District celebrates Juneteenth ‘freedom day’

The Buffalo Soldiers Of Seattle, 9th-10th Cavalry (Image: Karen Toering)

With reporting and photography by Alex Garland

Seattle is marking Juneteenth, a celebration of freedom and the end of slavery in the United States, with parties and events again in 2018 though it has lost one of its driving forces behind the holiday.

The King County Council issued a proclamation this week recognizing the importance of the celebration. “Juneteenth is now the closest occasion for there being a true ‘freedom day’ to celebrate in this country for people of African descent,” said council member Larry Gossett, the sponsor of the proclamation. “Now, more than ever, people of Martin Luther King, Jr. County should understand the significance of Juneteenth.” Continue reading

‘A sense of home’ on Capitol Hill: a look inside the new Consulate of Mexico in Seattle

Two times a week, its legal protection team visits many of the some 200 immigrant women — most mothers separated from their children —  currently held in the SeaTac Federal Detention Center.

“This is something we work on every single day,” Roberto Dondisch, general consul at the Consulate of Mexico in Seattle, tells CHS.

But like many efforts at the consulate, the team’s work is not about politics or trying to change Trump administration policies. Instead the team checks in on the women’s well-being, helps connect them to lawyers and organizations that can help, and is there to make sure its citizens retain their human rights.

“We are very active,” Dondisch said. “Everybody has the right to ask for protection.” Continue reading

City Council considering changes to how Seattle prosecutes hate crimes

The Seattle City Council will begin the legislative process Tuesday afternoon to change the way hate crimes are prosecuted in the city.

CB 119288 would remove Seattle’s malicious harassment crime, the city’s current hate crime statute, and replace it with a “special allegation of hate crime motivation,” giving the City Attorney’s office greater range in prosecuting crimes targeting protected classes and the ability to ask for greater penalties on more serious cases:

This ordinance authorizes the City Attorney to allege that a criminal incident of assault, harassment or property destruction was motivated by the defendant’s perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, mental handicap, physical handicap, sensory handicap, homelessness, marital status, political ideology, age, or parental status.

Replacing the crime of malicious harassment with the new special allegation of hate crime motivation will have three major impacts, according to a city council staff memo on the legislation. Continue reading

True Hope Village, a tiny piece of Seattle’s big homelessness and affordability problem, moves forward in the Central District

Employees of Vulcan gathered for a day of community service to construct the 30 homes destined for the Central District’s True Hope Village (Image: Vulcan)

Monday afternoon, the Seattle City Council is set to approve the legislative underpinning to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s “bridge housing” plan creating a $9.5 million a year program for shelter and “tiny house” encampments. So-called bridge housing is the rare cog in Seattle City Hall’s engine that still seems spinning forward for solutions to the city’s intertwined homelessness and affordability crisis. And, despite pushback from within and from beyond the neighborhood, a new tiny house village planned for the Central District might be the most solid effort at this point to build something new to help put more people in shelter.

CHS reported earlier on plans for the encampment and a set of community meetings about the project. The vision has withstood the process. True Hope Village is being constructed at 18th Ave and E Yesler Way.

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), which is leading the project, has learned from past skepticism and opposition to the village projects, organizing community meetings earlier in the process to give a space for nearby residents to voice their concerns and create transparency, Josh Castle, director of advocacy and community engagement for LIHI, said. Continue reading

Doghouse’s leather and kink retail project set to kick new life into 107-year-old Pike/Pine building with a (probably) racy past

A Capitol Hill leather and kink shop is set to be at the heart of an overhaul of an overlooked but history-packed 107-year-old building on a key E Pike block.

Doghouse Leathers is starting in on design planning for a new home at 715 E Pike in the 1911-built building sandwiched by Saint John’s and Stitches and Babeland that is one of the few auto row-era structures still standing that has not yet been transformed for the new Pike/Pine.

“In my 35+ years dealing with Pike/Pine, I have never seen anything in that location other than the construction office for Pike Motorworks,” Doghouse owner Jeff Henness tells CHS. Continue reading

Street Critic | The Audacity of Volunteers — an I-5 lid update

Riisa Conklin and Alex Zeilier of the Freeway Park Association presenting design principles (Image: Scott Bonjukian)

Tuesday, June 5th saw the second gathering of the faithful for the Central Hills Triangle Collaborative (CHTC), a partnership between PPUNC (the Pike|Pine Urban Neighborhood Council) and Lid I-5. An all-volunteer effort, the goal of the CHTC is to provide visionary urban designs to inspire Seattleites to advocate for covering Interstate 5 with parks, housing, and neighborhood centers. While no public agency has committed to our vision, Lid I-5 was recently successful in securing a $1.5M grant for the City of Seattle to begin a year-long feasibility study. In addition, Lid I-5 continues to have promising discussions with civic leaders and WSDOT and we have been invited by the DOT to a work group that is studying I-5’s future in the Puget Sound Region. With the CHTC’s results in hand we are confident we can capture the public’s imagination and convince leaders to transform Seattle by re-imagining its largest publicly-owned asset.

Spirits were high and the results of the seven teams’ efforts were remarkable. Beginning with the Connections Team (infrastructure, mobility, and branding) and progressing through the South (recreation), Central (commerce), and North (housing) Teams, it was apparent that each team was excited in presenting their work and in the work of their fellow designers. Scott B, Sony P, and I were excited too, not only by the goodwill and cheer exuded by the teams but also by our recent success in the $1.5M grant. The work of the CHTC will help the city visualize and define the scope of work for their RFQ scheduled for later this year. Continue reading