Capitol Hill EcoDistrict | Communal living on Capitol Hill — Calling all ‘Building Ambassadors’

coverA couple of years ago, I helped to facilitate a retreat at an old Boy Scout camp near Monroe. It was a cold wet November weekend and the accommodations were Spartan, which is generally code for uncomfortable and in this case, moldy.

Somehow the weather and smelly cabins didn’t faze the participants, a few dozen bright eyed volunteers with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). These 20-somethings had agreed to be paid $100 per month and live in shared housing for a year while working in various direct service jobs in the Pacific Northwest. The theme of the retreat was “living in community.”

(Image: PRAG House)

(Image: PRAG House)

Some folks love communal living. PRAG House on Capitol Hill is “an urban housing cooperative that seeks to foster community and sustainable lifestyles” and many others live on Capitol Hill in less formal shared arrangements because it’s more affordable than a 1-bedroom apartment and it can be nice to have a ready group to hang out with on the weekends.

At the retreat I opened my talk with a quote from Heraclitus of Ephesus, aka the “Weeping Philosopher,” who said, “Nothing endures but change.” Heraclitus was a recluse with few friends, which is not so surprising. He reminded everyone that the universe is dynamic, ever changing, and that shit happens. That makes for a good bumper sticker, but isn’t a very popular message. Continue reading

CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures


The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 26,000 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

What they’re saying about Capitol Hill Station: Battlestar Galactica, not Bertha

CHS_BGCHS showed you our take on the first look inside Sound Transit’s $110 million Capitol Hill Station. Here’s what the rest of the world saw:

  • The Seattle Transit Blog — Inside Capitol Hill Station:
    Sound Transit brought a four-car train up to Capitol Hill for the tour, providing a glimpse of what service levels could look like in 2021. Spokesman Bruce Gray noted that while two-car trains will still be the norm for U-Link, three-car trains will be mixed in during peak, with flexibility for four-car trains for special events. In 2018, three-car trains will be the norm, and four-car trains will run full-time upon the opening of Northgate Link in 2021. The station itself is compact, deep, and tall. Relative to the DSTT, the mezzanines are graciously much smaller, and the center platform really narrows the feel of the station box. The overall feel is reminiscent of a cross between an industrial cathedral and the flight pod from Battlestar Galactica.
  • The Stranger — A Tour of the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station That’s Set to Open in Early 2016:
    Lest the Bertha boondoggle hog all the limelight, let’s not forget that Capitol Hill has its own tunnel project. The only difference is that everything about it is wonderful. Instead of tunneling to build a massive highway, the project is to build a subway line connecting the heart of Capitol Hill to downtown Seattle and the University of Washington. It is under budget and ahead of schedule. It is definitely not sinking the Earth around it. It will be adorned with eye-popping artwork made by local artists.
  • The Stranger also posted pictures here of the Jet Kiss installation provided by Sound Transit.
  • CHS, by the way, posted pictures from 2010 of artist Mike Ross and crew at work on one of the jets:

    Mike Ross and crew in 2010 after after receiving the A4 fighter jet for the future installation in Capitol Hill Station (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

    Mike Ross and crew in 2010 after after receiving the A4 fighter jet for the future installation in Capitol Hill Station (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

  • KING TV chose to focus on a nearby business:
    Asif Alvi, who runs Perfect Copy and Print on Broadway, says the project put his business in “limbo.” He had to move to accommodate the new station back in 2009. He’s had a front row view from his new spot ever since. “I feel like I’m a survivor, the business survived, but at what level?”
  • Geekwire sees the $1.9 billion U-Link project as putting the “U-District one step closer to being ideal tech hub.”
  • The Seattle Times — Capitol Hill light-rail station nearly ready for trains to rumble, an 11-picture photo essay from photographer Mike Siegel. Meanwhile, the Times featured this essay by former state legislator Bill Finkbeiner: Light rail is our best option to meet population boom

  • The Seattle PI posted a photo gallery with 21 images by photojournalist Josh Trujillo.
  • And the Seattle Bike Blog asked an excellent question:

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Civic Notes | June Seattle bus service expansion, parks smoking ban, arts space forum

"The 47 bus is coming back to Capitol Hill! " (Image: <a href=

@janeofearth via Twitter)” width=”400″ height=”533″ class=”size-medium wp-image-2067163900″ /> “The 47 bus is coming back to Capitol Hill! ” (Image: @janeofearth via Twitter)

With consistently warm and sunny days upon us, it’s time to get out and enjoy the city. Here are a few civic issues that may affect your outings in one way or another.

  • Expanded bus service begins: The Rt. 47 bus is coming back. Thanks to Seattle residents who voted to fund Metro last year and the agency’s regular summer route changes, the Capitol Hill to downtown line and a bunch of other routes will be reinstated or expanded starting in June. Last year’s Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1 asked Seattle voters if they wanted to buy back sliced Metro services in Seattle and improve existing routes with a $60 annual vehicle license fee and .1% sales tax hike. The measure is expected generate around $45 million annually.



    “The voters of Seattle are funding the largest increase in Metro service in our city in 40 years,” said Mayor Ed Murray in a statement. City funding will help improve Capitol Hill routes 10, 49, and 60 among others. Check here for a full list of route improvements.

  • Parks smoking ban: The Seattle Board of Parks Commissioners approved a tobacco smoking ban (PDF) on Thursday in all Seattle public parks. The ban goes into effect July 1st. On Capitol Hill, where parks serve as the de facto backyard for many renters and homeless people, the ban has been met with considerable opposition. Homeless advocates and other groups managed to get commissioners to drop a $27 fine for violating the ban. Instead, those caught smoking in a park will be met with warnings which could lead to an arrest.
    (Image: Seattle Office of Arts and culture)

    (Image: Seattle Office of Arts and culture)

  • Arts space forum: How can Seattle maintain and expand space for artistic endeavors amid a boom of development activity? It’s a question the city’s Office of Arts & Culture has been trying to find some answers to, and will present some of those findings during a free half-day forum on June 1st. Squared Feet: What’s Next will feature presentations from arts groups and ask participants to vote for an arts project the city should fund. You can learn more at Square Feet 2015 | Where Next?. CHS was there for the first Squared Feet forum in 2013.

Why is this black metal box at 10th and Pike?

Pike/Pinetrenpreneur (and CHS advertiser) Dave Meinert posted a picture Thursday night of this new addition to the streetscape in front of Neumos and claims to have no idea what it is. Our first bet, these days, is marketing. But this one looks… different. Bolted to the sidewalk, the black metal box is supported on a post. Its hinged door reveals a plexiglass screen. In the back there is a wiring hole. At this point, there is nothing to wire.

What is it?

A mysterious black metal box at 10th and E Pike St. Anyone know what it is?

Posted by David Meinert on Thursday, May 28, 2015

A check of permits for the area revealed nothing. We’ve asked SDOT — and others — for any information. We’ll update when we hear back.

(We suggest you review the comments already made on Facebook before you add your joke about 2001, Meinert’s soul, or the NSA… they’ve all been done!)

tōk, Capitol Hill’s first pot shop, to open in longtime home of Angel’s Shoe Repair — UPDATE

IMG_4970When his target location for a recreational pot store on 15th Ave E was snatched up in an 11th hour deal earlier this year, Samuel Burke scrambled in search of a place to open Capitol Hill’s first I-502 shop. He may have found it across Republican at Angel’s Shoe Repair.

If all goes according to plan, Burke tells CHS he will open tōk by the end of June in the space that Ray Angel has occupied since 1980. Customers may also find a familiar face behind the pot shop’s counter: Burke says he wants to sign on Angel to work in his shop.

“I’m always looking for a win-win situation,” Burke told CHS.

Angel, a third generation cobbler, declined to comment on the future of his shop or his involvement with tōk. The family shoe repair business first opened in 1912 and has been on Capitol Hill for nearly 70 years. Joel Ostroff, who manages the property for Stanley Real Estate on behalf of the real estate investors who own the building, also declined to comment.


State Totals via the WSLCB’s Marijuana Dashboard

Burke told CHS on Thursday that he was prepared to sign a lease that day with the 1463 E Republican property owner. The state liquor board has already conditionally approved the new location, which Burke hopes could open as early as next month after he submits a copy of his lease and security plans to state regulators. However, Burke has reason to be cautious. Continue reading

With pastry popular from Tirana to Istanbul, Byrek and Baguette opens on 12th Ave

Eva Gjekmarkaj (Image: CHS)

Eva Gjekmarkaj (Image: CHS)

Natalie Gjekmarkaj behind the counter (Image: Byrek and Baguette)

Natalie Gjekmarkaj behind the counter (Image: Byrek and Baguette)

Natalie Gjekmarkaj knows how to make byrek, said by some to be among the best street food in the world. Now, she has brought the recipe and its secrets to 12th Ave.

“My home country Albania — byrek. Even in Italy, Croatia, Serbia… If you go in Turkey it’s a big deal, too,” Gjekmarkaj tells CHS.

Quietly the newest part of 12th Ave’s Seattle U-proximate food and drink scene, Byrek and Baguette has opened near the corner of E Columbia inside a former Vietnamese restaurant. There, you’ll find a deli case full of byrek and Gjekmarkaj baking away to fill orders from what has become a bit of a booming business providing her flaky creations for business lunch delivery.

The byrek is intended to be a savory, light pastry. “It’s a very light dough and you need to work it about three times and keep it very thin,” Gjekmarkaj says. Her fillings are simple. She currently offers six: Continue reading

Police arrest suspected gunman in Capitol Hill robbery shooting

SPD announced Thursday that a SWAT team has arrested the suspected gunman in a May 23rd shooting near Summit and Howell:

SWAT officers served a search warrant in the Leschi neighborhood early this morning and arrested the suspected gunman in Saturday’s shooting.

SWAT officers converged on a home in the 800 block of 28 Ave. S. and arrested a 20-year-old man, identified by robbery detectives during their investigation.

Police interviewed the man and booked him into King County Jail for investigation of Robbery and Assault. Detectives continue to investigate the case.

The May 23rd shooting sent a cell phone robbery victim to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries in the incident just after 2:30 AM near Summit and Howell. One of the robbery suspects also was shot in the foot. Police say the gunfire began after the robbery as the victim and a person with him began following the suspects demanding the return of a phone. Police say the suspect pulled out a gun and began shooting, hitting the victim in the leg and striking the other suspect in the foot. A nearby apartment building was also struck by the gunfire.

Earlier Thursday, CHS reported that police said the suspected accomplice in the crime has not yet been arrested while he recuperates from his gunshot wound.

Blotter | Woman suspected of trying to add stolen car to booty from 14th Ave restaurant theft nabbed by employees

(Image: Nue via Vimeo)

(Image: Nue via Vimeo)

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

  • 14th Ave theft suspect caught on video: The employees at Nue restaurant swung into action Tuesday night after a suspected thief attempted to return to the scene and allegedly make off with an even larger prize. Here’s the video and details posted by Nue about Tuesday night’s caper:

    Okay, maybe I had a little too much fun doing this but we caught our first crook! Last night a woman came into Nue, ordered a Coke and some food, sat around for a bit and then darted out with a stolen purse, cellphone, keys to the restaurant, our house and our car! A while later she returned to the ‘scene’ trying to figure out which car the key fob worked on in order to steal that too. Butterfingers accidentally hit the ‘Alarm’ button at which point our bartender and kitchen crew hopped off the line, chased her down for a tackle and a full recovery of the goods before the police arrived.
    The cops asked if I had any video footage and just couldn’t resist the urge to put together a ‘case’. Lessons learned: 1: Stealing is wrong, 2: NEVER return to the scene and 3: Nue has some bad ass staff. Footnote: We never did get paid for the Coke :(
    Police responded to the area around 9:30 PM to a report that three or four people were holding a woman down on the pavement near 14th and Madison. She had apparently waited around two hours after the purse theft to return to the area. The suspect was taken into custody but we don’t more about any charges at this point. There were no reported injuries. Continue reading

Seattle tenant protection bills introduced as renter rights issues gain ground


District 3 isn’t the only City Council race where candidates are trying to prove their mettle on affordable housing. City Council president Tim Burgess has introduced two tenant protection bills: one to extend the notice landlords must give for certain evictions, and another to require owners of some affordable housing buildings to notify the city before selling their properties.

The move comes as Burgess’s top challenger in the citywide Council Position 8 race — former Tenant’s Union director Jon Grant — has gained ground heading towards the August 4th primary.

Grant’s strong showing in the 43rd District Democrats endorsement event has put him in a runoff vote with Burgess next month. Grant has also picked up endorsements from the 46th District Democrats and the 32nd District Democrats.

Burgess’s first proposal would require landlords to give 90 days notice when they plan to move into the unit or move in an immediate family member. Currently, landlords only have to give 20 days notice for such evictions. The legislation would also require landlords intending to sell a rental unit to give renters 90 days notice instead of 60 days notice.

The second bill would mandate that landlords notify the city when they intend to sell any multi-family rental housing building with five or more units, where at least one unit is affordable to households at or below 80% of area median income. The notification would, in theory, give the city’s Office of Housing and the Seattle Housing Authority time to consider purchasing the units. There’s no requirement that the property owner sell to the city should it make an offer.

In 98102, an affordable rent for a household making 80% of the area’s median income would’ve been roughly $1,445 a month in 2013 (assuming 30% of income spent on housing is affordable).

“The growing lack of affordable housing poses a direct challenge to our vision of an equitable city,” Burgess said in a statement.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 9.26.22 PMAnd it’s not just in Seattle. A recent study found that average rents nationwide have gone up 5% for the third straight month, leading to the biggest growth in rents in nearly four years. Meanwhile, in a sample of recent Capitol Hill listings, the median monthly lease for a one-bedroom apartment was nearly $1,800, up $100 from a similar sampling method last month. Rent for studios are, on average, listing for about $200 more as well. Continue reading