With Tacoma expansion set to open, Central Co-op names new CEO

Last winter, Central Co-op marked 40 years on Capitol Hill. This year as spring approaches, the co-op has a new leader.

Catherine Willis Cleveland has been hired as the cooperative’s new CEO.

“Central Co-op is a model for building sustainable communities and a hub for celebrating healthy food,” Cleveland said in a statement. “When I was growing up my mother coordinated a cooperative produce buying club off our front porch and I have carried those cooperative values with me ever since. I am thrilled to be taking this leadership role at Central Co-op and to help guide this community-grown grocer into the future.” Continue reading

Amazon a ‘Go’ on E Pike

(Image: Amazon)

Through dozens of permits and pages of planning updates, CHS has found the first documentation that global retail giant Amazon is, indeed, opening a new cashier-less grocery store on Capitol Hill.

An otherwise innocuous conveyance permit required for elevator work in the AVA Capitol Hill building is the first document filed with the city over the past four years for the 600 E Pike project to include the name “Amazon.”

“No comment,” an Amazon spokesperson offered when CHS confronted the $855 billion and change company with its latest Washington Post-worthy, Watergate-level reporting on the store. Continue reading

On 15th Ave E, booming design business means expansion for Board and Vellum, new start for Capitol Hill nonprofit

In a booming city full of redesign and redevelopment, Capitol Hill design and architecture firm Board and Vellum has decided 15th Ave E is the place for it to grow, too.

“Board and Vellum has grown from a staff of one back in 2011 to just under 40 people today,” firm principal Jeff Pelletier tells CHS. “We have seen tremendous growth in our landscape architecture and interior design studios and being able to occupy the whole building will mean we have certainty of where we will work for years to come while accommodating any future growth in our staff size.”

That growth means Board and Vellum has undertaken two of its most important design projects yet. Continue reading

Seattle passes Mandatory Housing Affordability plan to allow its densest neighborhoods to become even denser

A North Capitol Hill resident made his case against Eastlake upzoning prior to Monday’s vote

Four years and 40 Seattle City Council meetings later, the plan to surgically allow taller and more multifamily-packed development in the city’s densest neighborhoods including Capitol Hill has been approved.

“We’re embracing growth by embracing inclusion,” council member and Mandatory Housing Affordability committee chair Rob Johnson said Monday before the vote. “And we’re embracing inclusion by changing plans that were made 25 years ago.”

The vote Monday ran 9-0.

The MHA plan ties upzones in 27 of the city’s densest neighborhoods to the creation of affordable units and will transition a reported 6% of Seattle’s current single family-zoned property. Continue reading

One dead in 14th/Yesler apartment fire — UPDATE

(Image: Seattle Fire)

CORRECTION: This post has been updated with the correct building identification. CHS initially reported the location of the first address that appeared in the Seattle Fire incident logs but that location was subsequently updated. We apologize for the error.

One person was found dead in a two-alarm apartment fire overnight in a Catholic Housing Services apartment building at 14th and E Yesler.

Seattle Fire was called to the scene around 12:30 AM Monday and found a second story unit in the 1900-built, 34-unit building fully ablaze.

Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control before flames could spread beyond the unit or to the building to the south.

SFD says the blaze was mostly contained to the unit where the body was found. The Medical Examiner was called to the scene and will handle determination of a cause of death and identification of the victim.

Four units in the building were not able to be reoccupied overnight, Seattle Fire said, and Red Cross was requested to assist the victims.

Catholic Housing Services operates the building as part of its homeless, low-income and special needs housing properties. The building has served as housing for the elderly.

Seattle Fire is conducting an investigation into what caused the blaze.

UPDATE: Investigators have ruled the cause of the fire as undetermined pending autopsy results, Seattle Fire says.

Total estimated loss was estimated at $295,000.

Capitol Hill homeowners mount last-ditch effort against MHA upzoning… in Eastlake

The view from Harvard Ave E (Image: CHS)

They know they are probably too late. They know that after a multi-year journey of hearings, community meetings, public comment, and legal challenges, the Seattle City Council wants the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation, which connects affordability mandates to upzoning parts of the city’s densest neighborhoods, to reach its destination during a final vote Monday afternoon. Perhaps they even know Monday’s vote is basically pro forma, as council members have worked on it for years and voted unanimously to advance the legislation last month.

And, yet, a group of North Capitol Hill homeowners, along with the Eastlake Community Council, is trying to fight the upzoning of a seven-block-long (and mostly half a block-deep) sliver of I-5-bordering properties in Eastlake. The amendment for zoning increase, from low-rise to mid-rise with a height limit of 80’ on Boylston Ave. E and a short stretch of Franklin Ave. E was recently introduced and approved by the city council as part of a series of amendments that scaled back upzones across neighborhoods and increased some others. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Seattle Youth Climate Strike — ‘We don’t have any more time to waste’

(Images: Margo Vansynghel for CHS)

Under an early spring sun, hundreds of students and some parents and supporters rallied on Capitol Hill Friday on the turf of the Bobby Morris Playfield for the Seattle Youth Climate Strike.

The students came to Cal Anderson from schools across King County, including Garfield High School, Thornton Creek Elementary School, Nathan Hale and Sammamish High School. They skipped school to demand legislative action on both local and state levels in Washington, adaptation of the Green New Deal to shift to 100% renewable and clean energy, and the declaration of the climate crisis as a national emergency. Continue reading

Seattle responds to Christchurch with sadness, efforts to make Washington safer for Muslim and minority communities

3-year-old Muca Abdi is reported to be the youngest victim in the attack (Image via @KhaledBeydoun)

Local leaders and organizations have responded to the murders of the Christchurch terror attack with sorrow, denouncement of the hate behind the act, and updates about making things safer for Muslim and minority communities in the aftermath of the killings that left dozens dead in New Zealand.

“This cowardly act is additional evidence that hate is on the rise. Now, more than ever, we must work to combat hate and heal together – because an attack on one community is an attack on all our communities,” the AntiDefamation League – Pacific Northwest said in a statement. “In an act of solidarity and allyship, we recommend that you search for your nearest vigil and show your support by showing up.”

CAIR-Washington and the Muslim Association of Puget Sound will hold an interfaith vigil Monday night in Redmond. Continue reading

Cards *for* Humanity: Capitol Hill woman part of growing industry around helping Seattle — and beyond — make friends

(Image: 365 Meaningful Conversations)

(Image: Jake Boling)

Audrey Phillips is not great at small talk. She’s more of a listener. People have always felt comfortable sharing their stories with her. Once, she was seated next to an older man on the plane from Seattle to New Jersey. She asked him how he was doing. They ended up talking about his divorce for the rest of the flight. Phillips was 15.

Another time, when her car wouldn’t start, Phillips checked in with the woman on the phone from AAA roadside assistance. “It seems like you’ve had a hard day,” Phillips remembers telling her. She had. They talked for two hours about the woman’s daughter and her brushes with the criminal justice system.

For friends and family of the former ski instructor and wilderness guide, it came as no shock that she would carve a job out of skipping the small talk to go straight to what matters. With her one-woman-business, 365 Meaningful Conversations, Phillip’s doing that by organizing events where people “can genuinely connect.” Continue reading