Last year, two Capitol Hill tragedies — the city’s ongoing homelessness emergency and the Ed Murray sex abuse accusations and resignation — ranked as the most important CHS stories of 2017.
In 2018, the stories that most moved the neighborhood also included ongoing challenges and the downfall of a powerful man. The twists and turns of time brought new businesses to the neighborhood, new leaders, and, yes, even new critters. Here are the most important Capitol Hill stories of 2018. You can let us know what 2018 stories you felt were most important — and remind us of anything we missed — here.
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- Reporting by KUOW’s Sydney Brownstone of sexual misconduct and rape accusations against Pike/Pine business owner — and business community leader — Dave Meinert threw new light on the entrepreneur and his many connections across the neighborhood to Seattle City Hall… and beyond. By late summer, his Pike/Pine business partnerships were mostly dissolving as Meinert was forced to sell his stakes in neighborhood holdings including the Comet and Lost Lake.
- In February, CHS reported on a silver screen worthy twist in the overhaul of the old Harvard Exit theater. The Seattle Consulate of Mexico was moving to Capitol Hill. The diplomatic facility opened during the summer and by August, the Mexican flag was flying proudly above Capitol Hill.
- Off the Hill in Madison Park, diplomacy played out in a different way as souring international relations forced the closure of Russian Consular Residence on an April morning as diplomats, workers, and their families packed belongings, gear, and equipment into a small convoy of trucks outside the neighborhood’s Hyde mansion.
- An alliance of residents, neighbors, and historical preservationists came together to first stop a plan to turn the Royvue into microhousing and then win landmark protections for the 1924-built garden apartments.
- The demolition of 17th and Howell’s Galbraith House, meanwhile, reminded that landmark protections aren’t all they are cracked up to be.
- 20 years of community effort dug in on Broadway as two years of construction broke ground on the four seven-story buildings featuring new affordable and market rate apartments, a new grocery store, a daycare, community space, and a public plaza that will rise in the “transit oriented development” above Capitol Hill Station.
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- Thousands filled the streets between Capitol Hill and downtown in January as the 2018 Seattle Women’s March stepped off from Cal Anderson.
- To support “equitable and inclusive community engagement and process specific for those most impacted by displacement” and “help guide future development to respond to the unique Central Area historical character and identity,” the Central District got its own Central Area Design Review Board.
- The Capitol Hill grocery wars escalated as the diplomatically named Whole Foods Madison Broadway debuted in October.
- Broadway’s two QFCs, meanwhile, closed-off their secondary entrances in an effort company officials said came amid increased security measures to curb rampant shoplifting.
- Blocks in one of the densest areas of Capitol Hill came to a standstill for a day in late May before police and SWAT peacefully ended a 12-hour standoff with an armed King County Sheriff’s Office deputy inside his apartment in the Belmont and E Howell Granada Apartments building.
- Dingfelder’s Delicatessen brought new life and stacked-high corned beef and pastrami sandwiches to a commercial kitchen building at 14th and Pine.
- Capitol Hill expanded its gayborhood with a new gay bar as Union debuted on… E Union.
- After nearly 30 years, the SASG Christmas tree lot came to an end.
- A double overdose inside a Pike/Pine bar and spade-marked baggies brought down the man prosecutors say was Capitol Hill’s opioid kingpin.
- Capitol Hill’s legal drug trade expanded when The Reef became the first marijuana shop on E Olive Way and the Hill’s third I-502 retailer.
- Seattle had a head tax on big businesses — despite opposition from hundreds of Capitol Hill and Central District small businesses. And then it didn’t.
- Opposed by a coalition of small Capitol Hill property owners, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce retreated on its push to expand a neighborhood Business Improvement Area and property assessments across the Hill.
- City officials said they are ready to “assess the viability” of Capitol Hill Block Party following the festival’s 2019 edition.
- Candidates began lining up to vie for Kshama Sawant’s City Council seat in 2019.
- The 2018 count showed 8,600 people living homeless in Seattle.
- Wild eastern cottontail rabbits suddenly appeared in surprising numbers around Capitol Hill.
- Capitol Hill’s mystery soda machine disappeared.