CHS Community Post | Hoodrest celebrates Earth Day and first anniversary

Grad-CHBThis years Earth Day not only celebrates mother earth but also the first anniversary of Hoodrest, an up-cycling business located here in Capitol Hill! Founded by two entrepreneurial friends, Johanna Lange and Karen Rankin, Hoodrest specializes in up-cycling hooded sweatshirts into household products. Last year saw the release of the Hoodrest pillow, a cozy keepsake that’s chillin’ in the man cave, along for the road trip or snuggled on the family sofa.

This spring, Hoodrest offers the perfect gift for the graduate in your life! Whether they’re moving up to high school, off to college or stepping into the ‘real’ world, a Hoodrest pillow is the ideal memento to take with them to the next chapter of their journey. Check out our vast selection at or have a custom Hoodrest pillow made for the grad in your life.

CHS Community Post | Stewardship

062811-5Stewardship, this word was used by an acquaintance while we were talking about my home here on Capitol Hill. As I grow older plans and life changing events come into play which I had never considered just like the saying, “Life is what happens while we are busy making plans.” My home is recognized in the neighborhood for all of the transitions we have made but also for the stop dead in your tracks gardens. Anyone passing by is drawn to a slower pace to admirer and question what they are seeing. Further walking around the neighborhood reveals gardens that have borrowed inspiration from our gardens. It does make us proud of that influence.
Whenever I am working in the front gardens people stop to admire and ask what this or that plant may be, did I do this work and how much they have enjoyed passing by and watching the seasonal changes. When there is a genuine appreciation and my visitor has the time I always invite them to see the back gardens. Once I lead them through the side gate I make a point to position myself head just enough so I am able to see their expression change as they round the corner and take in the very private gardens with the Koi pond and waterfall. The tour lasts for several minutes up to an hour depending on the interest and the amount of pictures being taken. Pictures of my gardens are seen all across the country, as well as Canada, Ireland, France, Japan and Singapore. And those are just the ones I remember.
Stewardship, because my home needs a new steward as my Family needs me and I must leave my home and gardens. Capitol Hill is being changed at an alarming rate with beautiful homes being leveled and replaced by four to six townhomes in the same location. Don’t misunderstand me here, I understand the reasons and the need, it just pains me to know that developers are lusting for the land under my gardens and not seeing the unique opportunity and beauty. There is a real value and need for us to step up and treasure what we still have before it is just another vanished wish.
My house is a duplex. It is zoned L3 which means that someone could live upstairs and work out of their offices on the main floor. The potential is great and the rewards many. I am writing this in an attempt to save what I truly believe to be one of the last such properties left on the Hill.

CHS Community Post | An Urgent Call to Action Regarding Signage


  • Your chance to stop Seattle’s growing visual pollution & shape your City’s future visual environment for generations


  • Your chance to say NO to expanding the use & dumping of tons of toxic vinyl into our landfills
  • Your chance to voice your written (link below) and verbal comments to the City Council at the City Council Meeting Monday April 14th at City Hall

The Seattle City Council has before it a bill, CB117991, that proposes to amend the Sign Code portion of the city’s Land Use Code as it relates to wall signs and on-premises sign regulations. The Council’s Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency is seeking comment on the proposed changes, in writing, by noon this Friday, April 11. Links below.

The proposal calls for establishing a 672 square foot area limit for all NEW on-premises wall signs located in Commerical, Seattle Mixed, Industrial, and Downtown zones. 672 square feet is an increase from 287 square feet in earlier drafts.

The proposal also calls to establish a 3,000 square foot area limit for all new on-premises wall signs for spectator sports facilities that have a seating capacity of 40,000 or greater and are located in Industrial zones.

To get a sense of these sizes I’ve prepared the accompanying infographics, relating the sizes to things we know and can relate to.

Councilmember Sally Clark is championing this poor legislation and rushing it through hoping the public doesn’t notice.  A group of concerned residents and professionals, this author included, believe these signs are way too big, way too intrusive into our cityscape, and probably illegal. A number of us, including the Seattle Design Commission, have also come out in favor of stopping this bad amendment and working with DPD to rewrite our Sign Code for the 21st Century and what Seattle could be today and into the future.

The wall signs being addressed by the Council Bill are not permanent: they are made from temporary, inexpensive plastic, plastic that cannot be recycled and goes directly to our landfills, all this in a city that has ostensibly cares about our environment and banned plastic bags and charges a bag fee for paperones now. Additionally, the advertising wallscapes material comes from Asia and is made from unknown materials and is being printed outside of Seattle with solvent-based inks (a fancy term for environmentally bad).

These “wall signs” are not really signs: they’re advertisements. For iPhones. For Montana travel. For Starbucks Frappucinos. And others. We’ve all seen them around town. Historically this type of advertising would be on billboards, freestanding, large signs. There are a number of them left in Seattle but they are on their way out, the existing ones grandfathered in.

One of the key arguments against these wall signs, sometimes called “wall scapes,” is that they do not meet Seattle Building Code.  Appendix H, Section H111, Wall Signs: “Wall signs which have an area exceed of 40 square feet shall be constructed of metal or other approved noncombustible material.” These signs are clearly larger than 40 square feet. And nowhere is it defined what “other approved noncombustible materials” might be.

It is important to note the key word “new” in the first part of the proposal. This means that all existing signs would be “grandfathered in.” Signs like the iPhone or current advertisement (“sign”) on the Macy’s Parking Garage would get to stay. There is question as to whether these signs are actually legal under the existing sign code and were illegally permitted by DPD. Adding to the complication and confusion is that there is a pending lawsuit by the city against the proliferators of these signs that in regards to this proposal is counterproductive to the city.

Did you know? Seattle was the birthplace of large scale, outdoor (now called out of home) advertising, by two dentists. There are old photos of Seattle with every available surface of every building plastered with advertising messages. It is also interesting to note that as the billboard advertising movement went back east, New York City said no immediately to billboards and wrote legislation and codes to control them and contain them, today, mostly to Times Square.

Did you know? Washington State created scenic byways legislation to prohibit large signs and advertising along our scenic routes in 1961, four years before Lady Byrd Johnson was instrumental in creating and getting Congress to pass the National Scenic Byways Act. It is apparent that long-time Washingtonians have taken great pride in their beautiful, natural environment.

The question before us, my fellow citizens, is whether we, as a citizenry, want gigantic “general advertising for hire” on non-sustainable vinyl taking up our cityscape that contradict our abiding green vision? There are people like me who consider this visual blight, visual pollution, and an assault on our senses. Perhaps that’s just a few of us. We don’t really know because Sally Clark and DPD have not been forthcoming with an open and orderly process of seeking citizen input.

To read about Council Bill 117991:

To contact City Council (by noon this Friday, 04/11).
Sally Clark:
Tim Burgess, Council President:
Sally Bagshaw:
Jean Godden:
Bruce A. Harrell:
Nick Licata:
Mike O’Brien:
Tom Rasmussen:
Kshama Sawant:
Sara Belz, Council Legislative Staff:

Whiskers the Cat is Lost on Capitol Hill

WhiskersWhiskers, a short haired brown and white male tabby, was lost on Capitol Hill between the 200 block of Harvard Ave E and the 400 block of Belmont Ave E 4/8/14.  He has a distinctive brown mark that covers his nose (see photo).  He is very shy and sweet.  He does have some kidney issues so time is of essence.  We are very worried about him.  Please call or email if you see him:


CHS Community Post | Capitol Hill is now the capitol of cool cycling.

MC_SocialMedia_Flier_2Two years ago I moved to Seattle from the glorified ski town of Bend, Oregon, where a clean flannel is considered formal attire. As a dedicated cyclist in a new urban environment I found myself constantly wondering “What do I do when I get there?” At the time I was aware of only two options: proudly don a skintight “performance garment” and get used to being called Lance, or sweat through my cotton street clothes and hope they were dry before anyone saw me. I didn’t like either option, so I got to work.

Today, I have just launched a Kickstarter campaign at that revolves around a simple concept. Stylish Merino Wool clothes, made in America and NO middle men causing huge mark-ups.

My days are unpredictable and they often involve a bicycle, work, the climbing gym, and happy hour if I’m lucky. Model Citizen is about more than just getting there, it’s about arriving. What you do when you get there is up to you.

CHS Community Post | A note from Trinity Parish Episcopal Church in First Hill

altar2Trinity Parish Episcopal Church is now open to the public during the week. Take a few minutes out of your schedule to visit this beautiful, serene space, and take it easy. Pray, meditate, just sit down and be quiet, explore our magnificent windows . . . Docents are present to answer your questions, if you have them. Lots of information about Trinity’s history and Trinity’s very active present is on hand–much of it for you to take with you if you like. Our present open hours are Mon/Thurs 9am – 3pm, and Wed/Fri 12pm – 3pm. Call the office (206-624-5337) to make sure there’s not a glitch in the schedule for the day, or just stop by. Signs will be out to show we are open. Come in! Trinity Parish Episcopal Church is located at 8th and James. You can learn more at

CHS Community Post | Family of longtime Capitol Hill shopkeeper seeks help paying for father’s care

For nearly 40 years, James Gunn had a store on Capitol Hill. 15th Ave E’s Tilden finally closed in 2010 after being part of the community for decades. Gunn’s daughter reached out to CHS this week with a note about her father and an appeal for help. While many who passed by might remember the store only for the “difficult for children” sign that hung on the door, others in the community surely knew Jim. Here is the note from his daughter and more about an opportunity to help.

Jim Gunn

Jim Gunn

My father, Jim Gunn, who adored my mother & loved her unconditionally, took care of my mother, Gloria Gunn, at home,for 10 years, because she was bedridden,{eating out of a tube in her stomach}, ran their gift store called Tilden, in Seattle, & took care of their large German Shepherd dog until she passed away 2 years ago. It cost him everything and he gladly gave it! Gloria & Jim were very loved in the community on Capitol Hill, in Seattle.

Now Jim needs your help. My father is now in an assisted living community on an emergency basis, called respite care. I have used up all available funds to keep him there.

Glory Kurfurst

Kurfurst said she is working to help her father sell his house to let him stay at the facility but is hopeful that some in the community who knew Jim or shopped at Tilden might want to step forward to help the family through this period. “Please help me fulfill his wishes,” she writes.

A James Gunn fund has been set up at US Bank — Kurfurst asks that anybody who wants to help to contact the bank at (206) 344-3690 to donate to the fund.

CHS Community Post | Local Cartoonist Celebrates “Women’s History Month” with Comic Art Collection

9309326911_6eaab87e8aAsk most people to name a female cartoonist and they’ll be hard-pressed to come up with even one name. Ask local cartoonist Tatiana Gill and she’ll gladly share a whole list, including Roberta Gregory, Pheobe Gloeckner, Mary Fleener, and Gill’s mother, Claire Montrose. Gill describes them all as funny, honest, heartbreaking, and talented, and it’s in that spirit she’s curated a collection of comic art to commemorate Women’s History Month, which this year celebrates Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment.

Born and raised in Seattle, Gill studied art at Evergreen State College after graduating from The Northwest School, but she’s been drawing ever since she was a child. According to Gill, her mom, a cartoonist turned stained glass artist, wasn’t just an early teacher but an inspiration as well. Her mother also happened to be friends with Gregory, who introduced the family to underground feminist comics, a theme that eventually would influence Gill’s own cartooning.

“I have always done “slice-of-life” comics, both fictional and autobiographic,” says Gill. “In recent years I have pulled more directly from my day-to-day mudnane experiences, instead of singular narratives or events from my past.“ While it may be self-expression that fuels her comics, she seems to have struck a chord with her audience. “I didn’t realize how many people shared my feelings. I like to discuss the things that people are frightened to discuss, because they make us vulnerable.”

A talented illustrator and photographer in addition to cartooning, Gill uses her art as a show of strength as well as vulnerability; her work frequently highlights the “amazing women” in her life including friends, family, and fellow artists. Gill is perhaps most committed to reflecting the diversity of women so often underrepresented in the media. “Every time I see a cool depiction of a woman who, like me, is outside the mainstream image, I feel better. I want to spread that kind of cheer around to other women!” No doubt those illustrious women in history would approve.

View the complete Women’s History Month collection.10305294055_0290f52e598615022667_58189b7d46

CHS Community Post | Yet Another Discussion of Public Transportation

MAN_trolleybusAs we see with various posts on this blog and other media in the Metro area, public transportation is a hot topic here in Seattle–one that is simultaneous as complex as it is controversial, as important as it can be tedious, and as beneficial as it can be frustrating. Seattle is one of the few large cities in America taking aggressive measures to create an extensive transit system for future generations. There are, of course, roadblocks and headaches along the way–but hopefully it will be worthwhile in the end. Indeed, public transportation is becoming more and more popular nationwide.

Let me introduce myself. I am a graduate student at the Evergreen State College’s Master of Environmental Studies program. I am working on a thesis, I am conducting a survey of people’s usage and opinion of public transportation, as well as environmental concerns that correlate with public transportation useage. As a transplant from New York City, I am interested to see the relationship of Seattleites–and in particular, the community of Capitol Hill–with the current public transportation system. And as Sound Transit is expanding its light rail Link expansion on Broadway (another hotly debated topic), there are a couple of questions about public knowledge of the project.

I could have chosen any neighborhood in Seattle, but because of its uniqueness, density and diversity, I picked Capitol Hill. If you live, work, or study in Capitol Hill, please take just five minutes to fill out this online survey. I know that many of you have already been surveyed a lot already about these issues, but this will be a unique study that is not tied to any city or transit agencies nor takes a political stand. I do not have an agenda–it is purely scientific and objective.
Thank you so much and if anyone wants to see the final thesis or want to talk about my project, shoot me an email at

Here is the link to the survey. (I created it using a survey website called Traitwise):

P.S.: In addition to conducting surveys, I am also looking for people to interview for a more in-depth discussion of your perceptions, behaviors and attitudes towards public transportation and the environment. Whether you love it, hate it, or are indifferent to it, I would love to talk to you for a 30-40 minute interview. It will be recorded, but you will remain anonymous. I will even treat you to a beer, coffee or beverage of your choice.
Thank you, Capitol Hill!