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!

CHS Community Post | Seattle Public Schools Continue Math Curriculum Adoption Process: MY MATH to Host a Series of Open Houses

logoOver the past year, the Seattle Public School district has been engaged in a community-wide process to select a new math program for students in grades K-5.  The Seattle School Board directed the Adoption Committee for Kindergarten and Grades 1-5 to select a math curriculum that will align with the Common Core Standards, meet both the state’s college readiness expectations and cultural relevance and accessibility standards.

Last month, the committee announced the four finalists which included My Math, EnVision, Math In Focus and Go Math!

My Math, is hosting a series of open houses at several public libraries in Seattle. Parents, students, and teachers are invited to meet with My Math facilitator Shelley Manweller as she shares her experiences with the new CCSS MY Math curriculum and answer questions from attendees. The open house events are informal and will give community members a chance to further understand how My Math is designed to meet state and federal guidelines.

“We want to engage as many parents and teachers as possible.” said Manweller  “This is an opportunity to answer questions and highlight the strengths of the My Math curriculum. It is my hope that these meetings will make the adoption process a truly collaborative process.”

Contact Shelley Manweller at with questions.

The events will be held at the following Seattle public library locations:


Tuesday, March 25

4721 Rainier Ave. S.



Tuesday, March 25

2306 42nd Ave. S.W.

5:30 -7:30


Wednesday, March 26

2821 Beacon Ave. S.



Thursday, March 27

7364 E. Green Lake Dr. N.


Thursday, March 27

8016 Greenwood Ave. N.

5:30 to 7:30


Sunday, March 30

400 W. Garfield St.

2:00 – 4:00 pm


These events are not sponsored by the Seattle Public Library.

CHS Community Post | Nagle Place and Broadway?

What is happening with that big high-voltage noisy shed that was erected today next to Bonney Watson? It is marked “S TSS 66″ and is making constant, ridiculous, and asinine noise. I thought it was a helicopter at first. Public parks are supposed to be parks–I.e., a bit of a breather from the city? That whole side of the park is drowned in the  noise now. Is this going to be constant? Disgusting. Why not put this noisy power station on the street, which is already quite noisy? Is anyone else  in the park bothered by this racket?

Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Sign Up Day – Swedish Cherry Hill Campus – Wednesday March 19th

CA-14-1467-O-ACA-Health-Insurance-sign-up-flyer-Cherry-Hill-finalSwedish Medical Center – Cherry Hill Campus will be holding a free public session to help those who are signing up for new healthcare insurance through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. It’s scheduled for Wednesday, March 19th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the James Tower Education Center-Room A at Swedish Medical Center Cherry Hill Campus 500 17th Ave Seattle WA 98122.  If you are not able to attend, please call 206-386-6996 to set up an appointment. Enrollment ends March 31 2014.