Capitol Hill Community Post | Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that

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Brian Steen at Thursday’s Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence benefit

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The horror in Orlando has rocked the LGBT community here and everywhere.

“All of us are on high alert,” says Brian Steen, a member of the local Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and staffer at Capitol Hill Housing. “We need to be aware of our surroundings at all times.” Steen planned to attend one of this week’s active shooter trainings on Capitol Hill.

A resident of seven years and leader in Capitol Hill’s LGBT community, Steen has experienced first-hand the violence that can stalk hand-in-hand with bigotry, especially when the bigots have been drinking. Two years ago, he was attacked and knocked unconscious on Pine Street near the parking garage owned by Seattle Central College. It was the middle of the afternoon after a Seahawks game.

But Steen is not one to be intimidated, and neither is the Seattle LGBT community. Steen says that Capitol Hill’s gay bars saw record numbers out this past weekend. “We’re not going back into our closets to hide,” he says.

Steen recounted conversations he had while out with friends on Saturday night. Most focused on how to help the victims in Orlando. Brian hosted a fundraiser Thursday to raise money for the Orlando Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who will fund funerals for victims whose families won’t claim the bodies of their slain children.

Mayor Murray also was out last weekend along with Councilmembers Bagshaw and Burgess to show solidarity with the rattled LGBTQ community. “It was fun,” the mayor reported, “though most of the young crowd was just coming out (to the bars) as I was leaving.”

The mayor also appeared this week at a public safety forum hosted at Poquitos by the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. Murray was there with Chief O’Toole and other city staffers. He spoke briefly about the city’s commitment to additional police, better lighting and “activation” of Cal Anderson Park, then wished everyone a “Happy Pride.”

More foot and bike patrols are definitely needed, according to Brian Steen. Lighting also is an ongoing problem, especially later at night as the bars are emptying and in and around Cal Anderson Park.

“We go around it,” says Steen about the Park. “Everybody does.”

Cal Anderson Park, named for Washington State’s first openly gay legislator and the primary open space for the Hill’s thousands of straight and queer residents, has developed a wide reputation as a scary place after dark. Earlier this year, Seattle Neighborhood Group (SNG) analyzed safety in and around the park using a framework called Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED).

According to the SNG study, City crime data indicates a dramatic rise in 911 calls between 2014 and 2015 from in and near the Park. Park users and neighbors interviewed for the study expressed “deep dismay at the amount of graffiti, trash, open drug and alcohol use, and the unpredictable and sometimes threatening behaviors of some of the site’s visitors.”

This is a sad legacy for an important figure in the City and region’s history. Not only was Cal Anderson Washington’s first openly gay legislator, he was a strong champion for LGBT civil rights and gun control. One must wonder if he would feel safe today on Capitol Hill or in the park that bears his name.

SNG’s report offers a set of recommendations for improving safety in Cal Anderson Park, which include creating a paid position for coordinating care of the park, increasing bike and foot patrols, improving wayfinding, quickly and consistently enforcing park rules and civil and criminal laws, activating the park especially in problem spots, and aggressively addressing the park’s bad lighting.

Last year, the Cal Anderson Park Alliance and Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce commissioned a master lighting plan to address the same issues identified in SNG’s CPTED study. That plan is now in the City’s hands. We hope that Mayor Murray will commit to implementing it and the other CPTED recommendations. These are concrete steps to make the neighborhood safer for everyone beyond this Pride weekend.

On the List | Punk Rock Flea Market and Capitol Hill Pride

The Punk Rock Flea Market has successfully recovered from an unexpected venue change that took a toll on finances, and will take place at Capitol Hill’s V2 on Pride Weekend, June 25th and 26th.

“We got ourselves into a mess at our last venue, the Lusty Lady,” said organizer Josh Okrent. “The V2 people came to our rescue.”

Okrent says the Capitol Hill edition at the old Value Village on 11th Ave will be the biggest ever PRFM with 120 vendors. The event will also have a full bar, a staffed kids’ area with a stuffed animal petting zoo, and a lineup of three bands on Saturday.

This is the first time the event has ever taken place on Capitol Hill. The flea market was planned for the old Lusty Lady building but safety issues forced organizers to scramble in search of a new home, putting PRFM in a financial hole. Okrent says PRFM has climbed out of that hole through an indiegogo campaign to raise funds, the sale of merchandise to benefit the flea market, and a 4Culture grant.

This is also the first time that PRFM has fallen on the same weekend as Pride, which Okrent says was a happy accident. There will not be a Pride-specific twist to the flea market, but Okrent says Seattle has a large openly gay punk rock scene. “We are proudly punk and we are proudly out and we are happy to be a part of Pride Weekend,” he said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Parents – What to know if your kids are running around Cap Hill alone this summer


As the school year nears the end and we anticipate children eager to run around on their own, I reached out to our local police about how to keep a free running child safe on the streets and in the parks of our Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Officer Al Lebar has graciously offered his time to speak to a broader group on this topic.

You are welcome to attend.

What: Summertime Kids on the Loose: Presentation and Q&A on safety concerns regarding children in our neighborhood
When: Wednesday, June 29 from 7-8:30 pm
Where: Miller Community Center
Who: Adults only


CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

Orlando vigil

Orlando vigil

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 31,000 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.

Capitol Hill crosswalk gets a touch-up for Pride

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Capitol Hill Community Post | In Memory of John Berdes

unnamed (20)From Capitol Hill Housing

It is with sadness that we acknowledge the passing of former Capitol Hill Housing Executive Director John Berdes.

John worked for decades to build strong communities and help those of lesser means. Early in his career, John was a community coordinator for the Capitol Hill Community Council. He worked with CHH almost since its creation in 1976, and served as the organization’s Executive Director from 1978 until 1987.

John became the Executive Director at a pivotal time in the evolution of CHH. As the real estate market recovered from the Boeing Bust, he smartly read the quickening pace of change and the impact it would have on the affordability of the community.

He helped lead the transformation of the organization from its origins of primarily supporting low-income homeowners in Capitol Hill to providing high quality affordable apartment housing throughout Seattle.

John worked on the purchase of CHH’s first building, the Broadway Apartments, in an era when there was precious little financing from the government or conventional banks.  He was an innovator as much as a leader, putting together new and unique ways to fund the work,  pioneering the sale of development rights, issuance of tax exempt bonds, and engagement of socially-minded individuals.

Building on the success and experience of smaller properties, he greatly expanded the organization’s affordable housing work and impact.  Success under John’s leadership led to invitations to work in other neighborhoods such as Belltown, the Central District and Southeast Seattle.

Simply put, CHH would not be the organization it is today without John.

Later in his career, John was a Senior Program Officer for LISC, and the founder and CEO of Craft3. At these organizations John continued to develop creative ways to mix public, private and social capital to assist small businesses, finance affordable housing, and encourage sustainable development.  Through it all, John worked collaboratively, bringing together like-minded organizations to advance the common cause.

Last but not least, John was a character.  As hard as he could be in a business deal, he also was funny and a true personality.  He will be deeply missed.

Any tributes can made to  The Harbor resource center in Astoria or Lower Columbia Memorial Hospice via Columbia Memorial Hospital. You can also share memories of John on the Craft3 or CHH Facebook pages.

Christopher Persons, CEO

Chuck Weinstock, former CHH Executive  Director

Capitol Hill Community Post | Free Ice Cream at Volunteer Park Trust’s Summer Picnic

2015-Picnic-in-the-Park-2Once again Volunteer Park Trust is hosting its fifth annual free celebration of summer: Picnic in the Park. Founded to preserve and enhance Volunteer Park, the Trust produces events to help activate the park and bring the community together. All are welcome on Thursday, July 21st from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Grab and a picnic blanket, tell your friends, and come enjoy fun for the whole family, featuring:

• Live music provided by LoveCityLove
• Performances by the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts
• Fantastic food trucks including:
* Dante’s Inferno Dogs
* Spicy Papaya
* Cheese Wizards
* Rancho Bravo
* Where Ya At Matt
• FREE Cupcake Royale Ice Cream provided by Volunteer Park Trust while it lasts!
• FREE flavored water provided by Aegis Living

The crowds will be gathering at the Great Lawn on the west side of the park. Don’t miss out!VPT_PicnicInThePark2016_CHCC_Gallery424076102113_ebaa7b6e8a_z

Capitol Hill Community Post | Local Captiol Hill resident creates lasting tribute to the victims in Orlando

Peter Innes, a resident of Capitol Hill has created the website

He has created something moving and beautiful to share with those still lost after the horrific events in Orlando.

He’s captured the messages left by people at the memorial in Cal Anderson park. Over time the memorial will fade or be washed away. One thing is for certain, the messages of love left by visitors will never be forgotten. PLEASE share this as much as possible. Show the world that we stand together and that love wins. ALWAYS, no matter what, love wins.

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Capitol Hill Community Post | Rezoning the Neighborhood from 40′ to 65′

Screen-Shot-2016-06-15-at-2.40.39-PMA development company (19th and Madison Development, LLC) is applying for permits to build a 6 story 180 unit apartment building between 19th and 20th Avenues off Madison St and change the zoning laws from NC2-40 to NC3-65 (40′ height to 65′).…

Doing a quick internet search it looks like it might be pretty easy to change the zoning laws

However, there is a design review meeting
June 22, 2016 6:30pm
Seattle University
824 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Comm Bldg- Stuart T Rolfe Room

Please come and share your opinions

CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

Linda's Patio

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 31,000 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.

Homemade Lap Steel Guitar

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Capitol Hill Community Post | Northwest Film Forum and Three Dollar Bill Cinema present Queer Fan Nights!

To-the-Limit-1_webQUEER FAN NIGHTS!

Three Dollar Bill Cinema and Northwest Film Forum have teamed up for a Pride month series that will make you cheer with delight! It’s an eclectic mix of fan favorites, hosted by avid queer fans ready to share (and defend) their picks.

Kick off each night at 7:00 with a pre-show happy hour in the Film Forum lobby!

June 16th
Anna Nicole Smith: TO THE LIMIT
(Raymond Martino, U.S., 1995, 93 min)
Hosted by John Criscitello, artist and recent alumnus of the Film Forum holiday party’s exclusive Santa Claus program

Deadly ninjas, hot Vegas nights, CIA skullduggery, a coveted CD-ROM, and superstars Anna Nicole Smith and Joey Travolta fuse into a white-hot action spectacular that will take your senses TO THE LIMIT! Anna Nicole Smith’s first starring film role after being named Playboy’s Playmate of the Year!

June 23
(Douglas Sirk, U.S., 1959, 125 min)
Hosted by The Lady B, performer/activist

Soap opera-esque in the absolute best sense, Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life is one of the great melodramas of the ‘50s, steeped in the race and class politics of the era. The film follows two mother-daughter relationships as they develop over several years.

June 30
Eurovision: Iconic Song Performances
Hosted by Richard & Kevin, Three Dollar Bill Cinema members

Eurovision is the longest-running annual song competition in television history and one of TV’s most-watched non-sports programs. The glitzy stage design, pop-anthemic performances, flamboyant costuming and dancing are delightful, breathtakingly saccharine expressions of supranational exuberance.Imitation-of-Life-2_web06-30_Eurovision-1_web