About Ari Cetron

Ari is a Seattle-based writer and editor. Find out more about him at www.aricetron.com

Environmental nonprofit Nia Tero ready to put down roots with new Pike/Pine office

A nonprofit dedicated to helping indigenous people efficiently manage the environment is coming to Capitol Hill. The nonprofit Nia Tero looks to move into offices being renovated this summer at 501 E Pine.

The organization will work with indigenous people around the world to help them continue to act as stewards of their land.

“For millennia, indigenous peoples have thrived through connection with their territorial lands and waters. These connections between people and place have shaped societies that sustain some of the most vital natural systems on the planet. Nia Tero exists to support and amplify this guardianship through equitable partnerships with indigenous peoples to sustain and govern large-scale territories,” says the group’s website. Continue reading

25 years of Rudy’s Barbershop on Capitol Hill — and, why they called it Rudy’s to begin with

Eight million haircuts. Rudy’s, the Capitol Hill-based haircutting empire, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and the company estimates they’ve given more than 8 million haircuts in that time.

The first Rudy’s was opened in January, 1993 on E Pine, by friends Alex Calderwood, Wade Weigel and David Petersen. According to company lore, the trio was looking to make a place where they could hang out with their friends.

In those grunge-era days, Capitol Hill was a very different place in terms of the demographics, and sheer numbers of people, but that was starting to change. Rudy’s opened, along with now-stalwart Linda’s, and once-beloved Bauhaus coffee. Those three were one factor in changing the neighborhood into the one we recognize now, said Danny Segal, director of marketing and brand for Rudy’s. Or at least they were a factor in changing it into the neighborhood we used to recognize, but now don’t anymore, depending on how long you’ve lived here. Continue reading

Workshop will try to get community priorities out in front of coming, taller 15th Ave E redevelopment

15th Ave E from above

By the time the bulldozers show up, it’s way too late to have any impact on how a new building might look.

So a pair of architecture firms located on 15th Avenue East are planning to get ahead of any development on the street they call home. Board & Vellum and Environmental Works are hosting a design workshop, open to the public, to discuss what 15th Ave E could look like as redevelopment happens.

Thus far in the recent building boom, 15th has largely been spared much redevelopment, save for the old Chutney’s site being replaced by the Stream 15 building in 2013. And the lack of change hasn’t just been during the current boom. Chris Parker of Board & Vellum notes that in going back through archived photos, the neighborhood looks largely the same as it has for decades.

“It hasn’t changed much since the 1950s,” he said. Continue reading

Here’s how Mandatory Housing Affordability might open up a new horizon in Pike/Pine preservation: 8 stories

11th at Pine’s Richmark Label building — primed for preservation-boosted redevelopment

You don’t see many eight-story buildings in Seattle, but they may start sprouting up in Pike/Pine and other places around town in the coming years. The reason has to do with the way affordable housing will interact with historic preservation.

Eight stories is an odd height. Under the Seattle building code, buildings up to seven stories can be built from wood. Eight or higher, and the building needs more durable materials such as concrete and steel. The more durable materials also make construction cost considerably more, to the point that eight-story buildings aren’t really profitable. Continue reading

Seattle set to give Central District its own design review board

In an effort to preserve and grow the historically Black culture of the Central District, Seattle is creating a new Design Review Board for the area. The proposal passed out of committee April 4, and will  go before the Seattle City Council for a vote scheduled for Monday afternoon, April 9th. UPDATE 3:20 PM: In a unanimous vote, the council approved Rob Johnson’s legislation creating the new guidelines and board. Johnson thanks Central Area activists for their  “several decades of work” to make the new process possible. “I’m really proud to be playing a small part here in the end to help get this across the finish line,” Johnson said.

“The creation of a Central Area Design Review District and Board will support equitable and inclusive community engagement and process specific for those most impacted by displacement, maximize the effectiveness of the Central Area Design Guidelines, and help guide future development to respond to the unique Central Area historical character and identity,” according to a report prepared explaining (PDF) the legislation.

The proposal sponsored by Council member and planning and land use committee chair Rob Johnson (District 4) would make a new, eighth design review district by carving it from Capitol Hill’s East District Review Board and the Southeast district. Continue reading

Seattle U’s Center for Science and Innovation will give school new presence on 12th Ave

The number of science and technology majors at Seattle University is surging, and the school is planning a new building to house them all. The project will continue the school’s recent trend of developing its edges and creating new buildings that connect more solidly to the surrounding neighborhood blocks.

There are about 1,200 students studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields at Seattle U right now, said Michael Quinn, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. Quinn expects that number to grow to nearly 1,600 by 2023, about double from the 900 students they’d had in 2009. Continue reading

City Hall coming to Washington Hall to talk Mandatory Housing Affordability zoning on Hill, in CD

This week, Central Seattle residents will get a chance for an up-close look at how proposed zoning changes will affect this part of the city.

As part of a citywide effort to address housing affordability, the city has embarked on a wide-ranging plan that would allow developers to build extra density in exchange for including affordable housing in their projects or making a payment toward an affordable housing fund. It’s an outgrowth of the HALA program began under then-Mayor Ed Murray, and this portion of it is continuing under a different acronym: MHA, or mandatory housing affordability.

Citywide Open House featuring Districts 3+7 MHA Maps

A City Council committee is digging into the issue and as a part of the process, they’re engaging in a series of open house meetings across the city. Next on the list is a joint meeting for council District 3 (Capitol Hill, the Central District and environs) and District 7 (Queen Anne, Magnolia, Downtown, South Lake Union and the International District). Continue reading

While Seattle churns on earthquake retrofit plans, Capitol Hill school set for seismic upgrades

E Mercer’s Lowell Elementary is lined up for summer seismic work

Saturday afternoon around 3:35 PM, a magnitude 2.7 earthquake sent a little jolt of reminder rippling out of South Seattle. The city has some seismic work to do.

On Capitol Hill, the next round of work begins this summer as Lowell Elementary School is scheduled for major seismic updates this summer while the city tries to figure out what to do about other brick buildings around town. Continue reading

Progress in Olympia: Bump stock ban, conversion therapy ban, Net Neutrality, more

Olympia! (Image: leg.wa.gov)

The public records bill approved in Olympia has received outsized attention this legislative session. We heard here from two of the three 43rd District legislators who joined with their counterparts across the state and the aisle to approve it. But there has also been progress this session on some key issues Capitol Hill voters care about.

The Washington Legislature’s 2018 session is headed to a close March 9. Don’t expect things to drag on through the summer as they did last year.

Even-numbered (non-budget) years tend to end on time, largely because there are no contentious budget battles. This is by design, even years are election years, and legislators are prohibited from collecting campaign contributions during the session. Another larger change this year is the return to one-party rule. The state Senate had been in Republican hands for a few years. That changed after a special election in November gave Democrats control of both chambers, along with the governership.

Dozens of bills of interest to Seattle and Capitol Hill went through the process this year, some look like they’ll become law, others may need to percolate a bit longer. Below, CHS takes a look at some of this session’s progress. With more news from the legislature breaking today, let us know if there some Olympia happenings we missed.

  • Bump Stock Ban: Bump Stocks are accessories that allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire as if it was an automatic rifle, made famous after the Las Vegas massacre. A familiar script ensued where lots of people made noise about getting rid of them, but nothing much happened. Then after Parkland suddenly gun control came back into the discussion. A bump stock ban was the only measure to get any traction in this state this year. The Legislature voted to ban the purchase or manufacture of bump stocks as of July of this year, and to declare them illegal to own as of July 2019. Capitol Hill’s Senator, Jaime Pedersen (D-43) was a co-sponsor of the senate bill. Both of the neighborhood’s representatives, Nicole Macri (D-43) and Frank Chopp (D-43) voted in favor of the ban. Continue reading

Durkan’s Seattle Promise would make college universal for city’s students

(Image: Seattle Central)

The opportunity for two years of post-high school education is set to be become universal in the city under the Seattle Promise college tuition program to be fully unveiled by Mayor Jenny Durkan Monday night at the Central District’s Garfield High School.

Currently, the privately funded 13th Year Promise program offers graduates of Cleveland, Chief Sealth, and Rainier Beach high schools one year of free tuition (45 credits) at South Seattle College. All graduates are eligible for the program, regardless of academic record or income level. The program also offers the students support in college readiness, which begins during their senior year of high school.

“Seattle’s young people are strong, smart and deserve every opportunity to chase their dreams,” Durkan said in a statement on the plan, calling it “our progressive values made real.”

“We must remove barriers and make sure more of today’s and tomorrow’s jobs go to our kids,” Durkan said.

Durkan’s plan expands the program to include graduates of Garfield, Ingraham, and West Seattle high Schools. These students will be able to matriculate at the branch of state community college closest to them. Garfield students, for example, will be able to go to Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central. As with the existing program, it will be open to any student, regardless of academic record or income level. Students who are undocumented will also be permitted to enroll. Continue reading