About Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is a CHS reporter. Reach him at chasecohen@gmail.com and @bchasesc

Capitol Hill developer will match your $10K donation to the Lid I-5 campaign

A heads-up to any wealthy fans of the idea to build a lid over I-5 near Capitol Hill: Local developer Mike Malone will now match your single $10,000 donation to the Lid I-5 campaign.

A tall order, yes, but serious proponents of the plan say there is much more organizing and designing to be done to keep the momentum going. So far the group has raised $22,000 to hold a public feedback session and to hire a strategy consultant. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Vaudeville trailer-turned-vintage shop has gone missing in Georgetown — UPDATE: Found

13495224_10153436419586157_8178400059656963590_nCapitol Hill Vaudeville is not only Ferdous Ahmed’s livelihood, the 1977 Airstream trailer-turned-vintage shop is a roving museum of Seattle history.

Last week the 40-foot silver camper went missing from a residential street in Georgetown.

UPDATE (6/29): The trailer has been found. Ahmed tells CHS a police officer found the trailer abandoned on a road in Kitsap County Wednesday morning. The trailer is damaged but towable, Ahmed said. He did not yet know what was left of his inventory. In the meantime, Ahmed is looking for leads on a more permanent and secure place to park his business.

Original report: The missing mobile shop contained the bulk of Ahmed’s meticulously curated collection, including beaver fur hats, bowler hats, walking sticks, Victorian-era coats, two Victrola record players, and countless pieces of Seattle memorabilia and vintage photographs. Sadly, Ahmed said none of it was insured.

“The theme of my trailer was preserving old Seattle,” Ahmed told CHS over the phone while hanging posters in Georgetown about the trailer. “I can’t put a price on it.” Continue reading

Council member O’Brien wants Central Co-op to anchor Capitol Hill Station development

Favorites-1-of-4-1-600x400Council member Mike O’Brien has made an unexpected endorsement, not for a political candidate, but for a Capitol Hill grocer.

In a letter to the developer of the four-site retail and housing project that will one day surround the Capitol Hill Station, the District 6 rep expressed his support for Central Co-op to become the development’s anchor tenant over Portland-based New Seasons Market. Both grocers are vying to occupy the future prominent retail space on Broadway, poised to be an extremely high-trafficked site given the thousands of light rail riders who are already moving through the block daily.

Members of the 16th and E Madison co-op announced in April to pursue a second location in the “transit orientated development” following reports that developer Gerding Edlen was in talks with New Seasons.

A group of labor organizations and Council District 3 rep Kshama Sawant previously voiced concerns about an “anti-union climate” at New Seasons stores. Citing Central Co-op’s early implementation of a $15 minimum wage and “spirit of sustainability,” O’Brien said the Capitol Hill-born grocer would be a better fit for the neighborhood.

“I was in the room when they announced their desire to pursue the TOD space,” O’Brien said in his letter. “I was inspired by the energy and excitement of hundreds of people, all of whom are owners of the business, turning their energy towards a common goal and vision.” Continue reading

U-Link construction workers sue Sound Transit contractor over discrimination


Workers boring the U-Link tunnel in 2012. (Image: CHS)

Three African American construction workers who helped build the Capitol Hill light rail tunnels during 2011-2012 say supervisors gave skilled minority laborers menial tasks, denied overtime based on race, and were openly hostile to black workers.

The allegations were made in a civil lawsuit filed in a Seattle federal court earlier this month against Traylor Brothers, a company that had formed a joint venture with Frontier-Kemper to bore the the U-Link twin tunnels between Capitol Hill and the University of Washington stations. Continue reading

Rooftop restaurant and ‘marketplace’ planned for 7-story Melrose/Pine development

unnamedIn a city that loves a good view, a seven-story high rooftop restaurant on the precipice of Capitol Hill overlooking downtown sounds like a no brainer. Connected to a ground floor “marketplace,” developers behind a planned project at Pine and Melrose are hoping to make a staggering addition to a burgeoning part of the neighborhood.

Plans from SolTerra developers call for a tiered mixed-used building to rise up where a parking lot now stands, and include 70 residential units, a top floor restaurant, and ground floor retail. A facade made of sloping terraces at Esker — a term for a ridge — are envisioned to give residents outdoor spaces with commanding views over downtown while dampening the roar of I-5 below.

“We want to take advantage of the views and Seattle doesn’t have a ton of rooftop hangout spots,” said SolTerra president Brian Heather. “Rather than just put this monolith there, we wanted something that would gracefully greet you as you come up the hill.”

For years, a parking lot at Pine and Melrose has served as the rather drab gateway to Capitol Hill from downtown. Continue reading

Study highlights pedestrian mobility ‘d’ohs’ around Capitol Hill Station


Utility equipment blocks the crosswalk path to the Capitol Hill Station. (Image: David Seater, Central Seattle Greeways)

U-Link light rail service made it possible to effortlessly glide beneath Capitol Hill, but accessing the Broadway station above ground can still be a challenge for anybody. For someone in a wheelchair, some routes are impossible. Sidewalks obstructed by trash cans and utility equipment, drivers making dangerous turns into crosswalks, and awkwardly aligned sidewalk ramps are just a few of the access issues identified in a study of intersections surrounding Capitol Hill Station.

In February, Central Seattle Greenways and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways conducted an access audit of the subway station before it opened March. The analysis looked at five intersections around the station and how they ranked in three areas: street crossing safety, obstructions in crosswalks and along sidewalks, and sidewalk capacity. The intersections included: Broadway and E Olive Way, Broadway and E Denny Way, Broadway and Thomas, Harvard and E Olive Way, and 10th and E John.Map-1024x669

Continue reading

Youth shelter’s offer to buy Mt. Zion property mired in church infighting

IMG_5552-600x450Members and officials at an iconic Seattle church remain at odds over what to do with a property currently home to Capitol Hill’s only youth and young adult homeless shelter. While congregants at Mount Zion Baptist Church have reportedly voted down the latest offer to sell its 19th and Pine “annex” property, church officials do not appear ready to walk away from a deal.

Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets has been leasing its 19th and Pine home from Mt. Zion Baptist Church since 2014. Earlier this year the nonprofit offered to buy the property, in-part so it could expand to the building’s third floor where several dorm-style apartments are now being used for storage. PSKS was hoping to take over by August, but that timeline now appears to be shot. Continue reading

43rd District Dems endorse Macri for state rep, Walkinshaw for Congress

More than 100 members of the 43rd District Democrats gathered Tuesday night to endorse candidates in a handful of statewide and legislative races, including candidates running to represent Capitol Hill in Olympia and Washington D.C.

In the race for the 7th Congressional District, State Rep. Brady Walkinshaw easily walked away with the group’s endorsement, earning 73% of the vote over State Sen. Pramila Jayapal.

“This district is responsible for what allowed my husband and I to be married,” Walkinshaw said.

After falling less than one point short of earning the endorsement on the first round of voting, homeless housing advocate Nicole Macri was endorsed for the 43rd District house seat on a second vote. ““I have been at the forefront of the movement to provide housing first for homeless,” Macri said. Macri is the only woman in the race and picked up the endorsement of trans activist Danni Askini after she suspended her candidacy last month.

Scott Forbes, a longtime 43rd District Democrat organizer, garnered 27% of the vote while Seattle attorney Dan Shih took 25%.  Continue reading

Seattle mayor to activate emergency operations center for Pride along with stepped up patrols

Mayor Ed Murray said his increased public presence on Capitol Hill over the past week was intended to send a clear message: “We can’t be afraid.” As a longtime Capitol Hill resident and Seattle’s first openly gay mayor, Murray has struck a cautious but defiant tone as the city heads into this weekend’s Pride celebration in the wake of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

“There is a lot of grief and a certain amount of fear out there,” Murray told CHS “I thought it was important to be with folks in LGBT bars.”

In a first for Seattle Pride, Murray will activate the city’s Emergency Operations Center, which allows increased coordination between city agencies. Murray said it was part of the extra precautions the city is taking in the wake of the Orlando tragedy that left 50 dead. 

(Image: Kate Clark)

(Image: Kate Clark)

Continue reading

Renters: Capitol Hill’s silent majority is organizing

100 “building ambassadors” needed for Capitol Hill renter summit in September

Since renters on Capitol Hill are transient and apathetic to city affairs, their concerns are less worthy of consideration when crafting public policy — or so the theory goes.

The message is one that Capitol Hill EcoDistrict director Joel Sisolak says is internalized by many renters, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy of disengagement. A new organizing effort by the neighborhood sustainability organization is trying to change that.

Capitol Hill Renter Initiative seeks to amplify the mostly dormant voices of Capitol Hill renters and insert their priorities into the city’s ongoing housing policy debates. Rather than fight back against some developer-homeowner agenda, Sisolak said the EcoDistrict wants to encourage renter identity as a way into local politics.

“We’re really interested in getting renters into the public process,” Sisolak said. “That includes neighborhood discussions around land use and affordability” Continue reading