About Bryan Cohen

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

Capitol Hill Block Party 2016: More sun outside, more neighborhood stuff outside the fences

The crowd during a sunny CHBP 2014. (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

CHBP-GuideMap-2016Capitol Hill Block Party has expanded its inside offerings for 2016 — an indoor panel discussion at Grims kicks off the festival Friday followed by a slate of indoor shows — but unlike last year, the sun will be shining on the streets of Pike/Pine.

With temperatures reaching the mid 70s through the weekend, this year’s forecast looks ideal for three full days of outdoor music. Nobody is likely happier than Block Party producer Jason Lajeunesse, who recently told his only regrets in 10 years of putting on CHBP were the times it rained. Continue reading

‘You have to start somewhere’ — Seattle looks at bias-free policing law

The investigation of William Wingate's arrest showed the importance of some of the new

The investigation of William Wingate’s arrest showed the importance of examining past statement and records of officers accused of biased policing (Images: CHS)

How can you legislate racism? It is a question at the heart of any effort to eliminate biased policing and one that Seattle King County NAACP president Gerald Hankerson was quick to raise Wednesday during a City Council committee meeting on the subject.

The answer came from City Council president Bruce Harrell: “You have to start somewhere.” Over the past year, Harrell and his staff have been working on a series of measures to codify bias-free policing practices in Seattle. On Wednesday, Harrell unveiled the basics of his plan.

Central to the proposal is making permanent the bias-free policing requirements laid out by a federal monitor as part of Seattle Police Department’s federal consent decree over excessive use of force practices. Collecting demographic data on police interactions is particularly crucial, Harrell said. Continue reading

Here’s what comes next for Capitol Hill Station development

As trains swiftly carry thousands of passengers through Capitol Hill’s subway station every day, the process to develop the area above ground continues to inch forward.

Next week, the Sound Transit Board is expected to approve a sale agreement for one parcel, known as Site B-North. The vote during the July 28th meeting will pave the way for Capitol Hill Housing to start designing and building an 86-unit affordable housing project. In August, the board is expected to approve land leases for the three other sites so developer Gerding Edlen can move forward with its plan to build 100,000 square feet of commercial, housing, and community space.

Screen-Shot-2015-06-22-at-11.12.06-PM-600x406Sound Transit has not yet publicly released the lease agreements or the preliminary agreements signed earlier this month, saying that it may compromise negotiations with other developers should the Gerding deal fall through. The agency, which purchased the Broadway sites between E Denny Way and E John and demolished them in 2009 to build the underground station, has previously said the parcels were worth around $25 million and that Gerding was aiming for a 75-year deal to lease the properties.

Members of the Capitol Hill Champion group have been planning and anticipating the milestone for years after helping to forge a development agreement that included community benefits like space for a farmers market and affordable housing. “It’s exciting we’re finally getting to this point,” said Champion co-chair Brie Gyncild Continue reading

Dog sickened after eating rat poison in Cal Anderson Park

A Capitol Hill dog was sickened Tuesday after eating what appears to be rat poison left near the playground in Cal Anderson Park.

Eva Gisellse tells CHS she was walking her dog Data in the park around 6 PM on Monday when the blue heeler ate an unknown substance. After Data became sick Tuesday morning, Gisellse retrieved the green substance and took her dog to Urban Animal at Broadway and E Thomas.

An Urban Animal spokesperson told CHS the substance was almost certainly rat poison, but veterinarians are awaiting final test results for confirmation. Thankfully, Data is recovering in her Capitol Hill apartment.

“We recommend that anyone walking a dog in the area makes sure it does not eat anything off the ground,” said Jen Pohlman, operations manager at Urban Animal. Of course, the same goes for humans.

UPDATE (7/20): After being notified of the incident, Seattle Parks had its pest control contractor check the roughly 20 rat poison traps that were set around Cal Anderson Park earlier this year. According to Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch, there was no evidence of tampering on the traps, which are designed to keep poison away from dogs and children. “All of the traps were locked and all of the traps have been regularly serviced,” she said.

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What would the 43rd District candidates do to help small business?

Seattle small businesses gained an unexpected ally last year when socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant proposed a rent control law for commercial tenants. Council member Lisa Herbold followed-up recently with an idea to preserve legacy businesses.

Underlying the proposals were a handful of struggling small business owners along 23rd Ave who pushed for, and ultimately won, city assistance to help them weather a massive road contraction project.

Both ideas may require help from the state Legislature to get it done (although Sawant contends commercial rent control could be accomplished without lifting the state ban on residential rent controls). The eight state rep candidates running to fill Rep. Brady Walkinshaw’s seat in the 43rd District differ widely on their opinions of such measures. Continue reading

What the 43rd District candidates would do to bolster civil rights, affordability, and equity in Seattle

Ballots are coming your way this week for the state’s August 2nd primary. Eight candidates seeking to represent the 43rd District in Olympia, but only the two top vote-getters in the primary will advance to the general election in November. The 43rd District includes neighborhoods between Madison Ave and NE 75th St, including Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Madison Park. Saturday, we found the candidates hard at work explaining their views at a forum hosted by the Coalition of Immigrants Refugees and Communities of Color

Ballots are coming your way this week for the state’s August 2nd primary. Eight candidates seeking to represent the 43rd District in Olympia, but only the two top vote-getters in the primary will advance to the general election in November. The 43rd District includes neighborhoods between Madison Ave and NE 75th St, including Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Madison Park. Saturday, we found the candidates hard at work explaining their views at a forum hosted by the Coalition of Immigrants Refugees and Communities of Color

As hundreds gathered in downtown Seattle last week to protest the killings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, Andre Taylor was walking through the crowd handing out flyers on Initiative 873.

Since the day his brother Che Taylor was shot and killed by Seattle Police in February, Taylor has been working to get the measure on the ballot that aims to make it easier to prosecute police for killing people in the line of duty. Specifically, the initiative would amend RCW 9A.16.040, which holds one of the highest standards in the country for prosecuting police misconduct.

A public officer or peace officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable pursuant to this section.

Candidates for the 43rd District House seat all agree: Washington state needs I-873. But the candidates have differing views on how best to address societal issues around last week’s violence, civil rights, and equity. And, because it’s Seattle 2016, much of the discussion comes down to affordability and displacement.

View latest results here

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Capitol Hill’s outlaw bike-powered pot delivery service is shutting down

winterlifeAfter three improbable years, Capitol Hill’s marijuana delivery service is putting the brakes on its bike-powered co-op. Club Raccoons is still taking orders, but the co-op’s organizer says the operation will grind to a halt sometime this summer.

With an active Twitter presence and daily menu postings on Craigslist, the Raccoons made headlines in 2013 for openly advertising pot delivery that was as easy as ordering a pizza. It was also illegal, according to law enforcement officials. Continue reading

Developers finally reach key milestone in Capitol Hill Station retail, housing project

Screen-Shot-2015-04-21-at-2.03.07-PM-600x7811-600x781Developers behind the retail and housing project that will surround Capitol Hill Station have reached a long awaited milestone towards starting construction.

CHS has learned that Gerding Edlen has signed an agreement with Sound Transit that lays out, among other things, the terms of a $25 million land lease for the project site along Broadway between E Denny Way and E John.

In March, a representative for the Portland-based developer told CHS the two sides were “really close” to signing a so-called term sheet. The preliminary agreement sets the terms for Gerding Edlen to lease three sites from Sound Transit and purchase the fourth, where Capitol Hill Housing will build an 86-unit affordable housing development.

“It took more than a year for them to negotiate the term sheet, in large part because structuring a lease instead of a purchase and sale proved complicated,” said Brie Gyncild of the Capitol Hill Champion, a community group that has worked for years to insert neighborhood priorities into the project.

Sound Transit has said the land was worth around $25 million and that Gerding Edlen was aiming for a 75-year deal to lease the properties. Continue reading

Garage, Capitol Hill’s pool hall and bowling alley, turns 20


Garage’s original pool hall and 2003 bowling addition on the left. (Images: Garage)

Even before the first rounds of pool and bowling were played at Garage, ball games were essential to start of the Broadway bar and restaurant celebrating its 20th anniversary this month on Capitol Hill.

The first was a 1994 charity softball game where Alex Rosenast met Mike Bitondo. Rosenast, already a successful Seattle club owner, would later ask the inexperienced, recent college graduate to manage the new pool hall he was opening on Capitol Hill.

The second came eight years later with a pair fortunate seats at SafeCo Field. It was 2002 when Bitondo and Rosenast were sitting down at a Mariners game and realized the man sitting directly in front of them was the property owner of the building adjacent to the Garage, then just a restaurant and pool hall. Rumor had it the owner was preparing to sell the auto-row era building — then home to a fish tank wholesaler — to an office supply chain store. Continue reading

#SeaHomeless: seven months after Seattle declared a homeless state of emergency

Seven months into Seattle’s declared state of emergency on homelessness, advocates, public officials, and people living on the streets focused Wednesday on the major hurdles that continue to face the city and highlighted some of the more promising solutions.

Sleeping between graffiti

To alleviate the cycles of crisis that frequently trap people on the street, experts often tout the importance of housing first policies. Mayor Ed Murray said a project now getting underway on First Hill would do just that. On Wednesday, Murray celebrated the groundbreaking of Plymouth Housing Group’s 7th and Cherry building.

“Time and again, when we are able to get people into permanent supportive housing like this, it is the most effective way to help them overcome the underlying causes of homelessness,” Murray said.

Early intervention, prevention, and housing first were common themes also heard Wednesday inside the chambers of the King County Council. City Council member Sally Bagshaw and King County Council member Jeanne Kohl-Welles convened a special joint committee meeting to discuss homelessness and opioid addiction across the region. Continue reading

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