About Bryan Cohen

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

As hundreds picket, Swedish pushes forward on major First Hill, Cherry Hill growth

(Image: TheDignityVirus.com)

Wednesday’s “thousand-member picket” targeted Swedish First Hill (Image: TheDignityVirus.com)

Calls for more nurses and the improved benefits to attract them echoed through Broadway Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of hospital workers, union organizers, and a handful of elected officials staged a picket outside Swedish Hospital’s First Hill campus.

The picket came one day after another round of negotiations ended without a contract deal between SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and Swedish, one of the largest Central Area employers and owned allied with Providence Health Services.

Staffing levels at the hospital are among the major sticking points in negotiations. Swedish-Providence is seeking to hire some 1,600 nurses, positions the hospital says it’s been unable to fill with qualified workers due to a nationwide nursing shortage.

SEIU members say the hospital is unwilling to offer a wage and benefit package that would attract those nurses despite the fact the hospital banked $110 million last year. In the meantime, hospital workers say low staffing levels are hurting patients and creating untenable working conditions.

Speaking before the crowd, Mayor Ed Murray said he was concerned about the strained relationship between Swedish and its workers and called on the hospital to quickly resolve the dispute. June Altaras, Swedish’s chief executive of acute care, told CHS she hoped a new round of negotiations would start sometime this month. Council members Mike O’BrienBruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, and Jean Godden were also in attendance to support picketing workers. Continue reading

Governor signs pot reform bill to ease zoning restrictions, streamline taxes

Marijuana freedom could spread on Capitol Hill under the new HB 2169 (Image: Alex Garland)

Marijuana freedom could spread on Capitol Hill under the new HB 2169 (Image: Alex Garland)

A city map from 2013 shows how the 1,000 foot buffer rule restricted most areas from I-502 shops.

A city map from 2013 shows how the 1,000 foot buffer rule restricted most areas from I-502 shops.

Recreational and medical marijuana taxes will fall under a single tax and zoning restrictions placed on I-502 shops could significantly ease under a reform enacted by Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday.

HB 2136, which the legislature passed last week, would allow cities and counties to significantly reduce the buffer rule that has kept recreational marijuana shops away from many dense, commercial areas like Pike/Pine. The current law states I-502 shops cannot be located within a 1,000 foot radius of parks, schools, and other specific gathering places. Localities could soon bring that buffer down to 100 feet under the new measure. We’re checking with the city to see how the buffer rule may change here.  Continue reading

Police seek tips in a Denny Blaine home invasion

suspSeattle Police are seeking information on an unidentified man suspected of breaking into a Denny Blaine house, tying up a woman inside, and stealing jewelry and cash.

The victim told police she awoke around 4 AM on June 20th with the man inside her bedroom at her house near 39th Ave and Lake Washington Blvd.

The suspect tied the woman up and demanded access to a safe. According to police, he fled the house in a white vehicle, possibly a Chevrolet.

Detectives developed a sketch of the suspect but have yet to identify the man, who the victim described as 5’10 with a medium build and had dark curly hair.

If you have any information on this incident, you can call SPD at (206) 684-5535.

‘Timeless’ Hugo House and Piecora’s developments sail through first design review

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Two high profile Capitol Hill development projects more or less glided through their first meeting before the East Design Review Board last Wednesday evening on their way to final reviews.

Equity Residential and architects at Ankrom Moisan showed off their plans to replace the old Piecora’s building with a 140 unit, six-story development that includes parking for 140 cars. The second project — a 90-unit, six story building across the street from Cal Anderson Park — will be replacing the Hugo House on 11th Ave and E Olive St. The project from developer Meriwether Partners and designed by Weinstein A+U has drawn the ire of at least one resident of a nearby condo.

The view from the street and inside, however, should be a welcome surprise to those who bemoan the prevalence of Hardie board siding and corrugated steel exteriors. Plans call for a full brick facade, and not just the pasted on variety. “A real brick building,”said architect Ed Weinstein, adding that it was the longtime property owners and Hugo House benefactors that insisted the building have a timeless look. Continue reading

Panel: Ending youth detention starts with making new 12th/Alder facility adaptable to other uses

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Conceptual sketch of the approved Children and Family Justice Center.

Controversial plans to replace the crumbling youth jail at 12th and Alder may be moving forward, but officials are already anticipating the day when it won’t be used for youth detention at all.

In a report reviewed by City Council members Monday, members of an expert panel said the best way to stem racial disparities in the new King County Children and Family Justice Center would be to work towards ending the practice of youth detention altogether. That means building a new facility that could one day serve other uses.

“In its place, government should focus on community-run and neighborhood-based alternatives for youth that are adequately resourced to address youth needs …” the report read. Continue reading

‘One of the last remaining large developable sites’ in Seattle hits market at 23rd and Union

Developments planned and in motion around 23rd and Union (Images: Kidder Mathews)

Developments planned and in motion around 23rd and Union (Images: Kidder Mathews)

You’ll have to call to find out an asking price, but 23rd and Union’s hallmark property is officially for sale. Last week, realtors for longtime MidTown Center owner Tom Bangasser released some slick marketing materials with sweeping aerial photos solely dedicated to selling the property.

“We have unprecedented interest around the world on this site,” said Jason Rosauer, partner at realtor Kidder Mathews. “I anticipate it will be a record setting price.”

(Image: Kidder Mathews)

(Image: Kidder Mathews)

The 106,000 square-foot MidTown property currently includes a downsized U.S. Post Office, a handful of small businesses, a liquor store, and Smash Putt (until July 31st, anyway). The materials call MidTown “one of the last remaining large developable sites” for sale in Seattle and make a big pitch for the block’s potential given its central location in the city:

For the first time in over 70 years, the MidTown Center property, one of the last remaining large developable sites in Seattle, WA, is on the market for sale. This offering includes more than two acres of flat land on a full city block in the center of Seattle.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Ada’s launches its own book collection through crowd-powered publisher Inkshares

IMG_6756The shelves inside Ada’s Technical Books are chock full of inspiration for innovation and experimentation, so it’s no surprise the shop itself has taken a few of those lessons to heart. From the lock picking classes that started at the old Harvard Ave location, to the cafe and coworking space that were added in the move to 15th Ave, Ada’s has made a habit of elevating the neighborhood bookshop game.

Now the bookseller is stepping into the realm of book publisher. Ada’s recently announced a partnership with crowd-powered publisher Inkshares to release books under The Ada’s Technical Books Collection.

“We’re looking for books we think are interesting and fit within our store,” said Ada’s events coordinator Alex Hughes.

In addition to being part of an Ada’s curated collection, writers will also get promotional support for their book and, of course, a place on Ada’s shelves. Continue reading

Mayor’s affordability task force asks for more time to finish plan that will include widespread up-zones

(Image: Dominic Arenas via Flickr)

(Image: Dominic Arenas via Flickr)

Members of the mayoral task force charged with finding concrete solutions to Seattle’s affordable housing crisis are seeking a two-week extension to wrap up their final recommendations.

It’s the second delay the Housing Affordability and Livibiliity Committee has asked for ahead of releasing a plan that one committee member says will include a recommendation for allowing bigger buildings across the city.

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill developer and committee member Maria Barrientos told CHS there were still a few ideological differences to work out to meet Mayor Ed Murray’s call for 20,000 income restricted units in the next decade.

Still, Barrientos said the committee has developed 10 to 12 key proposals as well as an additional 60+ recommendations. In the spirit of expanding affordability across the city, Barrientos said the group is proposing the city allow for higher buildings in all residential zones, including LR2 and LR3 — areas on Capitol Hill that have generated some of the most conflict over development as three-story apartment buildings are built alongside single-family homes.

“The biggest challenge is going to be the NIMBY attitudes in the neighborhoods,” Barrientos said. “People are going to have to get over that.” Continue reading

City Council advances $930 million Move Seattle levy with only minor tweaks

LevyMapFINAL-400x518-400x518Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed $930 million transportation levy made it through the City Council gauntlet relatively unscathed Tuesday. While council members added a handful of amendments to the Move Seattle plan (PDF), an amendment to slice the proposed levy by a third and replace it by other funding mechanisms failed to pass.

Council committee members unanimously advanced the bill to a full council vote on June 29th, teeing it up to appear on this year’s ballot. “A unanimous vote by the Council in committee sends a great signal to Seattle residents,” Murray said in a statement.

Murray rolled out his Move Seattle plan during a Capitol Hill event in March, calling for a roster of transportation projects to make Seattle’s streets safer and more efficient by 2024 and a property tax levy to pay for it. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Housing picked to operate light rail station’s 86-unit affordable housing site

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All 86 units planned for Site B-North will be below market rate. (Image: Gerding Edlen)

A prominent Capitol Hill nonprofit will be taking the lead role in developing an all-affordable housing building as part of the four site, mixed-used project that will one day surround Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station.

Master developer Gerding Edlen has selected Capitol Hill Housing to develop, own, and operate the seven story, 86-unit building. According to Gerding’s winning proposal, half of Site B-North’s units will be restricted to households making no more than 30% of the area median income. The other half will be made affordable to households at or below 60% of AMI. Initial plans call for a community center and a day care, as well as a rooftop deck and computer lab. Continue reading