City of Seattle seeks candidates for Community Involvement Commission

cic_800x350If you have “three to six” hours per month you can give toward helping “advise and guide our City departments to assess, improve, and develop authentic and thorough outreach and engagement to all residents,” the city’s newly forming Community Involvement Commission needs you:

The Community Involvement Commission will advise the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and other City departments on coordinated, Citywide outreach and engagement activities. Its goals are to:

  1. Provide advice on priorities, policies, and strategies related to equitable civic engagement and public participation in City decision-making processes. This includes the review of initiatives, strategies and proposals brought forward by the City, as well as ones identified by the Commission.

  2. Provide feedback on the development of City departments’ community involvement plans with a focus on implementing more equitable engagement strategies and identifying new ways to increase civic participation in City processes.

  3. Develop and periodically amend bylaws and a work plan that enable the Commission to organize itself, perform its work, and advance program and policy proposals consistent with its mission.

You have until March 1st to apply to be part of the first ever set of 16 volunteers for the commission.

“Don’t miss this opportunity to represent your community, your civic interest, and your neighborhood in telling the City how it can do a better job of reaching and engaging all community members in the City’s actions and decisions.” You can read more about the search for commission members here.

In November, CHS reported on Seattle’s plan to shift to the new commission in a bid to increase participation of underrepresented groups with local government.

In quest for diversity, Seattle now has a Community Involvement Commission

Capitol Hill Community Post | Where will the new Convention Center workers live?

"The Addition will add approximately 250,000 square feet of exhibition space, 125,000 square feet of meeting rooms and 60,000 square feet of ballroom space to the current Convention Center capacity," according to the WSCC

“The Addition will add approximately 250,000 square feet of exhibition space, 125,000 square feet of meeting rooms and 60,000 square feet of ballroom space to the current Convention Center capacity,” according to the WSCC

By Joel Sisolak and McCaela Daffern

The most expensive public works project in Seattle’s history is quietly heading toward City Council approval. Let’s hit pause and consider how the project will impact adjacent neighborhoods and how the developer should internalize costs that will otherwise fall on Seattle taxpayers, including the cost of housing the development’s own workforce.

In case you’ve missed it, the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) is slotted for a makeover to the tune of $1.6 billion dollars – an eye watering price tag bigger than Safeco and CenturyLink combined. It will reshape a large part of Seattle’s city center, result in four years or ongoing construction, disrupt downtown traffic, and permanently remove 1.28 acres of streets and alleyways to use by the public.

And the benefits are less than certain. WSCC claims that the addition will provide “a host of economic benefits, including as much as $240 million annually in visitor spending, as many as 3,900 direct and indirect jobs.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Renter Initiative, Entre Hermanos holding ‘housing justice’ movie night

Last summer, CHS reported on progress in easing the construction of backyard rentals to help combat Seattle’s affordability crisis. The progress has since ground to a halt. Wednesday, the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative and Latino LGBTQ nonprofit Entre Hermanos are teaming up for a movie night and discussion at 12th Ave’s Northwest Film Forum to sort out how the groups “can take action on backyard cottages and other housing justice campaigns” —

Housing Justice Movie Night-Quinceañera

This event was created in response to the recent decision by the Seattle hearing examiner to indefinitely delay an ordinance that would make it easier for homeowners to build backyard cottages (legally called Detached Accessory Dwelling Units or DADUs) like the home the main characters share in the movie. The hearing examiner decision came after a legal challenge by the Queen Anne Community Council, a neighborhood group that hired attorneys in order to delay these low cost housing options from coming to their neighborhood.

You can register for a “ticket” to the event here. The screening is free but organizers are asking for a $3 donation to help cover costs.

CHS wrote here last month on the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative’s goals for 2017.

Why is the Space Needle red this weekend? Seattle U 125

seeing red

The Space Needle and a host of Seattle landmarks will be bathed in red light starting at sundown Saturday. Seattle University is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

The school’s homecoming weekend will include the light display at the Needle along with other landmarks like Centurylink Field, the Great Wheel, the Columbia Tower, and Key Arena, where the men’s basketball team will take on Utah Valley.

Mayor Ed Murray, meanwhile, has proclaimed Feb. 2nd through the 5th as “Seattle University Weekend” in the city.

history_1931-back-to-broadwayYou can learn more about the anniversary on the school’s website. Its history section is a good read including an early chapter when the school barely survived the Great Depression:

President William M. Boland, S.J., rented a duplex on Roanoke East to serve as a makeshift “campus” for 21 college students. The high school eventually became Seattle Preparatory School, which still occupies the Interlaken site. After the stock market crash of 1929, President Walter J. Fitzgerald, S.J., provided steady leadership. While dreams of a permanent site waited, the college rode out the financial crisis in this makeshift space with a record 30 students.


Capitol Hill Community Post Update | Sen. Jamie Pedersen’s legislative update

From the Office of Senator Jamie Pedersen
unnamed-11Greetings! We are now a month into the 105-day legislative session. We have spent most of our time so far in committee, reviewing over 1,700 bills introduced so far. Our first major cutoff will come two weeks from today, giving us a much better idea of which ideas actually have support to proceed this year.

Amply Funding Public Schools

I continue to focus my energy on our top priority this session – increasing funding for our public schools. Senate Republicans finally released their education plan last Saturday. Although it makes major policy changes to how we run and fund public schools, they held no public hearing in the K-12 Education Committee. Instead, they held a Ways & Means Committee hearing on the 130-page bill Monday, passed the bill out of committee Tuesday, and passed it out of the Senate Wednesday on a 25-24 party-line vote. I spoke against the plan in committee and on the Senate floor. Here is why:

  • Compared to current school funding levels, the Republican plan would cause real harm for the 53,000 students in Seattle Public Schools. Families will pay $174 million more in property taxes and in return, our schools would receive a $30 million cut.
  • Across the state, the plan would result in fewer resources for 605,000 students – more than half of the 1.1 million K-12 students in our public schools.
  • The plan would result in larger class sizes, fewer school resources, lower teaching standards and a loss of local control.
  • The Republican plan fails to meet the Supreme Court’s order to provide ample funding for schools – the main objective of our work in Olympia this year.

House and Senate Democrats have released a plan that would lower class sizes, improve teacher compensation, and increase services offered to our students. Our plan will receive a public hearing on Monday in the House Appropriations Committee at 3:30 p.m.

Hope for terminally ill patients

I am also working on legislation that would give patients who are facing life-threatening diseases the ability to access investigational medications that have cleared initial safety testing. Similar “right to try” laws have already been enacted in 33 other states.

This bill gives hope to those who have run out of options. One of our neighbors on Capitol Hill brought the issue to my attention. She is a courageous mother of two elementary school kids, battling an aggressive form of breast cancer that has spread to her brain. After being told she had just months to live and facing numerous barriers to trying medicines that are still in development but could save her life, she has put her energy into making sure that she and others have access to those drugs. The bill (SSB5035) was unanimously approved by the Health Care Committee on Thursday and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 34,000 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. Continue reading

Seattle council member throws support behind I-5 lid

screen-shot-2015-12-15-at-4-44-19-pm-1The Lid I-5 group started 2017 with a financial boost in its push for a $1 million study of bridging the gap over the interstate between Capitol Hill and downtown. It also is getting some valuable political support. Seattle City Council member Sally Baghsaw’s District 7 covers downtown. In January, she added her voice off support in a call for studying the possible lid:

We can create a “public land make, not a land take” that could be available for affordable housing, more parks and green space, and private office space to help pay for it.  As other big cities have shown, this is one way we can create new real estate for public/private partnerships and make our Downtown greener and more Age-Friendly.

“I fully support Lid I-5 in District 7, and recognize this is a project that will be envisioned and completed in phases over the next decade(s),” Bagshaw writes.

The Lid I-5 group has proposed a $1 million lidding study as part of the public benefits package the City Council must decide on that will accompany the the massive $1.6 billion expansion of the Washington State Convention Center. Other important neighborhood projects are also lined up to be part of the package meant to offset the loss of public right of way from street/alley vacations involved in the expansion.

The Lid I-5 group says there is also growing momentum in City Hall behind its idea for a “short term” “proof-of-concept” lid project at Pine and Boren that would cost around $10 million to complete.

If you think lidding I-5 sounds too far fetched, Bagshaw, in her typical colloquial style, says, not so fast, buster.

“Visionary? You bet. Pie in the sky? No way,” she writes. “It’s what we need to increase green over gray and another way to make our city truly Age Friendly.”

You can learn more at

31+ — Bai Tong bringing Thai to 12th and Pike

00d0d_5vcdwnt1fey_600x450Make it 31+. Just as we put the cap on the roster of new bars and restaurants destined to open around Capitol Hill in 2017, there is one more to add to the list. And the new project will also put an empty Pike/Pine space back into motion.

Bai Tong Street Cafe is currently under construction at 12th and Pike in the space left empty when Boom Noodle closed last summer after a decade of shifting concepts by its tech-powered investors behind the Blue C sushi restaurants.

Bai Tong is also part of a larger restaurant family with three locations in Washington including Redmond, Tukwila, and Issaquah. Noi Lapangkura and JJ Chaiseeha’s family of restaurants also includes locations in Oregon and Hawaii.

UPDATE: Lapangkura tells us the business has come a long way since her family started in on Pacific Highway S in 1989.

“Bai Tong has always been a family place,” she tells CHS. “We think, with the demographics on Capitol Hill, this one will be different.”

Lapangkura, who got her masters at Seattle University and is familiar with what has been a booming Pike/Pine food and drink scene, says the “street” version of Bai Tong will bring some family favorites to Capitol Hill along with simpler rice and curry dishes along with a full bar. Expect late night hours on Fridays and Saturdays and a selection of quick, ready for pick-up and go offerings for nighttime quick eats.

The “elegant, authentic” addition to the E Pike and 12th Ave food scene will add to Capitol Hill’s already strong Thai presence including nearby Soi which debuted just blocks away in the summer of 2015 at 10th and Union. Meanwhile, another take on Thai opened in December in the old Bauhaus space on E Pine where the ghosts of the Capitol Club are also part of the scene at Sugar Hill.

Bai Tong is expected to open at 12th and Pike by April. You can learn more at

Capitol Hill Community Post | Councilmember Sawant: ‘Seattle’s Divestment from Wells Fargo is a Stunning Rebuke of Wall Street, Big Oil & the Billionaire Class’

From the Seattle City Council

SEATTLE – Councilmember Kshama Sawant, NoDAPL Seattle, and 350 Seattle celebrated unanimous Committee approval of Sawant’s bill to divest from Wells Fargo and adopt socially responsible banking practices. The legislation enables the City to divest from Wells Fargo, and establishes social justice as an important consideration when deciding what bank and other types of companies to use in the future.

Councilmember Sawant joined with organizers fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline to draft this legislation, with the specific intention of divesting from Wells Fargo, one of the pipeline’s primary financiers, and establishing the most rigorous banking standards allowed under state law.

Wells Fargo was recently caught defrauding customers by creating two million fake bank accounts, and was indicted in 2012 by the US Department of Justice for engaging in racial discrimination when it scandalously sold subprime loans to black and Latino households. The bank also is a principal financier of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which impugns native sovereignty and will be deeply destructive to the planet.

“Seattle’s divestment from Wells Fargo is a stunning rebuke of Wall Street, Big Oil, and the billionaire class,” Sawant said.

“Wells Fargo executives have shamelessly profited off climate change, environmental destruction, and the brazen, unapologetic discrimination and defrauding of millions of everyday working people. The CEO may have stepped aside, but not a single executive has been punished. Instead, 5,300 lower-level workers, many of whom were forced into involvement in Wells Fargo’s despicable practices, have been scapegoated,” she added.  “Thanks to the advocacy of thousands of activists and working class people, we’re going to hit Wells Fargo, the financial sector, and Big Oil where it hurts – their checkbook.”

“For five hundred years, Native peoples have fought back against genocide and resisted the destruction of our lands. This defiant movement against DAPL, begun by the Standing Rock Sioux, has united our tribes like never before. We are going to defeat this pipeline, continue to lead the fight to protect and better the Earth, and defeat Donald Trump,” said Millie Kennedy, local Indigenous leader.

“Millennials, both students and working class youth, aren’t going to stand idly by and let Wall Street and Big Oil destroy life as we know it. Climate change is real. We need a sustainable economy, we need it now, and it’s going to take mass movements to get us there. That’s why I am a socialist,” said Ezgi Eygi, Socialist Students leader, supporting the NoDAPL movement.

Full Council is scheduled to consider the Socially Responsible Banking legislation Monday, February 6 at 2 p.m.