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Justin is publisher of CHS. You can reach him at chs@capitolhillseattle.com or call/txt (206) 399-5959.

Reports of the smell of smoke on Capitol Hill as wildfires burn miles away

"Out at the #ChelanComplex fire line thanking firefighters for their hard work. #ThankAFireFighter #WAwildfire " (Image: @GovInslee)

“Out at the #ChelanComplex fire line thanking firefighters for their hard work. #ThankAFireFighter #WAwildfire ” (Image: @GovInslee)

With a summer rain storm blowing into the region from the Pacific, people were reporting an odd but familiar smell in the air on Capitol Hill Thursday night — smoke, apparently from Eastern Washington beyond the Cascades.

Reports are also coming in from other neighborhoods.

In at least one instance, Seattle Fire has been called out to investigate but found nothing. Others report that their building fire alarms have been set off by the smoke — though that could also have been coincidence.

There were no major fires being responded to in Seattle as of 11:30 PM.

Earlier in the day, Senator Maria Cantwell was at Seattle University for a hearing on wildfires burning across Washington State and the west. One of the largest blazes near Chelan is more than 150 miles away from Seattle.

UPDATE: California?

UPDATE x2: A fire near Shelton — less than 100 miles away — could also be a culprit.

CHS Crowd Wisdom Poll — When will First Hill Streetcar service begin?

Last we heard in July, SDOT said “the start date is still not fixed.” There’s not much to go on but small clues here and there — an uptick in social media activity, for one — indicate we just might finally maybe be getting close. CHS kind of forgets why we were excited about the new connection to the International District and Pioneer Square in the first place. Now it’s mostly just about finally getting the trams out of the barn. So let’s turn it over to the collective wisdom of CHS readers — when, indeed, will First Hill Streetcar service begin?

Create your own user feedback survey
View the latest results

We’ve also asked SDOT, of course. We’ll let you know what we hear back.

CHS Pics | Why are you topless in Cal Anderson?

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

With reporting by Alex Garland
Last Sunday, Seattle’s major media salivated over coverage of Go Topless Day events in other cities around the country — and the world — but skipped over a small gathering right here on Capitol Hill.

Getting partially nude in the middle of Cal Anderson to show “women have the same constitutional right that men have to go bare-chested in public” (and with the blessings of “spiritual leader” Rael), a few women and their male supporters exercised their freedom in the summer sun Sunday.

“If I should cover up, make everyone cover up. Gender equality is very important,” Kaleena Anderson told CHS. She made the trip from Bremerton for the event. While breastfeeding at a salon, Anderson said she had someone cover her and her baby physically with a salon drape. “It’s your issue not mine,” she said.

“There’s worse things in the world to focus on than who’s showing their nips,” Kayla Goullaud told CHS.

The organizer of Sunday’s event who identified himself as Joe M — in the Hard Rock t-shirt, above, told CHS the group decided to move the event to “a more friendly location” and chose Cal Anderson after being hassled by police last year in Westlake Park.



Blotter | QFC employee maces champagne shoplift suspect

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • QFC melee: The Broadway Market QFC has been the scene for several brazen, sometimes violent shoplifting incidents this summer — an August 12th melee in which a suspect accused of trying to steal a bottle of champagne was pepper sprayed by a store employee may have been the unfortunate peak. Police were called to the store in the 400 block of Broadway E around 11 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 1.42.56 PMOther witnesses corroborated the employee’s account, according to SPD’s report. A person who captured the scene on camera also showed an image to the responding officer clearly showing the suspect holding the bottle. According to report, the suspect was placed under arrest, taken to East Precinct, and allowed to wash out his eyes from the pepper spray attack. He was booked into jail for investigation of harassment.
  • Pratt Park jitters: With attention on recent gun and gang violence around the East Precinct and near-nightly reports of gunfire in the area, a large group in a Central District park brought out Seattle Police Tuesday afternoon. According to East Precinct radio dispatches, an officer reported a group of 30 to 40 people gathering in Pratt Park around 4 PM. After a call went out for gang units to respond the area, the situation was quickly cleared up after police found out the crowd as actually part of a rap video being filmed in the park. Continue reading

Burger joint Two Doors Down opens on brother Bottleneck’s E Madison block

The upstairs bar

The upstairs bar

Here’s a trend a hyperlocal community news site can get behind. Erin Nestor’s new burger joint Two Doors Down is now open… just two doors down from her Bottleneck Lounge.

CHS reported on Nestor’s new E Madison project earlier this summer as the bar owner passed along her lease on E Olive Way’s Tommy Gun to focus her efforts on the cool old building home to the Bottleneck just down the hill from 23rd and Madison. Nestor told CHS her Bottleneck regulars started having families, so she and her partner in business and in life Rebecca Denk decided to open a family-friendly burger joint.

But it’s not all kiddie menus. Two Doors Down has overhauled the former home to the faded glory of Philadelphia Fevre into a two-level burger joint with a new upstairs bar boasting 20 taps with an array of ciders and a gluten free Grapefruit IPA from Ghostfish Brewing. Hey kids, you can also get Crater Lake root beer on draft.Parting shot Cold_Beer

Continue reading

Capitol Hill in Transition… the movie

Here, through the lenses The Advanced Digital Media Class for Teens at 12th Ave’s Photo Center NW, is another look at a changing Capitol Hill. Nice work, kids.

Capitol Hill in Transition from Advanced Digital Media for Teens on Vimeo.

Photographic Center Northwest located in Seattle, Washington offers teen workshops that help youth advance their creative skills in photography and digital media. The Advanced Digital Media Workshop offers teens the chance to create a multimedia piece where they use their photographic skills to tell a story.

In this particular class, our multimedia project explored the changes happening on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington. Capitol Hill has long been considered the heart of Seattle’s alternative culture and lifestyles, but with a mass population increase and influx of new business the landscape is rapidly transforming.

Through the use of photography, video, and audio skills gained in the workshop; the students created the multimedia piece, Capitol Hill in Transition, which looks at the changing cultural demographics and economics sweeping the area.

Instructor: Bethanie Mitchell
Videographer: Peter Kubiniec
Photographers: Jack Sarlls, Phoebe Metzger, and Johanna Mergener
Audio: Phoebe Metzger

Capitol Hill food+drink | Project from The Lodge Sports Grille lined up for Charlie’s old space on Broadway

(Images: The Lodge Sports Grille)

(Images: The Lodge Sports Grille)

The mystery of the new tenant lined up for the longtime Broadway home of Charlie’s appears to have been solved.

According to a person familiar with the deal, The Lodge Sports Grille is in the middle of a refurbishment of the space that was home to Ken Bauer’s legendary Capitol Hill restaurant for nearly 40 years before its closure this summer.

CHS wrote about the speculation surrounding the space as a new tenant was lined up and work began to spruce up the dusty old Charlie’s surroundings. “There will be something good coming out in the next 30 days,” building owner Johnny Limantzakis told CHS.

Limantzakis nor the Lodge has confirmed the deal with CHS. We’ll update if we hear back. UPDATE: General manager Ben Rhodes said his restaurants are happy to be part of what comes next in the Charlie’s space and that the new project will be loyal to the space’s past. The restaurant won’t be a “Lodge Sports Grille,” however. We’ll have to wait to find out what the name will be closer to opening — definitely before the end of the year, Rhodes said.

Other details are also under wraps for now but Rhodes said the hope is to be as true as possible to Charlie’s past. “We’re not going to try to reinvent the wheel,” Rhodes said. “Maybe a spoke or two.”

Original report: A Broadway location will be The Lodge Sports Grille’s seventh in the Seattle area. It will next open a new grille in Greenwood, currently under construction. The small chain has spread rapidly from its start in Mukilteo:

The Lodge Sports Grille is a family run business and all that that implies. It started in early 2007, as cliche as it sounds, on a napkin over cocktails at a waterfront restaurant in Mukilteo, WA. Shawn Roten was a contractor that dreamt up and built high end homes in the greater Seattle area. When the market crashed in 2008, the business had to evolve. He and his wife, Elizabeth Stewart, decided to use their experience in the construction industry to build a bar, under the impression that in a recession, beer sells better than houses.

The first Lodge Sports Grille opened in 2010.

Here’s how the company describes its approach to building out its spaces — Charlie’s sounds like an ideal candidate: Continue reading

Second phase brings a busier E Pike pedestrian zone



IMG_0062The rainbow crosswalks served with even greater purpose over the weekend as the second phase of the E Pike pedestrian zone pilot shifted the test of a car-free Pike/Pine into a model with more activity and more options for motor vehicles.

Saturday’s set-up again included the closure of E Pike between Broadway and 12th but north-south cross-streets 10th and 11th remained open to driving — and everything else that cars like to do in the big city. The result was a busy scene with flashing SPD safety lights in all directions. Let’s turn it over to our correspondent at 10th and Pike, Pike/Pinerepreneur Dave Meinert.  “I like it, but I liked it better when the streets were completely closed off,” Meinert said Saturday night. “I could do without the flashing police lights, too.” With the streets closed except for the north/south streets, the rainbow crosswalks were the only safe way to cross.

IMG_0079Saturday’s E Pike closure also included “programming” for the first time — street yoga and drag queens were on the menu this weekend. The threat of mimes was postponed until the next session. The verdict is still out on how the street entertainment mix worked out. SDOT also said data collected on the pilot is not yet ready to share publicly.

Next weekend, On August 29th, Century Ballroom will host queer-friendly partner dance classes On E Pike, planned to include live musicians. Amplified sound will be wrapped up by 11 PM. The programming will then shift gears into more “calming” performances. “We want string musicians to serenade people goodnight and indicate that it’s time to get out of the street, get some food or head home,” EcoDistrict organizer Alex Brennan told CHS.

The EcoDistrict’s pedestrian zone project is being funded through $30,000 of a $160,000 city grant the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce received earlier this year. A similar program is up and running in Portland’s nightlife core. A pedestrian-only pilot program on Vancouver, BC’s bar-laden Granville St. was well-received by the city’s police department, which reported public intoxication calls decreased by almost half. The Seattle Police Department has been supportive of the idea so far as street fights and other crime could be substantially reduced by allowing bar crowds to disperse into the street rather than being crammed together on sidewalks. Spreading crowds over a greater area could also allow police officers to intervene quicker when incidents occur, Brennan said.

Find more information about the pilot program here. You can contact the EcoDistrict with feedback.

(Images: Capitol Hill EcoDistrict via Facebook)

NRA sues to stop Seattle ‘Gun Violence Tax’

The National Rifle Association is leading a lawsuit against the City of Seattle over its tax on firearms and ammunition designed to help offset the expense of gun violence.

The recently passed legislation was sponsored by City Council president and ex-cop Tim Burgess and will institute a $25 tax on gun sales and a 5 cent tax on each round of ammunition. The city estimates the taxes would raise up to $500,000 per year. Burgess said taxpayers paid more than $12 million in 2014 to offset unpaid medical bills for gunshot victims at Harborview. The revenue from the tax would fund a two-year gun violence prevention program.

“Once again, anti-gun activists in Seattle have chosen to violate the Washington State Constitution and trample upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” the NRA said in a press release announcing the lawsuit.

The lawsuit comes after a deadly week in Seattle with four fatal shootings in the city including the slaying of a 23-year-old amid the nightlife crowds of Capitol Hill.

Crush house ready for next life as Coffee Flour test lab

Coffee Flour pasta (Image: Coffee Flour)

Coffee Flour pasta (Image: Coffee Flour)

In 2014, a reinvigorated Crush was being prepared for its 10th anniversary near 23rd and Madison on the edge of Capitol Hill above Madison Valley. Later this week, the James Beard Award-winning restaurant from chef and culinary consultant Jason Wilson will shutter.

“It’s great. We’ve had 10 and a half years there. We’re very proud of what we created,” Wilson said.

The chef tells CHS that his attempt to sell the old house that was renovated to become the home of Crush was part of a plan to move the restaurant. But Wilson found the real estate market a couple years back couldn’t meet his $970,000 price tag. Soon, the long empty lot to the west of the house where the Ship Scaler’s Local 541 building once stood will see the start of construction on this four-story apartment building. And the Crush house that was once home to James A. Roston, an African-American labor negotiator, will move into a new life as a culinary test laboratory for Wilson’s work with Coffee Flour, a wheat alternative made from the discarded waste of coffee bean cherries.

“We’ve found a way to take a trashed ingredient and make it useful,” Wilson said.

Crush is winding down toward its last night of service on August 28th with a daily a la carte menu and tasting menu “that pays respect to the seasons as well as signature items including Beef Short Ribs, Seared Foie Gras, Bacon n’ Eggs, Octopus A La Plancha and more,” according to a release.

Wilson, whose restaurant ventures include downtown’s Miller’s Guild, is also, of course, ready to cook up something new after a decade of upscale, modernist-leaning cuisine at Crush.

“The kind of food that really defined me for a decade,” he tells CHS. “I’m going to be challenged in new arenas.”

Wilson said he plans to announce a new restaurant project before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, neighbors will have a new, slightly less upscale dining option in the area soon as Bottleneck Lounge burger joint sibling Two Doors Down is preparing to open in the old Philadelphia Fevre space.