About jseattle

Justin is publisher of CHS. You can reach him at chs@capitolhillseattle.com or call/txt (206) 399-5959. Follow @jseattle on Twitter or be best pals on Facebook.

KHUH, Central District radio, hits the air

With a track featuring “broken keyboard playing random notes w/ frogs in the woods,” a project three years in the making has crackled to life over the airwaves of the Central District. Tuesday, KHUH, 104.9 FM, officially began broadcasting as a “low power” radio station.

E Union’s Community-run Hollow Earth Radio powers the station with a schedule of eclectic and local music as well as neighborhood current affairs and issues. You can also continue to listen to HER online at hollowearthradio.org.

CHS first covered the plans for a micro-wave of micro-broadcasters to join the Seattle airwaves and secure low power FM broadcast permission from the FCC while deploying new broadcasting towers and equipment back in September 2014. A quest to raise $25,000 to launch the station was completed successfully last year.

Though the Hollow Earth community broadcasts have been available online for a decade, those involved with the station said the FM signal was import to reach neighbors without access to computers and that the low power station’s launch would also be a symbolic victory for alternative radio broadcasting.

KHUH will share the Central District and nearby radio dial with Seattle University which launched its own low power FM station in February 2016 on KXSU, 102.1 FM.

With the right twiddling of knobs and careful antenna alignment, you might be able to pick up either station around Capitol Hill — though some will experience an interesting mash-up, of sorts, as Tacoma hip-hop station KUBE also bleeds through at 104.9 FM.

Hollow Earth is volunteer-run and community-backed. You can learn more at hollowearthradio.org.

Big, smoky fire scorches old Capitol Hill ‘dog lounge’ building

(Image courtesy Jesse Rope)

(Image courtesy Ella Li)

The building formerly home to a Capitol Hill’s “dog lounge” burned Wednesday morning in a smoke-spewing fire that sent one woman to the hospital.

Seattle Fire was called to the intersection of E Denny and E Olive Way just before 8:30 AM and began to battle a blaze from inside and on the roof of the building. The fire was upgraded to a “two alarm” response to bring in additional crews.

Seattle Fire crews reported the fire was nearly under control by 9 AM but it continued to burn and create significant amounts of smoke.

Seattle Fire says one woman was taken to Harborview from the scene. According to radio dispatches, the woman was outside the building and suffered smoke inhalation. SFD reported the woman to be in stable condition.

The building was home to the Downtown Dog Lounge until it left this summer due to what the owner said were crime and landlord issues.

The large, single-story 1924-built auto row building and surrounding property is also home to In The Bowl, the Holy Smoke head shop, and an outlet of the Beyond Vape chain. The long-shuttered Apocalypse Tattoo and Bus Stop bar spaces have also been vacant in the building for years.

UPDATE 12:40 PM: SFD says investigators have been unable to determine the cause of the fire. Damage is estimated at $500,000.

(Image courtesy Jesse Rope)

(Image courtesy Jesse Rope)

Seattle has a new mayor

Tuesday, CHS was up a mountain river when Ed Murray made his final announcement as Mayor of Seattle:

I am announcing my resignation as mayor, effective at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our City government to conduct the public’s business.

“I’m proud of all that I have accomplished over my 19 years in the Legislature, where I was able to pass what were at the time the largest transportation packages in state history, a landmark gay civil rights bill and a historic marriage equality bill.

And I am proud of what we have accomplished together at the City during my time as mayor, passing a nation-leading $15 minimum wage, and major progressive housing affordability and police accountability legislation, as well as negotiating an agreement to build a world-class arena that I believe in time will bring the NHL and NBA to Seattle.

But it has also become clear to me that in light of the latest news reports it is best for the city if I step aside.

We’ll have more to report on the longtime Capitol Hill resident, his legacy, the sexual abuse allegations, and his place in the neighborhood’s community and its history when we are up and running again at full speed.

For now, welcome short-timer Mayor Bruce Harrell and good luck to candidates Jenny Durkan (CHS Q&A) and Carry Moon (CHS Q&A). The city needs you.

The mayor of Capitol Hill 2017: Jenny Durkan Q&A

The mayor of Capitol Hill 2017: Cary Moon Q&A

Grocer New Seasons coming to the Central District at 23rd and Union

Another domino has finally clicked into place in the massive grocery cart shuffle game playing out in major developments across Capitol Hill and the Central District. As expected, Portland-based New Seasons has announced it will, indeed, be anchoring the Lake Union Partners-backed project on the northwest corner of 23rd and Union.

“The Central District is such a wonderful neighborhood, rich in history and culture. We are honored to join and serve this community,” New Seasons CEO Wendy Collie said in an announcement on the project Friday morning. “As a neighborhood grocer, we pride ourselves on creating gathering places that honor and reflect the culture of their communities, where everyone feels welcome to share delicious food, enjoy conversation and connect with one another.”

New Seasons is also interested in holding down the anchor grocer slot in the development projects set to arise around Capitol Hill Station. The grocer planned to open its first Seattle location in Ballard this year. Labor groups have opposed the company’s expansion to Seattle citing “an anti-union climate” at the company. Continue reading

Police track stolen phone across city after Capitol Hill gunpoint robbery

A woman faced two attackers armed with handguns in a midnight street robbery on Capitol Hill Thursday night. The Sheriff’s helicopter, a police dog unit, and officers tracked a phone taken at gunpoint in the street robbery across the city but were unable to make an arrest after the digital trail finally ended in North Seattle about 30 minutes after the hold-up.

Police responded to the 200 block of 14th Ave E between Thomas and John around 11:40 PM after a report of a woman screaming. According to the victim, two men pointed pistols at her and stole her bag before fleeing the area. Witnesses reported seeing the men headed north on 13th and then west on Thomas before disappearing, according to East Precinct radio reports.

King County’s Guardian One helicopter and a SPD K9 unit were called out to help search for the suspects described only as two black males wearing masks.

Police began tracking the location of a phone taken in the robbery as it appeared to travel to an area just off I-5 near NE 65th and then around Aurora where it was finally turned off and stopped signaling the app.

Police were unable to immediately locate the suspects in the area where the phone was tracked but collected reports of possible sightings of the vehicle the men may have been traveling in.

There were no reported significant injuries suffered in the robbery.

Earlier this summer following a 23rd and Union purse grab, CHS reported on a small drop in reported robberies in the East Precinct in the first half of the summer season. We’ll try to take a look at the latest numbers soon.

Full Tilt has new plan for Capitol Hill shop

The plan to bring Full Tilt to Capitol Hill is again in motion. The White Center-born ice cream company announced Thursday that it will bump a global corporation from 15th Ave E as it expands to the neighborhood it has been flirting with in recent years:

In addition to furnishing 20+ Vintage Pinball Machines and classic arcade games, the Capitol Hill Location will be the first Full Tilt to offer all natural (non-powder) soft-serve ice cream made with fresh dairy and offering unique flavors. The Capitol Hill Full Tilt will also be the first location to make available a reservable Party Room. In preparation for the new location, Full Tilt will also be giving one lucky Capitol Hill resident free ice cream for an entire year. Capitol Hill Residents can enter to win already at www.MyFreeCone.com.

According to the announcement, the new Full Tilt shop will take over the 300 block 15th Ave E space that has been the longtime home of a Starbucks shop that at one time was part of the global coffee giant’s attempts at producing indie-styled cafes with unique — but scalable — identities. The 15th Ave Coffee & Tea experiment ended in 2011. According to Full Tilt, it will be moved into the space by January and ready to start the New Year on Capitol Hill.

In 2015, owner Justin Cline had plans to open a Full Tilt shop specializing in ice cream pops as part of the Uncle Ike’s complex at 15th and Republican but that plan was put on ice. “I’m more comfortable in that area than dealing with the bros in Pike/Pine,” Cline told CHS at the time. “We’re more about kids, family. A punk Chuck E. Cheese.”

The Capitol Hill shop will be Full Tilt’s fifth in the city. It will join nearby vegan sweet shop Sugar Plum in providing treats on 15th Ave E.

“We are very excited to be opening a location in Capitol Hill,” Cline said in the announcement about the new Capitol Hill project. “Our Ice Cream Shops are extremely family focused. We offer flavors that appeal to kids, Northwest Craft Beers that satisfy adults and Classic Games that everyone can enjoy. This location is off of the ‘Pike/Pine Drinking Corridor,’ and we intend to do some of the same popular events that our patrons in other neighborhoods appreciate like ‘2-Wheel Sundays’, neighborhood events, and live music! We will be announcing a special free music performance for opening day at the Capitol Hill location.”

Cline says three additional Puget Sound area Full Tilt Locations are in the works.

You can learn more at fulltilticecream.com.

Capitol Hill food+drink | A Pizza Mart pizza bar coming to Pike/Pine

Some things never change. The projects may be smaller in scale (well, mostly smaller) but the Capitol Hill food and drink economy continues to be a dynamic world with plenty of new players and new stories. And, naturally, some pillars of the industry continue to grow.

Yup, Pike/Pine is being lined up for a new pizza bar.

The rapidly expanding A Pizza Mart empire is making plans for a new pie bar on 11th Ave, CHS has learned. Continue reading

Why is Capitol Hill’s The Saint closing its kitchen? More fun, better business

(Image: The Saint)

CHS isn’t the only Capitol Hill business taking some time mid-2017 for an overhaul of its craft and a boost of new creative energy.

Who knows about the blog but we’re pretty sure the changes at The Saint bear watching.

“We can put the same amount of energy into other things and have a lot more fun,” Quentin Ertel tells us about his reinvention of the nine-year-old E Olive Way nightspot. The little blue wedge of E Olive Way will be closed into October for a light remodel and a big shift in its business model.

More tequilas and mezcales. No tacos. The Saint is going full bar, no restaurant. It closed last week for its own short hiatus. Continue reading

Congratulations on your retirement, Officer Whitlatch

Fired for her actions in a “walking while black” case, former Capitol Hill cop Cynthia Whitlatch will “have her termination record changed to a retirement” and has been granted years of backpay, KIRO reports.

The back pay is more than $105,000 in two lump payments, paying her for 90 hours a month for the time since she was fired. All sustained findings by the Office of Professional Accountability about Whitlatch’s conduct will remain in place.

Whitlatch has her union to thank for the settlement. The Seattle Times reports the appeal of her firing was brought in “a grievance filed by the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) over her termination because of the untimeliness of her discipline.”

Apparently, two commanders were notified of Whitlatch’s conduct during her encounter with Wingate but did not immediately report it, thereby impacting deadlines for discipline to be imposed.

The Stranger reported on the union’s complaints here in late 2015:

SPOG is claiming that the six-month clock for finishing the investigation really started ticking in September when the community members’ complaints were lodged with Captain Davis, even though Captain Davis didn’t refer those complaints to the OPA (which means OPA didn’t know about the meeting between Captain Davis and community advocates, or even about the Wingate arrest itself, until it was reported in The Stranger in January of this year). Even then, the union argues that as soon as Murphy learned in January about the concerns connected to the Wingate arrest, he should have asked the union for an extension of the six-month deadline, since it turned out some concerns about the Wingate arrest were first raised in September with Captain Davis. The union’s contract states that SPOG cannot “unreasonably deny” such extension requests.

The East Precinct officer was fired for racial bias for her actions in a 2014 Capitol Hill arrest. William Wingate was arrested and exonerated following the summer 2014 incident at 12th and Pike in which the city eventually apologized for the actions of Whitlatch after she took the then 69-year-old black man into custody for allegedly swinging a golf club he used as a cane in a manner she said she found threatening. Outcry followed and many pointed at the incident as further evidence of the need for reform at Seattle Police. Last year, a federal jury found Whitlatch had violated Wingate’s civil rights and awarded him $325,000 for the actions of the veteran officer.

Prior to the jury decision, Whitlatch was fired in 2015 for “sustained policy violations involving bias, abuse of police discretion, and escalation of a contact” in the Wingate arrest. The union’s appeal of the firing had been playing out for months before this summer’s settlement.

Compromise reached in long debate to reopen short Capitol Hill path

(Image: CHS)

Describing the solution as a unique one-off — not precedent-setting — officials finally have a back-to-school plan to reopen the Lowell Elementary S Path — the short, curving pathway connecting Federal and 11th Ave E that has been fenced off since the start of last school year due to safety concerns over homeless camping and drug use.

“It’s a little bit of a special snowflake,” Seattle Department of Transportation’s Genesee Adkins tells CHS.

The path joins a South Seattle school playground that doubles as a public park and a West Seattle school’s daily closure of a neighborhood street to allow safer student movement among the few unique agreements forged by SDOT with Seattle Public Schools over restricting access to the public right of way.

Officials expect the path to be reopened in time for the start of the school year in September. No property is being acquired and no money will change hands. “There is no change to the right of way,” Adkins said. Continue reading