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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.

Mayor Murray sexual abuse lawsuit dropped

One month after Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced he would not seek reelection, the sexual abuse lawsuit at the center of his decision has been dropped.

In a court decision filed Tuesday, a King County Superior Court judge granted the motion from Lincoln C. Beauregard, the lawyer for accuser Delvonn Heckard, to drop the suit.

Murray’s June announcement that he would end his reelection bid effectively began the final chapter of his more than 20-year his political career with an abrupt last few months in office and helped spur a host of filings for candidates to take over at City Hall.

The Murray office says the mayor will make a statement Wednesday afternoon. Murray has denied the allegations and accused the victim and lawyer of being part of a political conspiracy attacking the city’s first openly gay mayor.

In April, the civil lawsuit targeted the 61-year-old Murray over allegations he sexually abused a drug-addicted teen he met on Capitol Hill in the 1980s before Murray launched his political career.

UPDATE: In a media conference Wednesday afternoon, Murray did not rule out restarting his reelection campaign. The rules for an official King County write-in campaign are here. Below is a statement issued by Murray attacking his accuser’s lawyer for the “shameful episode” —

Frankly, the disgraceful and destructive actions of opposing counsel are the real story here.

He’s been dead wrong on the facts he’s asserted about the mayor. His disregard for legal norms has gotten him sanctioned twice by the judge. And the day before his client is scheduled to answer written questions under oath, he withdraws the case.

It is extremely disappointing that a publicity-seeking attorney put the city through this shameful episode in the first place. More than that, it is shocking to our democracy for Lincoln Beauregard to declare, as he did on Twitter today, that, in denying Seattle voters the choice to re-elect a popular and successful mayor, justice has been served.

Seattle residents and the legal system ought to be extremely concerned about the sequence of events that led to the filing of lawsuit and its ultimate dismissal today.

Pictures from the crowd: Seattle Pride March and Volunteer Park Pride Festival

Thousands marched Sunday from Capitol Hill to support LGBTQ rights (Image: SDOT)

CHS may be taking a break this summer but the crowd is still busy taking great pictures and videos. Here are a few of the best we’ve found from the weekend’s happenings at Saturday’s Volunteer Park Pride Festival and Sunday’s Seattle Pride March. You’ll also find a bonus video from the 2017 Volunteer Park Criterium. Thanks, crowd! Happy Pride!

And then a parade rolled through.

A post shared by Kevin A. Cameron (@kacekevin) on

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Group denied in bid to halt Seattle Asian Art Museum expansion in Volunteer Park

Before a busy weekend of Pride and cycling in the park, there is good news for one of a slate of major projects lined up to improve Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park.

The city’s Hearing Examiner has denied the appeal from a community group seeking to halt the $49 million overhaul and expansion of Volunteer Park’s Seattle Asian Art Museum. In a ruling issued prior to this week’s scheduled hearing on the appeal, Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner denied the group’s effort to require a costly environmental impact study for the project, reversing a decision from the city’s planning department. Continue reading

Laughing Buddha moving into new home at Broadway and Pine

If you are looking for the heart of Capitol Hill, you might want to follow Laughing Buddha. After 20 years on Broadway, the tattoo and body piercing studio is moving into a new home this summer closer to Pike/Pine.

“The area was the epicenter,” Laughing Buddha owner Christy Brooker says of the shop’s longtime home on the north end of Broadway. “Over time, we follow where Capitol Hill moves.

CHS talked to Brooker in 2016 after she took over Laughing Buddha and celebrated the studio’s 20 years of business on Capitol Hill. Her next big move will take Laughing Buddha into the Seattle Central-owned South Annex/International Programs building at Pine and Broadway into a new space designed by 15th Ave E-headquartered Board and Vellum. Continue reading

Rain City Fit will bring former home of Crypt kink shop back to life with new gym

The crew from the Stranger might pick up new, healthy habits as a long-empty retail space across the street from the alt media outfit’s Capitol Hill office is about to kick back into motion.

Rain City Fit is preparing to move into the former home of The Crypt, the west coast chain kink shop that folded in Pike/Pine in the summer of 2015.

“It’s a real big space and a tough time for retail. For me, I’m just trying to build a nice gym that is going to fit well with the Capitol Hill community,” owner Ben Koenigsberg tells CHS. Continue reading

Capitol Hill gunfire? Two incidents overnight

Gunfire echoed around north Broadway early Sunday morning after a Capitol Hill service station worker said he opened fire to ward of a robbery attempt. Meanwhile, police were investigating more gunfire earlier Sunday after an apparent gun battle near Pine and Broadway in the middle of nightlife crowds overnight.

There were no reported serious injuries in the incidents.

Officers rushed to the area of Broadway and Roy just before 6 AM to reports of gunshots. Arriving police were told the 76 Station worker opened fire on two males attempting a robbery, according to East Precinct radio reports. At least one shot struck the back window of a tan van as the suspects reportedly attempted to flee on 10th Ave. There were no immediate arrests.

Earlier, a wave of violence across Seattle continued with a bout of gunfire near the Broadway parking lot between Pike and Pine just before 1 AM.

Police responded to a report of around eight shots in the area and found at least one bullet-riddled car and a victim who apparently not seriously injured. The female was reported as “uncooperative” by police and refused to stay at the scene, according to radio dispatches.

Witnesses told police of an SUV-type vehicle that sustained bullet damage, another car, and a possibly armed male fleeing the area on foot. Police were checking with area businesses that may have video evidence from the shootout. Seattle Fire was called to the scene for possible injuries from the gunfire but quickly released.

Finally, a $23.25M deal — and plans for inclusive development — at 23rd and Union

It is a riskier bet than most $23.25 million land deals in Seattle. But new neighbors and longtime community members are probably happy to see real progress. Africatown, again in partnership with sustainability nonprofit turned in-city housing developer Forterra, will still be part of inclusive development component in the deal. And the buyers seem to know what they are doing.

Lake Union Partners announced Tuesday that it is surging ahead with a plan to redevelop 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center block and has already closed on a purchase of the land — a riskier approach than national shopping center developer Regency Centers and its partner Lennar were apparently willing to take in their failed deal to acquire the property and build a grocery-focused project.

“Given our other investments at 23rd and Union, we’ve worked hard to connect well with the neighborhood and as always, we simply try to do good work with our design, be respectful of the community, and create projects with neighborhood retail that residents of the area need and want,” Patrick Foley of Lake Union Partners said in the announcement. Continue reading

Here’s what’s next for the old Charlie’s on Broadway space

The old Charlie’s (Image: CHS)

Connecting the dots on our report from April that yet another minute clinic-style health care business was coming to Broadway, the restaurant space CityMD will be moving into and turning into an outpatient facility on Capitol Hill’s main drag is none other than the longtime home of Charlie’s.

Company officials have yet to confirm the project but people familiar with the plans say the CHI Franciscan Health-backed venture will open the new office after an overhaul of the old restaurant.

CHS reported in April that CityMD was planning a project for the property that includes the Broadway Alley retail mall.

Charlie’s on Broadway closed — again — in January some 40 years after its birth.

15th Ave E QFC block has new owner: Capitol Hill’s Hunters Capital

The “big property deal set to reshape Capitol Hill’s somewhat sleepy 15th Ave E” has gone down. For now, the quiet-er stretch of Capitol Hill commerce will stay as somewhat sleepy as ever.

“We look forward to becoming a part of this vibrant street as we value the unique retail and residential mix,” Jill Cronauer, chief operating officer at Hunters Capital said in an announcement Monday morning that the Capitol Hill-focused real estate development and property management firm has acquired the block of 15th Ave E home to QFC and a stretch of local businesses for $11.25 million. Continue reading

Blotter | Broadway gun arrest, ‘well-known community member’ prostitution investigation

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here. Yes, CHS is still on hiatus but we’ll continue to keep the news engine warm and post from time to time as events warrant.

  • Broadway gun arrest: Seattle Police are thanking a “watchful resident” for reporting a threatening man with a gun outside a bar Saturday night amid Broadway and Pike/Pine streets choked with nightlife revelers. Police responded to the report of the man armed with a handgun with “his finger on the trigger, and “pounding his chest and breathing heavily” outside Therapy in the 1500 block of Broadway just after 10 PM Saturday night. According to police, they were able to track down the suspect after his silver Audi became stuck in traffic near the Shell station at Pike and Broadway:
    Officers searched the area and within about ten minutes, found the suspect stuck in traffic. East Precinct bike officers quickly coordinated with nightlife emphasis foot beat officers and formed a plan for a high risk vehicle stop. Officers stopped the car and spoke with the suspect. Officers learned that the man had a license to carry a concealed weapon. They also found his loaded 9mm handgun. Since brandishing a gun isn’t covered by permit, officers arrested the man for a misdemeanor weapons violation.
    “Many thanks to the watchful resident for seeing something suspicious and then quickly sharing the information with bike officers who were patrolling the area,” the SPD brief on the arrest reads.
  • ‘Well-known Capitol Hill community member’ investigation: KIRO has made a big deal about the investigation of a “well-known Capitol Hill community member” for allegedly “training sex workers for ‘highly paid’ escort work and providing them to government leaders.” While the TV station chose to break the news on the March 1st search warrant to collect evidence at the reported “Capitol Hill” home of the unnamed suspect in the midst of fallout from Mayor Ed Murray’s sex abuse scandal, CHS is aware of the investigation and can report that, no, the search warrant was not for the mayor’s home despite what the comments section of the TV news site might tell you. In typical TV fashion, the address isn’t even really on Capitol Hill. But more importantly, the prostitution and “government leaders” element overshadows allegations of sexual assault being investigated after a 22-year-old man told police he was drugged and raped by the suspect. At this point, there are no charges in the case.
  • First Hill knife arrest: SPD arrested an alleged car prowler in an incident last Friday on First Hill:
    Officers arrested a man for robbery Friday afternoon when two men interrupted a car prowl in the First Hill neighborhood. Two men doing building maintenance in the 1200 block of James Street at 3:45 p.m. Friday, went downstairs to retrieve items from their trucks when they spotted a man helping himself to stuff stored in the bed boxes of their vehicles. The two men confronted the suspect who pulled out a knife and threatened the victims. The victims retreated and called 911. Officers arrived and began searching the building for the suspect they believed was still inside. The Officers eventually found the suspect, placed him under arrest, and booked him into King County Jail for investigation of robbery. Officers checked the area where the suspect was hiding and found all of the victim’s belongings.