Proposed Seattle Renters’ Commission will tackle tenant rights, affordability

Capitol Hill’s calls for a Seattle Renters’ Commission will soon be answered creating what is likely the first such official body in the nation.

CHS has learned legislation to create a 15-member commission to represent tenants rights and weigh in on issues of development and affordability could be introduced as early as Monday.

“The goal is to attract folks across the whole spectrum,” the Capitol Hill Community Council’s Zachary DeWolf said. “Families, seniors, geographic diversity, vouchers, newer units, older units. Everyone.”

The offices of Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess, Mike O’Brien, and Lisa Herbold have been working to finalize the proposal that comes as Seattle residents continue to face one of the most expensive rental markets… in the world.

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2016 Orlando nightclub attack, FDA rules spur ‘Bad Blood’ talk at Gay City

On June 12, 2016, a gunman attacked Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and wounding at least 53. The LGBTQ community rallied to donate blood to the survivors, but blood centers turned away gay and bisexual men because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans some of them from donating. The FDA first enacted a lifetime ban in 1985 to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. The restrictions were recently changed so that men who haven’t had sexual contact with another man in the past 12 months can donate blood.

The nightclub attack and FDA’s rules on blood donations are at the center of a public conversation at Capitol Hill’s Gay City on Thursday.

Bad Blood? A Conversation about the FDA Ban on Gay Blood

Dr. James P. AuBuchon, president and CEO of Bloodworks Northwest, will participate in a panel discussion about blood donation by gay and bisexual men called “Bad Blood? A Conversation about the FDA Ban on Gay Blood Donation.” Continue reading

Seattle’s State of the City 2017: $55M homelessness levy, soda tax for schools, Trump immigration push-back

At Northgate’s Idris Mosque Tuesday morning, Mayor Ed Murray gave his 2017 State of the City address, announcing plans to increase investments to further address homelessness and education disparities, and to continue to support immigrants and refugees in Seattle. Included in the speech were plans to activate a city emergency system usually reserved for bad weather and protests to provide more resources for helping the area’s homeless, a proposal for a $55 million property levy to fund homelessness services, and the floating of a possible Seattle soda tax to help fund schools. Video and the full text of Murray’s speech is below.

For Seattle, the biggest news of the speech will likely be the homeless levy proposal. The plan will go to city voters this August to ask them to approve an increase in the commercial and residential property tax of around $13 per month for the median household, according to the mayor’s office. Murray said that a coalition including entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, Downtown Emergency Services Center executive director Daniel Malone, and City Council members Debora Juarez and Sally Bagshaw will lead an advisory group to create the funding package for the proposal.

The mayor also announced a new offensive to push back on Trump administration immigration policies. Murray said the city will send Freedom of Information Act requests to multiple federal departments, including the Department of Homeland Security, in response to President Donald Trump’s actions affecting immigrants and refugees. Murray is seeking to determine potential enforcement actions the federal government may take against Seattle and other sanctuary cities and details about changes to travel and immigration policy.

“We believe that the rule of law is on our side,” Murray said, adding that Seattle will take legal action if the federal departments do not provide timely responses.

Murray’s State of the City announcements:

Murray said he also plans to meet with other regional mayors to about remaining safe sanctuary cities.

“Remaining open to all is a fundamental value of the city,” Murray said. “Seattle is a great city because of immigrants and refugees.” Continue reading

Olive Tree bringing Mediterranean flavors — and ‘amazing vision’ — to 15th Ave E

1294585_169476753243091_555668481_oSince 2009, Zana Abdulaziz and his brother-in-law Ranj Rebwar have been serving up Mediterranean cuisine in Kent. Soon they’ll be feeding kebabs, gyros, and hummus, and falafels to hungry Seattleites on 15th Ave E.

For a while now Abdulaziz and Rebwar have been wanting to open a second Olive Tree location — on Capitol Hill in particular.

“I like how there’s a lot of restaurants here. I really, really like the vibe,” Abdulaziz said.

They chose 15th Ave E because it is a community-based neighborhood and they hope to find staff members that are oriented that way and will be like family at Olive Tree. They hope to the new restaurant — their second location — open in March.

“We have an amazing product,” Abdulaziz said. “We have an amazing vision of what we’re trying to do. If Olive Tree is to take off, Capitol Hill is the place to make it happen.” Continue reading

Coalition says Convention Center expansion’s proposed public benefits aren’t enough

At a Thursday Seattle Design Commission meeting, Washington State Convention Center expansion project leaders presented the public benefits package proposed to justify the vacation of three alleys for the $1.6 billion downtown project. An exact value of the vacations hasn’t been determined, but a coalition of community groups has been leading the push to make sure the package benefits the surrounding neighborhoods.

Representatives with the Community Package Coalition, made up of nine community groups, argue that WSCC’s proposed benefits aren’t enough.

“The size of the public benefits package is nowhere near fair,” said Alex Hudson, executive director of the First Hill Improvement Association said Thursday.

The investments are “critical” to make sure the neighborhoods around the Convention Center are “improved and not degraded,” Hudson said.

“We have people that are asking that we do certain things for the neighborhoods, but we don’t have opposition to the project,” said Matt Griffin of the Pine Street Group, the development firm managing the expansion project for the WSCC.

WSCC’s proposed benefits focus on three areas — affordable housing, the city and Downtown Seattle Association’s Pike Pine Renaissance project, and community projects including a Lid I-5 Study, Freeway Park improvements and downtown bicycle improvements. For some of the projects, WSCC proposes proving funding for them, not heading the design and implementation of them. It’s a lengthy, detailed roster of potential neighborhood improvements from downtown up to Capitol Hill. We’ve embedded the full package proposal, below. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Council holding benefit for Bellevue mosque damaged in fire

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-8-12-45-pmNext week, the Capitol Hill Community Council is expanding its neighborhood borders to help the Islamic Center of the Eastside in Bellevue, which is raising money to rebuild after a January arson attack.

“We wanted to really dedicate our time and basically give our space to other folks in our community that are hurting or being targeted,” said CHCC president Zachary DeWolf.

While the ICOE may not be located on Capitol Hill or in Seattle, DeWolf said a benefit hosted by CHCC on February 23 is a way to stand in solidarity with not only the ICOE but also the Muslim community in the neighborhood.

While attacks on the Muslim community have been seen nationwide, so has support for Muslims, said Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Seattle. Continue reading

A few sparks of hope for HALA proposals as Miller Park residents focus on affordability and density

The Miller Park Neighbors community group’s rallying cry encouraging residents to organize to address proposed increased building heights under the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda drew about 100 people to a Wednesday meeting.

Jonathan Swift, a member of Miller Park Neighbors, said the goals of the group include preserving the neighborhood, keeping it diverse and making it affordable.

But it was hard to find many examples of clear support for the city’s HALA proposals and with elements like a presentation from Wallingford anti-density advocate Greg Hill, it was hard not to see the proceedings under a “not in my backyard” light.

Jack Thompson, a leader in one of the small groups attendees broke into for discussion at the meeting, has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years. The diversity the group aims to keep applies both to the people living in the neighborhood and the housing options, he said. “We have a little bit of everything here,” Thompson explained. Continue reading

Fox + the Feather owner closes Pike/Pine boutique to open new vintage-focused Rove

For Rachel McNew owning the type of store she, and she believes the community, wants means starting fresh.

New paint, new merchandise, and a new name — Rove.

“I think Rove will be a better fit for Capitol Hill because our biggest focus is vintage,” McNew said. “It’s not just your everyday vintage. I’m trying to curate more fashion-forward pieces, which I think will do better up here as well.”

By the end of the month, McNew plans to open the new store in the former Fox + the Feather space at 1507 11th Ave. Continue reading

New bias crime dashboard shows increase in reports of Seattle hate violence


Hate crime data for Seattle is now more transparent and readily available to the public with Seattle Police Department’s recently launched Bias/Hate Crime Data dashboard.

Previously SPD provided reports to the City Council and the public twice per year.

“(The dashboard) gives people a little bit more information in real time and allows them to conduct their own analysis,” Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, SPD spokesperson, told CHS.

Shaun Knittel, with Social Outreach Seattle, is the chair of the SPD’s LGBTQ Advisory Council, and often meets with the victims of hate crimes.

“I cannot tell you how many people have no clue about the actual numbers; I’m really happy SPD is putting this out there,” Knittel told CHS. Continue reading

12th Ave auto shop will make way for apartment and restaurant development

Servicing BMWs, Volvos, and Jaguars on Capitol Hill was good business for the last 46 years or so. Selling the property home to your 12th Ave auto service garage to make way for development of a five-story, 61-unit, mixed-use apartment building planned to feature “sun screens,” a streetfront restaurant, and “a generously planted” courtyard? Probably even better business.

The longtime 12th and E Olive St. fixture Car Tender will be moving out in the next year or so but the design review process for the new building that will replace it begins this week.

On Wednesday, the East Design Review Board will hear about a proposed mixed-use five-story 61-unit apartment planned for the corner of 12th Ave and E Olive St where auto shop Car Tender currently sits.

Design review: 1208 E Olive St

Car Tender owners Russell Kimble and John McDermott declined to comment on the sale and the development. The company claims a pedigree reaching back to the early 1970s. The version of the company owned by Kimble and McDermott was registered with the state in 1999. According to Car Tender’s website, the company has been servicing European cars including BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover, and others, in the city since 1971. Through various platforms, online reviewers have given the business an average of about four stars for its service. Its candy dish game is also apparently on point. Continue reading