About Kelsey Hamlin

Kelsey Hamlin studied Journalism and Law, Societies & Justice at the University of Washington. For three years, she has focused her work around social justice issues, legalities and policies.

Capitol Hill Housing project at 14th and Union will create affordable LGBTQ-focused senior housing

True affordability means keeping rents in the city down for everybody. An effort to help Capitol Hill Housing shape “Seattle’s first LGBTQ-affirming affordable senior housing development” at 14th and Union will take another step forward next week with a Community Visioning Workshop:

LGBTQ-Affirming Affordable Senior Housing: Community Visioning Workshop

“We’ve heard consistently from the community about the need for a place where LGBTQ elders in the community could age,” said Ashwin Warrior, Capitol Hill Housing spokesperson. “LGBTQ seniors were also named a priority population for the 2016 Housing Levy which adds extra impetus to the efforts.” Continue reading

Seattle’s Democracy Vouchers: They worked

One of Seattle’s many progressive experiments, the Democracy Voucher program proved effective for balancing the scales between everyday people with limited money for campaign donations and large companies with more than enough to support their candidate of choice.

Around 25,000 Seattleites made campaign contributions. Driving the big tally, 18,000 Seattle residents gave nearly 70,000 Democracy Vouchers to 2017 candidates. For comparison, roughly 8,200 donated in 2013.

“Seattle voters put in place the Democracy Voucher Program to make local government more accountable to the people of Seattle, and so far, it’s working,” said Tam Doan, research and policy director at Every Voice Center. “As billionaire donors play an increasingly larger role in national politics, Seattle’s Democracy Voucher Program is a promising example and a reminder for the rest of the nation that if we choose to use them, we have the tools necessary to reduce the power of big money and give everyday people a bigger voice in our political system.” Continue reading

Worker rights advocate Mosqueda joins Seattle City Council

(Image: City of Seattle)

After advocating for worker rights at the Washington State Labor Council, Teresa Mosqueda was sworn in to the City Council’s Position 8 Tuesday at Seattle City Hall.

“I look forward to unifying our progressive movements and fighting harder than ever to protect our most vulnerable,” Mosqueda said, “and maintain our identity as a city of hope, progress and inclusion in the upper left-hand corner of our country.”

Position 8 is one of two citywide chairs on the council intended to represent Seattle as a whole along with the seven geographic districts. Continue reading

Seattle plans $1.3M safe consumption space feasibility study in 2018

An Insite “supervised injection site” in Vancouver, B.C. (Image: Seattle.gov)

Capitol Hill residents and businesses have been looking for new solutions to the opiate addiction crisis. You can only call 911 so many times to take care of somebody overdosing and you can only pick up so many needles before you look for better ways to help. In 2018, Seattle plans to spend the money to figure out how to put one new solution into place.

Tucked into the 2018 budget passed last week before the Thanksgiving holiday are funds allocated for “a feasibility study for siting a safe consumption site in Seattle.” Capitol Hill is considered by some to be a prime area to host the facility.

It’s officially called a Supervised Consumption Space (SCS), a public health facility where people who are living with substance disorders can use drugs in a medically supervised environment while gaining access to treatment and other services. Services often include caseworkers, mental health counselors and referrals. Seattle would be the first in the U.S. to have an SCS.

A mother with a strong Capitol Hill connection supports the effort.  Continue reading

Love City Love, an experiment in claiming unused space for art, expands on Capitol Hill

Love City Love exists by putting empty spaces around Seattle to good use. Its latest rebirth has made use of a former Capitol Hill dry cleaners for two years. Now it is preparing the neighboring home of long-gone Artificial Limb Co. for expansion of its top of Pike/Pine space home for arts, events, music, love, and inspiration.

The managers of Love City Love don’t have a timeline for the latest project, don’t have real funding, and don’t have an exact goal. Simply put, founder Lucien Pellegrin wants to set precedent.

“Seattle wants to gear itself to be hip and cutting edge but all the people who made this city in the ‘90s don’t live here anymore because of the lack of creative space which kept the city alive,” Pellegrin said. “It was more a project just to make an example.” Continue reading

Planning for Seattle AIDS Memorial begins at center of Capitol Hill Station plaza

The Capitol Hill Station plaza is set to be a new center of activity on the north end of Cal Anderson Park. Its center will include a memorial to those lost to the AIDS crisis — including park namesake Cal Anderson, Washington’s first openly gay legislator who died of “acquired immune deficiency syndrome” in 1995 at the age of 47.

The Seattle AIDS Legacy Memorial group is working to fund and create the monument.

“We’re thrilled to be able to connect the history of the neighborhood to be centrally located where all Seattleites tend to come,” said Paul Feldman of SALM. “We’re hopeful, through careful planning and careful engagement, that we’ll hear stories we’ve never heard before and we’ll make clear to visitors that there’s still much work to do.”

Most of the details will be decided in the months ahead as the plaza and the surrounding developments move forward toward a possible late 2019 opening, but the SALM group will call for artists in the coming months. Finalists will be asked to offer specific design proposals fitting the following requirements: create a place of reflection and remembrance, provide a call to action, tell the history of King County’s AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 90s, the lessons that came with it, and the diverse community responses.

Artists must also make the installation prominent, visible to passersby, mostly outside, accessible to convenient public transportation, easily maintained, accessible to the disabled, wifi-abled and powered. One important consideration when choosing the artist is that, although the plan spans three spots joining the plaza, the Nagle and Denny festival streets and the northern edge of Cal Anderson, it’s clearly one project. During the design review process, some community members suggested plaques honoring those who died including Anderson.

While Cal Anderson Park honors the late politician by name, there is no permanent marker in the area acknowledging his history. In 2012, a temporary portrait of Anderson was unveiled on the giant wall that surrounded the Capitol Hill Station construction site.

The plaza — by necessity due to legal requirements and the physics of construction over an underground light rail facility — is somewhat of a blank slate planned for community activity. The four buildings that make up the surrounding developments will create more than 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space, and more than 200 new parking spaces below ground for residents and shoppers. Continue reading

2018 Seattle budget finalized with cash for diversion, Safe Consumption Site study, and a ‘progressive revenue’ task force

After one of the most procedural and contentious budget sessions Seattle’s most recent boom era with heat on homelessness and, recently, mayoral office funds, the Seattle City Council has passed the 2018 budget.

The council voted Monday to maintain (or barely add to, in the grand scheme of things) emergency shelters, permanent supportive housing services, homeless foster youth programs, homeless youth employment services, and the Zero Youth Detention project.

“Simply maintaining these services is not enough, one needs to look no further than one’s place of business or own neighborhood to recognize that Seattle is in crisis,” said budget chair Lisa Herbold. “This is why a sustainable progressive revenue source is so necessary.” Continue reading

Families of those shot by police speak out for I-940

Supporters hope Initiative 940 will change Washington state policy so fatal police shootings happen less often and so there’s more accountability when they occur. Gathering on a few Seattle City Hall steps Friday, a crowd representing 33 different families impacted by police killings gathered in support of I-940 in the hopes of preventing future deaths.

The Puget Sound region witnessed a slew of police killings in the past year: Renee Davis October 21, 2016, Jacqueline Salyers on January 28th, Daniel Covarrubias in April, Tommy Le June 13th, Charleena Lyles June 18th, Giovonn Joseph-McDade June 24th. All of them were people of color. Salyers, Davis and Lyles were all pregnant when killed.

“What else did we think would come with this when the police are investigating themselves,” asked Katrina Johnson, Lyles’ cousin. “They keep killing people and getting away with it.” Continue reading

From creator of Roq La Rue, Creatura House comes home to E Pike

Back from trips abroad and creating a nonprofit, Kirsten Anderson is again starting up an art gallery, but this time it’s intertwined with retail and, in a twist for the traveler, home.

Anderson founded art gallery Roq La Rue in 1998 and ran the space until it shuttered last year. It had a successful run, eventually, profits began to fall and Anderson felt burnt out on the arts scene.

“I thought this was a good time to step out and explore other things I want to do,” she said. Anderson spent her time exploring other countries as she raised money for her nonprofit. “I really missed having a space here in Seattle, being a part of the community. I had really gotten into home decor, and pulled in fine arts.”

Creatura House will be a home decor shop mingled with select art. The products will not be mass produced. To reside at 705 E Pike next to Babeland and Honeyhole, the shop opens December 8th with artist Peter Ferguson’s series of new paintings for his exhibition “I’ll Line My Nest With Your Bones.”

UPDATE: The grand opening is planned for December 15th:

Creatura House grand opening

Skate style shop Alive and Well will be making way for the new venture.

The arts business, for a while, wasn’t something Anderson thought she’d get back into.

“Artwork has changed so much and mid level galleries have been blown out,” she said. Anderson fiddles with one of the many rings on her tattooed fingers. They’re delicate tattoos, like dots and arrows. Larger tattoos decorated her arms and her earrings sparkled green and maroon beneath her black hair. Her subdued and darker style matched that of her artistic interests.

“I’m really into anything that’s dark and beautiful, not necessarily macabre, but I appreciate dark things as well,” Anderson said. “I’m completely driven by aesthetics, my whole life. I have made a living selling beautiful things to people. I like to make environments that are beautiful for people.”

She said she likes to straddle the line between absolutely beautiful and somewhat grotesque. Anderson pictures Creatura House warm, beautiful, and with a decayed opulence. Continue reading

King County to ‘reorg’ a public health approach to juvenile justice

King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an order Thursday directing the health department to make a plan and timeline for juvenile justice reform. Seattle Police Department Chief Kathleen O’Toole supports the order.

“I wholeheartedly support this bold step to transform the way our community handles juvenile offenders,” O’Toole said in a statement. “Credible research suggests that we can reduce crime by bringing a rehabilitative, public health approach to juvenile justice. In addition to the change that’s being announced today, I also believe we must continue to expand programs that support all of Seattle’s young people early in life, investments that are essential to preventing youth from becoming offenders in the first place.” Continue reading