‘Histories of Capitol Hill’ event reveals divides even as community comes together

Sara Galvin (Images: CHS)

Community thought leaders, activists and performers are organizing events around the city as part of Town Hall’s a year-long artists in residence event series. Designer Erik Molano brought together passionate activists for an ambitious undertaking with his first event, Histories of Capitol Hill and What We’ll Build Next. Before an audience at the Summit on E Pike last week they explored the challenge of maintaining the heritage of a community through growth and development.

“A lot of these buildings are being erased and with them the memories and people who inhabited them or gathered in and expressed themselves in those buildings,” said Molano, co-founder of brand agency Photon Factory. For Molano, who moved to Seattle five years ago to work at Microsoft, the demolition of old buildings “is a loss of history.

Following individual poetry readings and a presentation from Capitol Hill Housing at the Summit on Pike, a group of community advocates responded to prompts from Molano in an effort to determine what preserving heritage in a developing city means. The group spoke on a wide range of intersectional issues related to the affordable housing crisis. Continue reading

Your ‘aspirational recycling’ is only part of Seattle’s trash problem — Happy Earth Day, Capitol Hill!

It should come as no surprise that Seattle’s recycling game is among the top 10 of major United States cities but it might be a good time for a refresher considering 15 tons of material put in the recycling bin is rejected each day from the sorting plant.

“The Pacific Northwest is pretty good at recycling overall but it’s important to note, just because you recycle something, doesn’t mean it will be recycled,” said general manager of the local Recology/CleanScapes sorting facility Kevin Kelly. Taking the time to learn and properly stow materials will decrease the risk of those carefully sorted items ending up in the trash.

The stakes for getting the sorting done in your home have risen. The demand for Seattle materials has dropped hugely since 2017, Kelly said, due to losing China’s business which accounted for 50% of sales. China withdrew from international mixed-paper and glass markets with no sign of return after deeming the level of contaminants in recycling exports too high. The ban went into effect January 2018 and has impacted markets all over the world. In a few cases, without a buyer, tons of ready to be recycled goods around King County are being sent to the landfill. Continue reading

‘Community Package’ including affordable housing, park cash gets support in Convention Center expansion hearing

Council member Mike O’Brien (right) views a model of the planned convention center expansion (Image: CHS)

Fine tuning some $83 million in public benefits — and how quickly the cash to pay for them will be delivered — was the theme of the night as neighborhood, transit, and public space advocates came to City Hall Wednesday.

“The sooner we can get more money for affordable housing the better,” said Seattle City Council sustainability and transportation committee chair Mike O’Brien.

Wednesday’s hearing featured mostly speakers in support of the Community Package Coalition formed to create a shared platform of community priorities for a roster of public benefits to be exchanged for the vacation of “Block 33, Block 43, Block 44, Olive Way & Terry Avenue.” The city land is planned to be part of the construction of the estimated $1.6 billion Washington State Convention Center addition and development that will create a massive new exhibition facility across I-5 between Pike and Olive Way.

“Equity and equitable outcomes should be at the forefront of discussions around large real estate projects such as this one,” said McCaela Daffern from Capitol Hill Housing. “I ask that you make note of the significant contributions toward affordable housing secured thanks to advocacy of Capitol Hill housing and the rest of the coalition.” Continue reading

Rising anxiety has made mental health a Capitol Hill area growth industry

Newly opened businesses in the area around Capitol Hill and the Central District might give an indication of one of the growing needs of a booming population.

Mental health care providers have brought their practices to the area to meet the exceeding demand for centrally located counseling services. In 2017, CHS noticed that the City of Seattle recorded counseling offices to be the second highest number of new businesses in District 3.

“I was busy immediately and had as many referrals I could take from the get go,” said psychotherapist Lisa Hake, LMHC GMHS, who moved her practice from Bellevue to Madrona last year.

To be a licensed mental health care practitioner, providers must have a minimum education of masters degree and meet Washington’s licensing requirements. Reported lowered barriers to access and decreased stigmatization has led to overall industry growth, while the rise in business locally is attributed by many we spoke with to a widespread increase of anxiety, spurred by our current socioeconomic and political landscape. “You can’t say to people that this is a safe place anymore, the world. It really wasn’t before, but it’s obvious now that it’s no longer true,” said Jason Franklin, LMHC in Madison Valley. Franklin primarily works with intersectionality. Continue reading

Save the Royvue! Residents rally to thwart sale of Capitol Hill building

A view worth the fight? A look across the Royvue courtyard (Image: Haley Blavka Photograph/Save the Royvue)

Seattle’s endorsement of rapidly adding thousands of efficiency sized housing units to the cityscape has some residents in Capitol Hill unconvinced that one size fits all. Tenant-led group Save the Royvue has escalated its effort to keep the 94-year-old building from succumbing to development plans that would significantly reduce apartment size. The growing assembly of advocates says the Royvue Apartments is fine the way it is and now seeks landmark protections to keep it that way.

Eugenia Woo with Historic Seattle is consulting with the group and shares their worry that “the city is losing its identity.”

“This city has always been known for its character and that distinguishes us. It’s ok to have good new designs but unfortunately most of what’s being built is not so great,” she said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill beer maker Elysian’s summer plans include new Pride party, overhauled brewery

Elysian Brewing Company

(Image: Elysian Brewery)

Capitol Hill’s Elysian Brewery is stepping up with a bigger party during the neighborhood’s annual Pride festivities this summer before taking a brewing break for a major overhaul of its E Pike beer making facility.

A June 23rd Pride Saturday beer garden will join the gardens around Pike/Pine include outside the Wildrose and The Cuff with a portion of proceeds benefitting Seattle Pride.

“We were so excited, we hugged and there were tears,” Elysian’s Beth Goldfinger said about the moment the sponsorship opportunity came together.

June will be a big month for the pub and brewery. On June 1st, Elysian will host a party celebrating its annual “Glitter is Pride Ale” release. Following the June events, Elysian’s E Pike brewery is getting a complete overhaul so the company can level-up production.

Elysian joined what is called the “craft” wing of Anheuser-Busch InBev when they were purchased by the beer giant in 2015. The move that galvanized their share of market in 13 national markets and expanded it to almost all 50 states but according to Elysian co-founder Joe Bisacca, the new ownership moved forward with select companies it could rely on for their expertise and to be autonomous. Last year saw an investment in upgrading the pub and restaurant experience at Elysian. In the meantime, Redhook, another AB InBev acquisition, has focused its production fully on its Capitol Hill home a few blocks away from the Elysian.

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10 conversations from the District 3 Mandatory Housing Affordability open house

The process to shape new zoning that will raise some building heights and introduce new affordability requirements for development around Capitol Hill and other dense Seattle neighborhoods came to District 3 last week as Washington Hall hosted a Mandatory Housing Affordability open house. CHS was there to hear what attendees had to say about the plan, questions, and what City Hall reps had to say about the proposals that are hoped to be the next big step in Seattle’s efforts to create a new surge of affordable housing production in the city.

The process will culminate on April 16 at Broadway Performance Hall for a public hearing before the City Council finalizes its legislation.

District 3 and District 7 MHA Public Hearing

You can submit your comments via email citywidemha@seattle.gov. No rush. You have until July.

Bill Bradburd, 20-year Seattle resident, a former candidate for the City Council, and a frequent critic of City Hall status quo said he came out to “see what the city’s dog and pony show was all about.”

Ed Murray, Mike O’Brien,Vulcan representatives and the non-profit housing industry came up with this plan of upzoning everything everywhere in exchange for these low fees,” Brafburd said. “The developers signed on because the fees are low, unlike San Francisco,” the plan critic continued. “The non-profits signed on because they’re the ones getting all the money to build this stuff. So all this cheerleading of HALA happens.”

“Most new housing in Seattle is replacing one-story retail or parking lots so there’s very little physical displacements especially on Capitol Hill and MHA is going to let us build slightly taller slightly more densely, which will push down rents –- that’s what the theory and study say and then the city will get MHA money to build affordable housing in our neighborhood,” Zach Lubarsky, a technology worker and member of the Capitol Hill Renters Initiative (and a CHS reader!) said. “Development without displacement is a net good in my view.”

We heard more from Bradburd, Lubarsky, and others and share more of their conversations below. Continue reading

From shadow of the Space Needle to Capitol Hill, Inform Interiors to join Blu Dot on E Pine

The overhauled former home of a longtime Capitol Hill vintage and design store will be home to not one but two new furniture retailers.

Seattle furniture boutique Inform Interiors is moving up the Hill to Bellevue and Pine to join “contemporary furniture” retailer Blu Dot with its coming soon Capitol Hill showroom in the historic Colman Automotive building.

“We’re excited to be moving to a more vibrant area but we know everything is an adjustment,” Inform sales manager Hillary Rielly.

Their once low-key home on Dexter is now lined up for redevelopment by Vulcan which prompted owner Allison Mills to look for a new interior for her interiors. Inform plans to open the new showroom by the first week of May in the renovated auto row-era building, a space with triple their current square footage. Continue reading

The 2018 Special Olympics are coming to Capitol Hill

Seattle University will be a key venue this summer as the Special Olympics come to the 12th Ave campus.

The school is slated to help host the 50th Anniversary of the Special Olympic Games. In July, more than 4,000 athletes will participate in 14 different sports throughout the Seattle region, including basketball and soccer events at Seattle U’s Championship Field and Connolly Complex.

“People probably underestimate the capabilities people with intellectual disability have –- that perceived gap really isn’t there. You will find within the intellectual disability community, there are more things alike than different,” said Jaymelina Esmele, a Special Olympics representative.


2018 Special Olympics Venues in Seattle

  • Seattle University: Basketball, Soccer
  • University of Washington: Basketball, Bocce, Flag Football
  • Seattle Pacific University: Gymnastics

Intellectual disability is the most common developmental disability and includes Fragile X
Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,
Apert Syndrome and others.

In one of the largest sporting events in Washington with an estimated 70,000 spectators, volunteer opportunities are plenty. Event and ongoing volunteer needs include data entry, sport coaching, and family support coordinators. The Special Olympics website lists events by area for anyone who wants to get involved. Seattle has over 10,000 volunteers lined up for the games but according to executive director Jayme Powers there is still a big need for medical professionals. Volunteers who work in the medical profession and therapeutic professions such as yoga are needed to assist athletes from the sideline as part of the program’s athlete health services. Continue reading

Seattle’s March for Our Lives fills Pine from Cal Anderson to downtown with calls for gun control and kids ready to vote

Tens of thousands of students, friends, and family filled Cal Anderson and then proceeded to fill two miles of Pine from the park to downtown Saturday as the March for Our Lives protest put faces to the growing call for more to be done to address gun violence.

“We are infuriated,” student activist Asher said from the stage as the crowd listened to speeches and waited for the march to the Seattle Center to begin.

Activists from the student group Youth 4 Peace took the stage with long-stem roses, tossing them down to the ground while naming casualties of gun violence. “We are not afraid,” said Elijiah, 18 years old, from South Seattle. “Before you write any bills, before you make any decisions on guns, think about your children,” he said. “Think about your grandchildren and think about their children because whatever you write now will effect generations to come.”

Seattle area students rallied on Capitol Hill Saturday to march for gun law reform, drawing thousands of sign wielding supporters. Community members and students filled the park’s Bobby Morris sports field by 10:30 AM with temperatures in the mid forties but under fortunately dry skies to hear speeches from student activists, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Voter registration efforts were underway throughout the crowd and a group of students symbolically registered to vote together on the stage, cheered on by thousands.

Naleah M. 15 – Spokane, Central Valley HS, “There was a school shooting in our district, it was put on lockdown. We shouldn’t have to worry about that while we are trying to learn.”

Yonathan D. – 17 – Lynnwood, Edmonds-Woodway HS, “I feel like coming here [will be] more impactful. It’s been 20yrs since Columbine, if we don’t do anything, who will?

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