A dozen Seattle Police officers will begin wearing cameras in East Precinct

UPDATE: SPD is also showing off its new uniforms. New vehicles coming, too. Mayor Murray already made the gay mayor, new police uniforms joke in the press conference so you don't have to.

UPDATE: SPD is also showing off its new uniforms. New vehicles coming, too. Mayor Murray already made the gay mayor, new police uniforms joke in the press conference so you don’t have to.

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Barring any last minute technological issues, a dozen East Precinct cops will begin wearing the department’s batch of test body cameras this weekend in a two to three-month trial of the technology that could eventually lead to full-time deployment across Seattle.

A Seattle Police Department spokesperson confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Seattle’s trial of two competing products is scheduled to begin over the weekend in the precinct covering Capitol Hill and the Central District. Continue reading

Philadelphia Fevre closes bringing 30 years of cheesesteaks to an end in the Central District

(Images: @jlunz via Twitter)

“Closed for business” (Images: @jlunz via Twitter)

2014 will go down as a sad year for legendary Central District restaurants as 23rd and Madison’s Philadelphia Fevre has served its last “authentic Philly-style” cheesesteak after 31 years of business.

Here’s the legend Philly Fevre ownership tells of the sandwich shop’s birth:

Philadelphia Fevre was started by Renee LeFevre in 1983.  Ms. LeFevre moved to the northwest from Philadelphia with an idea of starting the first authentic Philly steak shop in the Seattle area.  Renee was a stickler for Philly authenticity and tradition.  Through Renee’s leadership the restaurant quickly established itself as a favorite stop for east coast transplants homesick for an authentic Philly-style meal.  The restaurant received numerous awards and recognition for its great food and unique offering.  Ms. LeFevre created a strong base and long standing tradition that is still felt by many of the shop’s customers today…

B5Eyqc6CAAAnPKrCHS is working to have more on what lead to the closure and the history of the shop soon but it looks like the restaurant’s end was anticipated by its owners. The Fevre’s liquor license was discontinued earlier this fall, often a sign of a business winding itself down. But we hope to be able to report more on the circumstances later this week.

There is no word, yet, on anything lined up to take over the space. If you need to get your Fevre fix, you can visit sibling Philly Fever Restaurant and Bar on 3rd St. in Renton. We don’t know why the sister location opted to change her name from Fevre. Philly owners say they are looking for a new Seattle location in which to reopen.

The 23rd/Madison shop’s closure follows this summer’s end of Catfish Corner which shuttered at MLK and Cherry after 30 years of business. That restaurant space remains empty.

#blacklivesmatter: A look at the covenants on Capitol Hill

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“The Communist Party Newspaper, New World, published articles attacking racial restrictive covenants in 1948″ — Racial Restrictive Covenants: Enforcing Neighborhood Segregation in Seattle

In 1927, a small group of white homeowners on Capitol Hill had a problem: How to keep the Central District’s black population corralled to the “ghetto” south of Madison.

Gone were the days when whites could simply pass a law prohibiting blacks from moving into their neighborhoods. The Supreme Court had ruled such restrictive ordinances unconstitutional 10 years earlier.

So some of Capitol Hill’s forefathers (and foremothers) discovered a work-around: They went door to door getting their white neighbors to sign a covenant promising not to sell or rent their houses to people of “negro Blood” for at least 21 years. The effort appears to have been lead by a group called the Capitol Hill Community Club. In 1947, the covenants covered 183 blocks around the neighborhood. Continue reading

City Hall committee has 20 questions on affordability for you to answer

In November, CHS introduced you to some of the Capitol Hill connections in the citizen body tasked by Mayor Ed Murray with producing an affordable housing plan for Seattle by spring 2015.

In addition to community meetings and City Hall updates, there is an effort underway to gather feedback from citizens about what affordable living really means. You can participate in this 20-question survey to add your experience to the dataset. Questions #8 and #9 are doozies!Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 4.06.46 PM

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You can learn more about the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee here.

On Monday, CHS examined the numbers around gentrification on Capitol Hill.

You can also talk with City Council members Sally Clark and Kshama Sawant at Thursday night’s Capitol Hill Community Council open house.

Future of a 6-story, mixed-use development at 23rd/Union rests in City Council decision

Architect Brian Runberg's speculative  layout plan for a new development at MidTown Center (Photo: CHS)

For the sake of community discussion, architect Brian Runberg speculated how a new development at MidTown Center might look. (Photo: CHS)

With one major development underway and signs that Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop is here to stay, the area around 23rd Ave and E Union is poised for big changes in 2015. But the future of the intersection’s largest property remains somewhat uncertain.

Since the 1940s, Tom Bangasser’s family has owned the sprawling MidTown Center property, which includes a downsized Post Office and a handful of small businesses at 23rd and Union. In order to get the most out of selling the massive 106,000 square-foot property, Bangasser asked the City Council in 2013 to allow a future developer to build up to six stories on the site. The property is currently zoned for four stories.

On Tuesday the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee will discuss Bangasser’s proposal to up-zone his MidTown property. The committee is not expected to vote on the issue Tuesday. The current deadline for a vote is in January.

Council member Mike O’Brien has allowed Bangasser to push back the meeting for months to “allow a reasonable period of additional time to engage in continued dialogue regarding the MidTown property.”

A group of Central District residents, which had opposed the up-zone, is asking the council to tie a set of community priorities to the site not unlike the agreement forged by the Capitol Hill Champion for the the Capitol Hill light rail station site. Continue reading

Concern about gay bashing after 10th/John attack

Friends of a man who was assaulted and called “faggot” in an attack the victim says happened near E John and 10th Ave Sunday night around 8 PM say the victim lost several teeth and suffered scrapes and bruises in the unprovoked bashing.

According to the SPD report on the incident, the male victim told police he did not believe he was targeted because of his sexual orientation but also said he had not had any contact with the two male suspects and was not robbed during the incident:

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 10.15.47 AMThe suspects were described only as two white males and police were not notified of the crime until around 2 hours after it occurred.

Details of the attack have been spreading via social media but police are not currently investigating the incident as a hate crime.

“The attacker didn’t know the victim, so there’s not a guarantee they would’ve known he was a gay man,” said SPD spokesperson Detective Drew Fowler. “‘Faggot,’ at times, is used as a general pejorative.”

UPDATE (12/18): A commenter who says he was the victim in the incident said he does not believe he was targeted due to his sexual orientation, and thus does not consider the attack to be a hate crime.

The incident comes at the end of a year marked with renewed concerns in Seattle about gay bashing and bias crimes against LGBTQ people after a series of high profile and deadly crimes as well as more mundane but equally disturbing assaults.

Harvard Exit’s future is preservation-minded restaurant and office development

"machine of light and dream, harvard exit theater" (Image: davamoore via Flickr)

“machine of light and dream, harvard exit theater” (Image: davamoore via Flickr)

“Woman’s Century Club, Seattle, ca. 1925″ (Image:  MOHAI)

“Woman’s Century Club, Seattle, ca. 1925″ (Image: MOHAI)

The historic Harvard Exit building is here to stay, but its 46-year run as a movie theater will come to an end this January. The building’s new owner, developer Scott Shapiro, tells CHS he is planning a year-long overhaul to transform the twin-cinema’s interior into offices, a restaurant, and possibly a bar.

The Harvard Exit is a marquee property in the Harvard-Belmont Historic District, and the preservation-minded Shapiro said the 1925-built masonry exterior will remain completely intact.

“You’ll drive by and you wouldn’t notice any thing has changed,” Shapiro said, adding that he would uncover one row of currently boarded-up south-facing windows. “I love historic buildings, and if there’s a way to keep them and find a new use for them, that’s what I’m for.”

Shapiro tells CHS a restaurant or cafe will likely take over the building’s 1,500 square-foot lobby, while he envisioned a bar moving into the 2,200 square-foot basement. The rest of the building will become “creative offices,” including the two 5,000 square-foot theater spaces and two upper floors of existing offices. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Council looks ahead to 2015 with winter party

The Council also plans to unveil a new logo at Thursday's party (Image: CHCC)

The Council also plans to unveil a new logo at Thursday’s party (Image: CHCC)

If somebody gave you $1,000 to throw a party, what would you do with it? The civic-minded people of the Capitol Hill Community Council put theirs to work putting together a Winter Open House at the Cal Anderson Park Shelter this Thursday, December 18th at 6:30 PM. The event will provide an opportunity to meet community members and identify concerns and problems in order to build a stronger neighborhood.

“I believe that an engaged community is a first step in creating shared community,” Zachary Pullin, vice president of the Capitol Hill Community Council, tells CHS. Continue reading

Here’s why your friends in Montlake are extra cranky this week

(Image: WSDOT)

(Image: WSDOT)

The good news? “Nighttime activities are not planned between Dec. 24 and Jan. 4.” In the meantime, Montlake is going to be taking one for the team the next couple weeks as 520 Seattle-side replacement work gets hard and heavy. A bulletin from WSDOT on planned nighttime construction is below. You can learn more here. And, of course, be thankful they’re not trying to tunnel to Medina.

Upcoming construction activities in the Montlake Interchange area
Major construction kicks off this month around SR 520’s Montlake Boulevard interchange as part of the West Approach Bridge North Project (WABN). Crews plan to begin a variety of local street improvements, starting with the widening of the eastbound SR 520 ramps to and from Montlake Boulevard during the week of Dec. 15. Montlake-area improvements are designed to provide additional capacity on 520 ramps and local streets, and safer travel for bicyclists and pedestrians when WABN is complete. As construction plans are finalized and work proceeds in the Montlake area, additional notifications will be sent.

Noisy work expected during the night at SR 520 eastbound ramps

To widen the ramps, crews will perform work between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. on the following weeknights:

Monday, Dec. 15 – Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014
Monday, Dec. 22 – Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014
Monday – Thursday nights, Jan. 5 – Jan. 29, 2015
Note: Nighttime activities are not planned between Dec. 24 and Jan. 4.

Work includes site preparation, cutting through the roadway surface and installing drainage to prepare for future intersection modifications.

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Crews are performing this work at night in order to avoid disrupting weekday traffic. Nearby residents and businesses may hear noise and feel vibrations from the construction activities. All work involving noisy impact equipment, such as jackhammers, will occur before 10 p.m. as required by the city of Seattle temporary noise variance. In accordance with our construction contract and the city of Seattle noise variance, the work will be performed using construction best management practices and sequenced in a way to minimize noise as much as possible.