In nod to Socialist Alternative Sawant, 43rd Democrats give no endorsement in District 3 race

It was a night for “non-establishment” candidates Tuesday as the 43rd District Democrats made their ritual endorsements in this year’s local elections, which included votes on six City Council races.

Democrats in the 43rd Legislative District, which includes Capitol Hill and downtown, made no endorsement in the Council District 3 race where de facto incumbent Kshama Sawant has disrupted an otherwise Democratic stronghold. The vote is a clear blow to the hopes of Sawant challengers including the Central District’s Pamela Banks, seen by many as the favorite to make it through August’s top-two primary after a raft of City Hall endorsements. The victory, of sorts, continues a string for the Socialist Alternative candidate. Sawant also brought out a swell of supporters and was the crowd favorite in last week’s District 3 candidates forum.

Other incumbents and “establishment” candidates also failed to get a nod during the event, although the vote only represents a tiny fraction of the most politically active Democrats.

As the non-Democrats in District 3, Sawant and Lee Carter were technically ineligible for an endorsement from the roughly 150 party members gathered inside the University Heights building in the U-District. Sawant supporters in the party, including King County Council member Larry Gossett, urged a “no endorsement” vote for the District 3 race as a procedural vote for Sawant. Continue reading

Five taken into custody after armed hold-up, beating at 11th/Olive — UPDATE

A group of teens and one possible adult suspect were taken into custody after an early morning armed robbery reported on the eastern edge of Cal Anderson Park.

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, at least two victims suffered facial injuries and were robbed near 11th Ave and E Olive St around 12:40 AM Wednesday. Witnesses said as many as eight or nine people could be seen fleeing the area southbound on 11th Ave after the holdup in which at least two guns were brandished.

A witness who heard the melee called 911 bringing police quickly to the scene.

UPDATE: SPD has posted a brief on the incident including details of the reported hold-up:

Several witnesses called 911 around 12:30 AM when they saw a group of teens assaulting a man and woman in Cal Anderson Park. One witness told police an armed teen had a gun pointed at him when approached the melee. The group of juveniles then fled the park before police and medics arrived.

The victims told officers they had been sitting in the park when the group of suspects approached them and offered to sell them drugs. When the victims rebuffed their offer, the juveniles punched and kicked them and pointed a gun at the victims before fleeing with the man’s cell phone.

A group of five males was spotted minutes later a few blocks away walking on Pike at Boylston. Police contacted the group and brought witnesses to the scene to identify the assailants.

Police took five males into custody — four juvenile males and an additional male suspect. Police recovered two guns — one was an air gun, the other was found to be a “real gun,” according to police radio. The five taken into custody were transported to East Precinct. Additional police units were called to the scene following a disturbance involving at least one of the males as the suspects were taken into custody.

UPDATE: Police say all five suspects are teenagers:

Officers found the suspects near Pike St and Harvard Ave and took them into custody. Officers found a handgun on one teen, a BB gun on another and the victim’s stolen cell-phone on a third suspect. Two of the suspects are 13-years-old, the others are 14, 16, and 17.

SPD says all five were booked into King County’s Youth Services Center for investigation of robbery. One of the 13-year-olds was also booked for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Seattle Fire was called to the scene to provide aid for the victims.

Pike/Pine businesses and community groups have voiced concerns about the annual warmer-weather spike in crime that typically plagues the areas around Cal Anderson and the neighborhood’s nightlife district but 2015, so far, has been relatively quiet. East Precinct has rolled out “emphasis patrols” and officials have said they plan to apply tactics used to quell street crime downtown.

Taking on the likes of La Marzocco, MAVAM Espresso crafting custom machines in Pike/Pine

As one longtime Pike/Pine coffee roaster plans an inter-neighborhood move, a business involved in another aspect of coffee manufacturing is making its debut just down the block.

“I wanted to build a machine that was designed by a technician, not an engineer”

Two well-established espresso experts quietly launched their custom commercial espresso machine business MAVAM Espresso last month underneath Vermillion on 11th Ave amid Pike/Pine’s fertile coffee roasting grounds.

MAVAM co-founder Michael Gregory Myers is no stranger to working under the hood of coffee shop espresso machines. He spends his days servicing coffee appliances as the second generation partner of Seattle’s Michaelo Espresso parts and service company.

For two years, Myers has spent his free time in the 11th Ave underground shop building a machine that comes as close as possible to maintaining perfect temperature stability. The key, he says, is ensuring that the machine’s boiler, piping, and head components all maintain an even temperature to ensure maximum consistency pour to pour.

As someone who spends his time servicing machines, Myers said designing an easily serviceable product was also a top priority.

“I wanted to build a machine that was designed by a technician, not an engineer,” he said. Continue reading

Testing, testing: First Hill Streetcar makes surprise Broadway appearance

(Image: @TheStreetcar via Twitter)

(Image: @TheStreetcar via Twitter)

Either the plan has changed or the First Hill Streetcar testing is ahead of its delayed schedule. Monday night, Broadway — apparently — had a surprise visitor.

“Did you see #TheStreetcar on Broadway last night? Low speed test completed as we continue startup prep,” the streetcar’s promotional Twitter account bragged.

(Image: @seattledot via Twitter)

(Image: @seattledot via Twitter)

“Hey All, Did you see Streetcar on Broadway last night?” SDOT’s account teased.

CHS didn’t see it. So it’s possible the First Hill Streetcar’s landing on Broadway was faked. But here’s what CHS wrote in March as we got a look at the new trains under construction and being prepared for testing at their International District trolley barn:

Don’t expect to see the streetcar on Broadway until very late in the testing process this summer. SDOT officials say the testing won’t make it up the Hill until there are three or four cars ready for service conditions. At that point, SDOT can begin a process of mimicking standard service. An official said at that point, the streetcar needs to perform as planned for about two weeks. Once it passes that test, the new trams — including our special hot pink car — will be ready for business.

There’s been no announcement of an acceleration in the plan to start service so we’re betting the low-speed test was just a little more ambitious than how planners described the process back in March. Continue reading

Hey Olympia, it’s Seattle teacher walkout day — UPDATE: Pictures!


(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_4647UPDATE: Thousands of Seattle teachers and supporters — including contingents from Garfield and NOVA high schools and Stevens and Lowell elementary schools plus plenty of kids who were probably happy to be marching in the street on a sunny day and not in class — rallied in downtown Seattle Tuesday afternoon to call on state lawmakers to improve Washington’s education funding.

With signs calling for a better education budget, smaller class sizes, and reduced spending on standardized testing, the crowd of teachers and supporters marched from Seattle Center to Westlake to call on legislators to better fund Washington schools.

In Olympia, the House and Senate are currently banging out a $1.3 billion and change education budget that would satisfy a court-mandated increase in funding. But even those massive totals won’t be enough to reduce class sizes to meet the requirements of voter approved Initiative 1351.

Senator Jamie Pedersen, a public school parent and Capitol Hill resident, was on hand Tuesday to support the walkout. He said the state’s education funding issues are part of a larger problem stemming from the reinstated 1% cap on property tax increases. Pedersen said the cap has eliminated more than $3 billion in potential funding. “The legislature in the 1970s dedicated the state portion of the property tax to K-12 education,” Pedersen said. “It’s the Tim Eyman initiative at the core of the funding shortage we have right now.” Continue reading

The Central District crowd rallies to help E Union pop-up Pocket Bakery build a permanent home

Grunig makes another sale (Image: CHS)

Grunig makes another sale (Image: CHS)

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 2.36.09 PMEvery Saturday for the past nine months you could find Josh Grunig selling a changing array of treats. He sets up shop from 10 AM to 1 PM in Magpie on E Union and 20th in the Central District and uses this very direct interaction with customers to hone his menu and get it “to a truly exemplary place.”

These Saturday morning “pop-ups” have been an opportunity for Grunig not only to expand his menu while helping raise his newborn daughter but also to create relationships with the businesses and residents of the Central District. He wants to give back to the “extremely supportive” neighborhood by providing a delicious food made from sustainably-grown, nutritional, local ingredients.

IMG_8154-600x400But frequent customers want access to his vegan sourdough, croissant-donuts, pistachio shortbread and cinnamon rolls for more than three hours a week, so Grunig has started a fundraiser to put his bakery in a brick-and-mortar home in the Central District.

CHS talked with Grunig last fall as he started his pop-up service. At the time, he was hoping to find a location within a few blocks of Magpie — possibly in new construction coming to the area. “There’s a huge amount of opportunity around Union,” Grunig said. “It’s really an opportunity for me to be in a real neighborhood.”

There appears to be plenty of support for the campaign based on the Community Sourced Capital system of crowdfunding in which investors can provide a no-interest loan to small business owners and organizations $50 at a time. The Pocket fundraiser launched on May 15th, and has already raised more than $8,000 of its $10,000 minimum goal.

The ultimate goal, Grunig says, is to raise “$50k for bakery equipment, furniture and all the small things needed to get open. Every little investment is one step closer to our goal.”

For more information on how to help Grunig get his bakery up and running, visit the Pocket Bakery Community Sourced Capital page.

Bike Notes | SDOT looking into bike rack thefts, new E Pine ‘conflict’ markings

"Thanks to simple bolts, @UrbanRacks A racks are easily stolen. #infrafail" (Image: @seawonkery via Instagram)

“Thanks to simple bolts, @UrbanRacks A racks are easily stolen. #infrafail” (Image: @seawonkery via Instagram)

  • Double check that bike rack: SDOT is looking into the problem with one variety of bike rack in use across Capitol Hill and the rest of Seattle. You can see evidence of what happened recently at the rack adjacent Montana’s streatery on E Olive Way. “The dude rode up on his bike, cut off the rail, rode the stolen bike away,” CHS is told about the full-rack heist. Then he returned on foot to retrieve his bike.” We’ve asked SDOT for more information on the issue and we’re told they’re working on it. Meanwhile, here’s a similar rip-off reported in West Seattle.
  • New markings: You may have noticed yet another new pavement marking joining the increasingly decorated streetscape of Capitol Hill. These new green hashes on E Pine as it crosses Boylston are intended to mark a possible “conflict area” in an effort to increase safety at the crossing. For more on the various markings you’ll find these days around Capitol Hill and beyond in Seattle, check out the National Association of City Transportation Officials guide to “colored bike facilities.”
(Image: @MattBaume via Twitter)

(Image: @MattBaume via Twitter)

Capitol Hill food+drink | Soi — the other ambitious restaurant project coming to 10th and Union

OK. We know who the oxpecker is — that’s Soi. But the big water buffalo in the coming soon E Union restaurant’s logo? That could be many things.

When it opens this summer, the ambitious, regionally-focused Thai restaurant will be part of a massive development and preservation project on E Union in the rapidly changing blocks just south of E Pike. Soi will also, some will undoubtedly believe, ride in on the back of the beast of hype that is the unnamed, triple-concepted Renee Erickson project focused on the “flavors of the French Atlantic” it will neighbor.

But the bird and water buffalo for husband and wife restaurateurs Gabe Wiborg and Yuie Helseth are simple representations of the northeastern Thai region of Isan at the center of their plans for Soi’s flavors. And the ambitious space in a major project was what the couple needed to stage their vision of “an exploration through food.”

“We wanted to do a restaurant like Soi in the beginning but Kent wasn’t the right place,” Wiborg said. “We had ambitious visions, ideas, and goals.” Continue reading

Beery good news: Central District’s Standard Brewing announces plans to expand on Jackson

(Image: CHS)

The Standard Brewing crew (Image: CHS)

In March, we stopped by to celebrate two years of the tiny Central District nano brewery:

It’s been 24 months since quietly opening the door at 25th and Jackson St with 8 taps and about 80 square feet of service area. Since then, we’ve expanded to 13 taps, doubled the space for folks to sit and drink, won a few awards, brewed over 60 different recipes, and shared a lot of good times with the neighborhood.

This week, the brew crew at Standard Brewing announced plans for an expansion that will septuple their beer output and add a bar space for enjoying the creations along with food and cocktails. Co-owner Justin Gerardy said the most important aspect as they planned the expansion was remaining in the Central District. “In our case, space is the constraint, but so are our ideals,” the Standard announcement reads. “Not wanting to leave the neighborhood leaves our options slim, but the choice to keep the brewery relatively small also affords us diversity and an experimental attitude.”

Gerardy said the expansion will play out over the summer with a project to overhaul the brewing facility coming first followed by Standard’s expansion into the neighboring Halal Mart to create space for the bar and kitchen.

Meanwhile, another Central Seattle beer project is moving forward at a deliberate pace on E Union at Broadway. This for the work underway at the under construction Optimism Brewing might be our favorite DPD permit in months:


CHS last checked in here on the Optimism project and its food truck courtyard as we said hello to 12th Ave’s Outer Planet Brewing.

The full Standard Brewing announcement — along with some behind the scenes notes on other locations Standard considered for a move including the former home of Catfish Corner — is below. Continue reading

CHS Crow | SIFF opening weekend edition at The Egytian including the first in line guy and Purple Mark

Perhaps the most telltale sign that it’s once again SIFF season on Capitol Hill are the lines of filmgoers. It has become a symbol of the annual festival to see the crowd winding down Pine and up Harvard. Meanwhile, 2015 will bring the last SIFF lines — sigh — to E Roy for the Harvard Exit’s swan song before redevelopment. Here are a few of the people we found in line this weekend. CHS roster of SIFF 2015 Capitol Hill highlights is here.

Coming out of Love & Devotion at The Egyptian Friday night

  Ralph and Dan

Ralph (center) and Dan (right), with their friend Kap (left)What brought you guys out to the festival tonight?
You know just a wild hair for tonight. Because it was beautiful out. I kind of forgot about the festival because I’d been traveling. But, now, luckily I caught it on the first night. I’m gonna see a lot more.

Dan: He sent me an email with three different movies to choose from and, I don’t know, that got us to here. I’m glad though, it was an excellent movie. Continue reading