Chamber pulls back on plan to expand ‘Business Improvement Area’ and property assessments across Hill

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is pulling back on a years-long plan to expand a Business Improvement Area (BIA) property assessment that would provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for providing street clean-up and merchant support across the neighborhood.

In the announcement from the chamber’s executive committee, the group said it is “re-assessing how the BIA is organized at a larger level based on the changing political situation right now in Seattle.”

“[I]t is apparent that while the intent of the proposed BIA is for a stronger and better Capitol Hill, a shifting political reality in Seattle has made communities less trustful of how money is being spent,” the chamber announcement reads. “Seattle and Capitol Hill are very different places from when this proposal was crafted.” Continue reading

Blotter | Early morning SWAT raid at Capitol Hill house, Louisa Boren greenbelt death — UPDATE

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • SWAT raid: At least two people were taken into custody in an early Wednesday morning SWAT raid on a Capitol Hill house near 19th and E Howell. According to reports from people living in the area, booms from police explosive devices went off around 6 AM and an armored SWAT vehicle was parked in front of the house. Police were also attempting to communicate with someone inside the house using a loudspeaker. “Police are on bullhorn telling someone to come out and there were 2 big bangs,” one neighbor reported to CHS. The situation was reported as “secure” around 6:30 AM by a commander at the scene, per East Precinct radio dispatches. We’ll check with SPD to learn more about the raid. UPDATE: A spokesperson tells us SPD was not the lead agency on this morning’s raid and could provide no additional details about the arrests. UPDATE x2: No word on if it is related, but the Department of Justice announced it will hold an afternoon press conference with U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes and “other federal, state and local law enforcement leaders” for a briefing “on a major drug ring takedown involving more than 45 locations and 500 officers today in King, Pierce, Skagit, Thurston and Snohomish Counties.” “Today’s actions follow a series of drug trafficking investigations that have taken dozens of conspirators off the street, in an effort to address drug and attendant violent crime patterns in the Puget Sound Region,” the announcement reads. UPDATE x3: We’re still trying to confirm who was taken into custody this morning but the DOJ announced 35 people were arrested on drug and gun crimes in a series of FBI-led operations. “In the fourth major drug trafficking ring takedown in as many months, federal, state and local law enforcement officers fanned out across King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit and Thurston Counties to execute search warrants and arrest more than 35 members of a drug trafficking organization, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. Today’s arrests are the fourth takedown in a series of cases aimed at reducing drug and gang violence in Seattle, South King and North Pierce Counties.” UPDATE x4: We have confirmed that the raid was part of the federal drug and gun sweep.
  • Greenbelt rescue: Seattle Fire and Seattle Police made their way deep into the overgrown greenbelt below the Louisa Boren Lookout park early Wednesday after a 911 caller reported his friend was unconscious, and unresponsive at a campsite in the leafy ravine. According to East Precinct dispatches, officers located the site just after 6 AM about 1,000 yards down the steep trail below the overlook near a tree marked “Dead End.” Seattle Fire began life saving procedures on the unconscious male and he was taken back up the trail to Harborview. We do not have further information on his condition at this time. A chaplain was called to Harborview, according to Seattle Fire radio. Metro route 10 service was disrupted as police closed off E Garfield for Seattle Fire vehicles during the response. UPDATE: Seattle Fire tells us the victim, a male in his 20s, died at the scene.

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Police take man in reported drug crisis into custody after struggle inside Capitol Hill elementary school gym

It took four officers to subdue a man high on drugs and suffering a crisis who fought with Seattle Police after making his way inside a Capitol Hill elementary school Tuesday morning, according to emergency dispatch reports.

SPD was first contacted about the man behaving erratically outside the 19th Ave E side of the campus around 8 AM as parents dropped off kids for the school day. Just before 9 AM, the arriving officer put out a call for “fast backup” assistance as he struggled to take the man into custody inside the school’s gymnasium, according to East Precinct radio reports. Continue reading

OK, this time pizza *really* is coming to 19th Ave E as Zeeks Capitol Hill plans take shape

(Image: Zeeks Pizza)

19th Ave E continues to be a busy spot in Capitol Hill food and drink as another slice is falling into place along the redevelopment-reinvigorated artery connecting several area schools and some of the neighborhood’s wealthiest, leafiest streets.

Zeeks Pizza Capitol Hill is lined up to anchor the street level retail space at The Shea, a 33-unit mixed-use development planned to complete construction this summer. It will be the Puget Sound-area pizza chain’s 14th location. The restaurant space will stretch from E Mercer along 19th Ave E and will neighbor street longtimer Monsoon. Continue reading

Mayor continues neighborhood focus with Saturday town hall on Capitol Hill

One of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s campaign promises was to be more responsive to Seattle’s neighborhoods. Saturday, the mayor will come to 19th Ave E for a community meeting that promises “to bring City Hall to Capitol Hill.”

Saturday afternoon’s Durkan town hall will feature the mayor sharing “her vision of how our communities can work together to create a more affordable, vibrant, and inclusive Seattle.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan Town Hall

Continue reading

District 3 community street improvements — including new Olive Way I-5 offramp crossing beacons — on the schedule for 2018

(Images: SDOT)

Last month, we took you inside the community-driven — and sometimes intensely personal — process by which citizens are helping shape a program to allocate small grants to improve neighborhood streets and parks around Capitol Hill and the Central District. The 2018 “Your Voice, Your Choice” process is underway to finalize a roster of future projects.

The 2017, batch, meanwhile, is ready to be built and some, like a new crosswalk on E Yesler Way at 17th Ave S near the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute are already in place. The city has created a new page to help track the projects. Here’s a look at the four improvements coming to District 3 this year. Continue reading

Last vestiges of the City in the Sky coming down at 19th and Mercer

(Image: CHS)

(Image: Pelican Bay Foundation)

A few years back, we said goodbye to 19th Ave E and E Mercer’s City in the Sky, but it never went completely away… until now.

Work is underway on the southern end of the old Pelican Bay Artists’ Building in the 600 block of 19th Ave E to “remove the existing displaced brick veneer and concrete stucco” from the wall “per the structural engineer’s recommendations,” according to permits filed with the city. The apartment and restaurant building — now home to Rocket Taco — is also getting some window work.

In 2014, the “3-D mural” representing a “Hopi Indian myth” was painted over but the old relief of the edges of “Turtle Island” remained as strange, beige mountain ranges and coastlines jutting out from the building’s wall. Engineers had recommended the heavy relief needed to be removed years ago. Time — and permits — finally came to get it done. Continue reading

Partnership puts Capitol Hill community center space to work as new Miller Annex Preschool

(Image: Michelle MacKinnon/CHS)

With funds and guidelines for raising early education competency and readiness for Seattle kids in-hand, the Seattle Preschool Program and Department of Education and Early Learning have teamed up with Seattle Parks to renovate a portion of the Miller Community Center and contract a high-quality provider to operate a preschool inside.

City representatives and Launch preschool officials welcomed a small handful of parents with their soon to be preschoolers on Tuesday for a short ribbon-cutting ceremony at Miller Annex Preschool. Launch, a Seattle nonprofit provider of before and after school programs, won the two-year proposal bid for the space in 2017. Continue reading

State budget deal brings more than $200M to power Capitol Hill projects including new Hugo House, County Doctor dental clinic

Coming soon: the Hugo House Writers Center on 11th Ave (Image: Weinstein A+U)

While Washington D.C. struggles to keep the government open, our Washington has sorted things out enough to agree on a new $4.2 billion capital budget including nearly $1 billion for schools, and $205 million in funding for projects in our own 43rd District.

“Our top priority when we returned to Olympia last week was passing the state capital budget, which funds the construction and renovation of our schools, public health facilities and community projects,” 43rd District Sen. and Capitol Hill resident Jamie Pedersen wrote to constituents about the agreement. “The legislature adjourned in July with no enacted capital budget for the first time in living memory, because the Senate Republicans refused to bring it to a vote due to an unrelated dispute involving rural water wells.”

With the water squabble solvedGovernor Jay Inslee’s new budget includes nearly $2 billion for the construction of new school construction across the state. Pedersen also points out $106 million in the budget earmarked for the Housing Trust Fund, “the second-highest such investment in state history.”

The new budget helps push a handful of Capitol Hill area projects forward. Continue reading

Behind the Tully’s Capitol Hill closure: the lawsuit, the taxes, the what’s next rumors

No, the property hasn’t (yet) been sold to a developer but, yes, the financial issues surrounding the closure of the Tully’s coffee after 20 years at 19th and Aloha go much deeper than a lost lease.

CHS broke the news on the coming closure for the popular neighborhood hangout in mid-November. We documented more than $300,000 owed in taxes to the state of Washington and decisions including a $102,000 judgment for unpaid rent on the company’s Western Ave offices. It turns out, the company owes much more. By the end of the month, the Tully’s across the street from St. Joe’s and a few blocks from the Holy Names Academy was closed for good. Along the way, Global Baristas, the company that took over the struggling chain, never responded to our requests for more information on the closure and chair Michael Avenatti blocked us on Twitter. Continue reading