First Hill Streetcar — ‘The start date is still not fixed’

It’s getting to the point where updates on when the First Hill Streetcar won’t start service are about as exciting as watching videos of the First Hill Streetcar being tested.

CHS stands undeterred.

“The start date is still not fixed as we need the manufacturer to complete this iterative process of testing and fine-tuning to safety-certify the vehicles before we can finalize our start-up activities,” read the last of three bullet points included in Scott Kubly’s streetcar portion of the SDOT director’s monthly status report delivered to the City Council’s transportation committee Tuesday morning.

“All streetcars for the First Hill Line have now been delivered, and the manufacturer is targeting the end of July for substantial completion of two cars that are still in final assembly here in Seattle,” bullet point one informs us. Friday is the 31st so workers at the line’s International District maintenance facility will be busy.

According to Kubly’s update, all that remains before service can begin on the ten-stop, 2.5-mile streetcar line from S Jackson and Occidental to Broadway and Denny Way connecting Pioneer Square, the ID, Little Saigon, First Hill and Capitol Hill is…. testing. “The critical path for the start of service is now the commissioning and testing process for the vehicles,” bullet point two said. Continue reading

The big Red Wall may be gone but Baso’s mural lives on (piece by piece)

(Image: Baso Fibonaci)

(Image: Baso Fibonaci)

With just about 220 days until Capitol Hill Station opens at Broadway and John, the Red Wall is gone. It’s been coming down for months. We told you about the organic, random, artist-by-artist decisions on what comes next for the various pieces of amazing public art that have been displayed on the wall.

The most iconic, most photographed work on the wall will live on, it turns out. But it will live on in pieces. And it could live on… on your wall.

Want a piece of the Big Red Wall? Go here

Want a piece of the Big Red Wall? Go here

Artist Baso Fibonacci is selling off eight by four-foot panels from his “Capitol Hill mural” for $500 a pop:

The mural that has graced the corner of 10th and John for the past 5 years has finally come down. We were able to salvage 7 pieces from the wall and are selling them for $500 each. Each piece is 8 by 4 ft. First come first serve.

“Email me to purchase one,” the artist adds. You can see the four remaining panels and learn more here.

The 24-foot by 120-foot self-portrait-with-owls mural that dominated most of the East John street stretch of the red wall since 2010 was designed by the local street artist and painted by Zach Rochstad and Japhy Witte.

Thanks to Matt for the tip!


Interim president appointed at Seattle Central College

Sheila Edwards Lange, new interim president of Seattle Central College (Image: Seattle Central)

Sheila Edwards Lange has been appointed interim president of Seattle Central College. She will assume her duties effective August 17.

The former president, Paul Killpatrick, stepped down at the end of June after five years at the helm of the institution.

In a press release, Seattle College District Chancellor Jill Wakefield said Lange’s “skills, experience, and dedication make her a perfect match for Seattle Central.”

Lange holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Washington, where she has also served as vice president and vice provost for minority affairs and diversity since 2007. Her UW bio hails her as a “force for diversity,” and notes her efforts to support diverse students and faculty at the university.

Prior to working at the UW, Lange worked at the Seattle College District, both at the main office and at the North Seattle location.  “I know the power of community colleges, I know how they transform lives … it’s a great place to work and be impactful in the community,” she told the Seattle Times.

A national search for a permanent president will start this fall.

Refresh Frozen Desserts and Espresso to restore Broadway’s fro-yo balance

Menchie’s can’t do it alone. Somehow, Broadway has survived the hottest summer in recorded CHS history with only one frozen yogurt provider. By August, forecasters say the Broadway frozen yogurt supply should be back to full strength — but this time with an independent provider in the mix.

In December, the Broadway location of the national Yogurtland shuttered. The space left behind by the chain will soon be home to Refresh Frozen Desserts and Espresso.

Bobby Gaon co-owns the new business with his wife and family members. He told CHS they snatched the space up as soon as it hit the market after another franchise player backed out, attracted by its close proximity to Seattle Central College.

The Broadway Building will see a summer of change for its tenant mix. Zpizza, another national franchise, is also planned to shutter and make way for something new in August.

Like Yogurtland, Refresh will serve frozen yogurt. The menu will also include “Italian ice, sorbets, soft serve custard and soft serve gelato” according to Gaon. Coffee sold at the store will be sourced from Kuma Coffee, a local direct trade roastery. The yogurt comes from Arkansas-based Honey Hills Farms. CHS pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of the frozen yogurt industry here when we talked to the owners behind the Broadway Menchie’s about their decision to work with a franchise.

The Refresh space is currently undergoing a $25,000 remodel. After it is completed, it will have an extended service counter, bar seating, and a graphic mural by a local artist.

Refresh is scheduled to open “early to mid” August.

You can learn more at

UPDATE: Oopsy! Forgot. There is anotherCrazyCherry still doing its thing just north of Dick’s.

Capitol Hill affordable night noshing update: RIP Po Dog, viva ‘Neon Sandwich’

Affordable housing is all well and good but what about affordable drunk food? We have two important pieces of breaking late-night noshing news to start the week.

  • (Images: CHS)

    (Images: CHS)

    RIP Po Dogs: A wiener empire that at one time stretched from E Union to Ballard to the University District has come to an end. Po Dogs announced over the weekend that it will close its original and last-standing brick-and-mortar location later this month:
    How amazing of a wiener life we’ve had since opening our doors 6 years ago. Developing some amazing friendships and a great regular customer base has made our everyday work life so amazingly enjoyable and we can’t thank you enough for sharing your lunches, dinners, and late night drunken/sober/happy/sad/celebratory hungry stomachs with us. It is with heartfelt love and gratitude for all of you that we are announcing our retirement as Seattle’s favorite brick and mortar wiener shop. We will be serving our last famous Po Dog wiener on Wednesday, July 15th and would love to see you all for a final farewell between now and then! We will be focusing on the catering side of our business and making room in our brick and mortar space for an amazing new concept! Seattle, we can’t THANK YOU enough for your support over the past 6 years. To all the mouths that our wieners have made so happy, maybe one of these days we will pop up for a surprise wienering in your office or at your wedding!
    Founder Laura Olson opened Po Dogs on E Union in fall 2009. By that winter, Olson was already gearing up for expansion in a flurry of activity that included the opening of Manhattan Drugs on 12th Ave. Almost as quickly, pieces of the new ventures began to be taken over or closed. The 2013 business implosion around E Olive Way nightclub The Social was also part of the boom and bust. Other components of the Olson empire including 11th Ave’s Grim’s have since been jettisoned. We don’t know yet what’s next for the Union location of Po Dogs — stay tuned.

  • Dimas (Image: CHS)

    Dimas (Image: CHS)

    Viva Neon Torta: With Montana’s neighboring walk-up counter graduating Kedai Makan to the old La Bete space around the corner, there is now space on E Olive Way for Rachel Marshall’s frequent food collaborator Monica Dimas to do her thing on the street. Neon Sandwich (final name TBD!) is coming later this year:
    Though Dimas is restoring Mexican street food to the one-time home of Tacos Gringos, her second location won’t sell tacos. She’s planning a menu of tortas, Mexico’s oblong sandwiches served on hearty, crusty buns called bolillos. Thus far she’s been too busy plotting her menu to finalize a name, but one possible moniker is Neon Sandwich. Dimas says her tortas won’t necessarily be bound to Mexican tradition. Some of the specials she’s run at Neon Taco will migrate over here, like a lamb torta with smoked poblanos, a pork belly and kimchi number, and one stuffed with smoked fish. The menu will be a concise list of about a half-dozen sandwiches, horchata with cold brew, and some agua frescas.
    Are you sure you wouldn’t rather call it Neon Torta, Monica? CHS talked with Dimas about Broadway’s Neon Taco earlier this year.

    (Image: Brandon Patoc)

    (Image: Brandon Patoc)

Four-story near Seattle U, four-story near Broadway Hill, four-story… everywhere

She's enjoying life at 1305 E Marion

She’s enjoying life, he’s still figuring it out at 1305 E Marion

Two more of those pesky four-story apartment buildings are slated to take the final step in the design review process Wednesday night. Information on the infill projects near Seattle U and Broadway Hill Park — plus a bonus item on an “administrative design review” later this week for a project at 10th and Aloha that inspired one of the best anti-development letters we’ve ever seen — below.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.08.34 PM1305 E Marion
Land Use Application to allow a 4-story structure containing 18 residential units and storage for 14 bicycles. No parking will be provided. Existing single family residence to be removed — View Design Proposal  (7 MB)    

Review Meeting: July 8, 2015 6:30 pm — Seattle University, 824 12th Ave , Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: REC–Recommendation  See All Reviews
Project Number: 3018035  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice
Planner: Carly Guillory

This project just a block from Seattle U will trade an old apartment building and a single family home for a new apartment building with a planned 18 studio units. Continue reading

As hundreds picket, Swedish pushes forward on major First Hill, Cherry Hill growth


Wednesday’s “thousand-member picket” targeted Swedish First Hill (Image:

Calls for more nurses and the improved benefits to attract them echoed through Broadway Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of hospital workers, union organizers, and a handful of elected officials staged a picket outside Swedish Hospital’s First Hill campus.

The picket came one day after another round of negotiations ended without a contract deal between SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and Swedish, one of the largest Central Area employers and owned allied with Providence Health Services.

Staffing levels at the hospital are among the major sticking points in negotiations. Swedish-Providence is seeking to hire some 1,600 nurses, positions the hospital says it’s been unable to fill with qualified workers due to a nationwide nursing shortage.

SEIU members say the hospital is unwilling to offer a wage and benefit package that would attract those nurses despite the fact the hospital banked $110 million last year. In the meantime, hospital workers say low staffing levels are hurting patients and creating untenable working conditions.

Speaking before the crowd, Mayor Ed Murray said he was concerned about the strained relationship between Swedish and its workers and called on the hospital to quickly resolve the dispute. June Altaras, Swedish’s chief executive of acute care, told CHS she hoped a new round of negotiations would start sometime this month. Council members Mike O’BrienBruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, and Jean Godden were also in attendance to support picketing workers. Continue reading

Sound Transit selects Pride flag as Capitol Hill Station icon


20150630_SignageThough it will be rendered only in blue and white, Sound Transit has selected a symbol of Gay Pride as the legally required identification icon for Broadways opening-soon Capitol Hill Station.

“Pictograms, as part of our overall general signage program, are not produced in color,” colorful Sound Transit spokesperson Bruce Gray regretfully informed CHS.

The new symbol was spotted by eagle-eyed @gordonwerner in Sound Transit’s latest project update newsletter. Sound Transit also announced that the Seattle-side line of light rail will be known as the Red Line while Eastside extensions will be known as the Blue Line.

The Pride-based icon was selected as part of a design and community feedback process designed to “create pictograms to identify Sound Transit Link light rail stations” that “serve as a tool to easily differentiate stations.” “This is important for non-English speaking audiences, particularly those that do not use a Roman alphabet,” a report on the process reads.

It’s choice comes in a summer of revival for the rainbow flag on Capitol Hill. While the flag continues as a ubiquitous symbol around the neighborhood every June for Pride, the addition of 11 rainbow crosswalks in Pike/Pine has represented a small restoration, for some, of the neighborhood’s eroding LGBTQ identity. For others, it’s a groovy photo op. You might expect a similar response for the Capitol Hill Station icon — though we wouldn’t mind holding the license for the branded blue Pride flag merchandise.

Art inside the station will be, well, kinda gay, too, with war+love machine Jet Kiss (Image: CHS)

Art inside the station will be, well, kinda gay, too, with war+love machine Jet Kiss (Image: CHS)

Continue reading

‘Thousand-member picket’ targets Swedish First Hill

"Swedish-Providence nurses & healthcare workers are getting ready to picket at @Swedish tomorrow!" -- @SEIU1199NW

“Swedish-Providence nurses & healthcare workers are getting ready to picket at @Swedish tomorrow!” — @SEIU1199NW

Broadway between Cherry and Columbia will be filled with around a thousand members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW in a rush-hour picket “for better staffing and improved investment in caregiver retention” targeting Swedish First Hill. The action is part of a day of pickets against Swedish-Providence campuses in the area including a noontime rally at Swedish Cherry Hill.

Organizers say the “thousand-member picket” at Swedish First Hill is slated to begin at 4 PM and will include a 5:15 PM rally “featuring elected officials, community leaders, and workers among the speakers.” Mayor Ed Murray, Council members Bruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, and Jean Godden are scheduled to speak while Mike O’Brien and Nick Licata are slated to join the picket.

Swedish-Providence nurses and healthcare workers are picketing on Wednesday, calling on the hospital, which made $110 million in profit last year, to put patients’ healthcare dollars into frontline care.  The 7,000 caregivers, united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, are taking action for better staffing and improved investment in caregiver retention in order to give patients the best quality care.

On Wednesday, lunchtime pickets at several Swedish-Providence campuses will be followed with a thousand-member picket at Swedish-First Hill at 4pm.  That rally will culminate in a rally at 5:15 featuring elected officials, community leaders, and workers among the speakers.

WHO: Swedish-Providence nurses and healthcare workers

WHAT: Rally and Picket for Quality Care and Good Jobs


Wednesday 7/1, 12 noon – 2pm, Swedish First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Issaquah, Edmonds –picketing.  County Executive Dow Constantine will join the First Hill picket at 12:45pm.

Wednesday 7/1, 4pm – 6:30pm, Swedish First Hill (Broadway between Cherry and Columbia, Seattle) –  Picketing with 5:15pm rally.  1,000+ workers and community supporters.  Featured rally speakers include Mayor Murray, Councilmembers Harrell, Sawant, Godden.  Councilmembers O’Brien and Licata will picket with workers around 4:30pm.

Organizers say Wednesday’s pickets are not a strike and will not affect patient care.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a CHS advertiser. The union has been in contract negotiations with Swedish-Providence since April. Swedish is the largest nonprofit healthcare provider in the Seattle area. In 2012, it completed its merger with Providence joining together “five Swedish hospital campuses and 27 Providence hospitals across five Western states.”

Armed bandit holds up Broadway post office

A brazen bandit walked into targeted Capitol Hill’s U.S. Post Office at Broadway and Denny around closing time Tuesday night and held the mail facility up for two days’ worth of cash, according to East Precinct radio dispatches.

Police were called to the post office just before 6 PM to a report that an armed robber had made off with cash and that the federal facility was put into lockdown following the holdup.

The suspect was described as a black male in his 20s, around 5’10” with a thin build, and wearing a white shirt and white shorts past his knees. He was last seen headed north in the alley between Harvard and Broadway, carrying a beige register bag with a lock on it.

UPDATE: SPD says the suspect held up a USPS driver on the loading dock as the victim left the facility:

As the complainant came out of the rear doors of the post office carrying a white canvas locked duffel bag he noticed a black male on foot on the sidewalk. As the complainant approached the rear of his truck the suspect quickly dashed up the stairs and pulled a black semi-automatic handgun from his waist band. The complainant had already lifted the rear door and had tossed the bag inside and was trying to lock the handle when the suspect pointed the gun at him and told him to give him the money. He also told the complainant not to lock the door. The complainant backed away from the door before he could lock the handle and told the suspect he did not lock it. The suspect opened the door and quickly reached in to grab the bag. After grabbing the bag the suspect jumped off the dock and ran west on E Denny Wy

The report also notes the suspect’s shirt may have had red stripes on the sleeves. There have been no arrests.