For first time, 206 Zulu Park Jams make Capitol Hill stop

13320010_10208439208153407_1791696448705913684_n (1)With Capitol Hill Block Party 2016 passed, this weekend brings free music to Cal Anderson Park. Attendees will be able to enjoy the “the four elements” — DJing, breakdancing, emceeing, and graffiti art not filtered through the Pike/Pine scene.

Sunday evening, Cal Anderson will play host to local DJs, musicians, and visual artists as part of its turn to host a 206 Zulu Park Jam. The jam is organized by nonprofit volunteer organization 206 Zulu, the Seattle branch of a group started in the 70s to bring live music, particularly hip hop, to parks as a way to create a safe place for young people in the Bronx. Zulu has since extended its mission to providing family-friendly music and arts programming in cities throughout the United States. Continue reading

Dog sickened after eating rat poison in Cal Anderson Park

A Capitol Hill dog was sickened Tuesday after eating what appears to be rat poison left near the playground in Cal Anderson Park.

Eva Gisellse tells CHS she was walking her dog Data in the park around 6 PM on Monday when the blue heeler ate an unknown substance. After Data became sick Tuesday morning, Gisellse retrieved the green substance and took her dog to Urban Animal at Broadway and E Thomas.

An Urban Animal spokesperson told CHS the substance was almost certainly rat poison, but veterinarians are awaiting final test results for confirmation. Thankfully, Data is recovering in her Capitol Hill apartment.

“We recommend that anyone walking a dog in the area makes sure it does not eat anything off the ground,” said Jen Pohlman, operations manager at Urban Animal. Of course, the same goes for humans.

UPDATE (7/20): After being notified of the incident, Seattle Parks had its pest control contractor check the roughly 20 rat poison traps that were set around Cal Anderson Park earlier this year. According to Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch, there was no evidence of tampering on the traps, which are designed to keep poison away from dogs and children. “All of the traps were locked and all of the traps have been regularly serviced,” she said.

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Here’s what group says a safe drug consumption site in Cal Anderson would look like

(Image: VOCAL Washington)

(Image: VOCAL Washington)

You can try to police your way through the mess of drugs in Seattle. You can also try to address some of the health and social issues around addiction head on. One solution advocates are hoping to bring to Seattle are safe consumption sites for drug users. VOCAL Washington’s tour of a mock safe consumption site around Seattle is making stops on Capitol Hill this week. Continue reading

Why Cal Anderson is Capitol Hill’s greatest Pokestop

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Capitol Hill is lousy with zubats and the people wandering around Capitol Hill looking at the world through their phones at Cal Anderson Park are probably playing Pokemon Go. It would be easy to write off the app as just another way our phones cause us to disengage from the surrounding world, but for many on Capitol Hill, the game is doing the opposite.

“It’s really getting a lot of people out of the house,” said Ryan Haney, who started playing because his friends seemed to be enjoying it so much. “I’ve lived in Seattle 10 years and through the game I’ve found new stuff — I found a lot of community parks I didn’t know existed.” Haney says he will continue to play for as long as his friends do, although the game and the server are both bare bones at the moment and he hopes the designers expand them soon. Continue reading

It’s time to sign up for Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day 2016 — Sunday, August 14th

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Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day 2016 is Sunday, August 14th
 — it’s time to add your sale to the roster.

You can sign up at or at the bottom of this post.

CHS and the Cal Anderson Park Alliance are again teaming up to host the Garage Sale Day Community Lot inside Cal Anderson Park.

Get your junk treasures together and sign up for the community sale (the $20 deposit goes to support the event and CAPA) or add your own yard or apartment or parking strip or dry cleaners parking lot ASAP!

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Seattle 4th of July weekend gun violence includes CD drive-by, Cal Anderson shots fired

It was nothing like Chicago where more than 30 people were reportedly shot in gunfire incidents over the 4th of July holiday, but Seattle experienced its own wave of gun violence over the weekend including a serious shooting near a homeless camping area in the ID and a bout of gunplay in Cal Anderson Park.

In the most serious incident, gun violence near a homeless camping area on Airport Way S sent a woman to the hospital with life threatening injuries Sunday night.

Seattle Police also said it took two firearms into possession over the weekend in shooting incidents around the city including a reported Saturday night drive-by near the Central District’s Judkins Park:


Witnesses called 911 at 8:45 PM Saturday night when they saw a man displaying a handgun in Judkins Park. Officers arriving in the area reported hearing multiple gunshots and seeing a white Lexus with no plates speeding away. Officers pursued the vehicle until it crashed into a fence at 14 Ave S. and S. State St. The driver attempted to flee the scene on foot, but was quickly caught by a K-9 unit. Officers searched the suspect and found a handgun. Officers booked the suspect into King County Jail.

East Precinct increased patrols across the Central District following a pair of weekend shootings in May.

Some of those booms on Capitol Hill over the weekend, meanwhile, were not fireworks. Police swarmed into Cal Anderson Park early Saturday morning around 2:30 AM after an officer reported hearing gunfire in the area. Multiple 911 callers also reported hearing around 10 shots near the park. Witnesses told police that two men were seen running and getting into a black Mercedes before driving away on 11th Ave following the shots. Police were not able to immediately locate the car.

The weekend gun violence comes in the wake of a Seattle Pride marred by a mass shooting in Orlando and stepped-up security around the city. Seattle is also considering longer-term solutions to attempt to curb gun violence. In June, Mayor Ed Murray announced a proposal for a test of gunshot detection technology in the city in “neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence, including the Central District and Rainier Valley.” A federal grant will pay for the project. The technology is unlikely to be deployed around Capitol Hill. Following last November’s drive-by shooting at Broadway and Pike, officials said that the detection technology wasn’t effective in noisy city environments.

Seattle Parks says 2016 Cal Anderson Independence Day Picnic a go

The route to saving Capitol Hill’s Independence Day picnic wasn’t pretty but it was apparently successful. Seattle Parks has announced that the 14th edition of the free community event will go on.

July 4th in Cal Anderson from noon to 4 PM, Parks and Rec has rallied to pull together free hot dogs for the first 500 people, a David Bowie Look-A-Like Contest, drag performance by Ms. Ryannah Doll, a Space Oddity Kids Costume Parade (“come dressed in your best outer space look”), face painting for kids, “and more!” Continue reading

Trans* Pride 2016 dances through the rain on Capitol Hill

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An incredible downpour didn’t stop Trans* Pride — but it definitely made more than a few people including Gender Justice League organizer Danni Askini consider calling it a night to head somewhere warm and dry. Instead, they danced:

Again in 2016, a few thousand members of the LGBTQ communities and their allies joined the Trans* Pride March, ending at Cal Anderson Park. This year, the event came under the shadow of violence both far — and right here on Capitol Hill. As volunteers scrambled to set up the Trans* Pride rally grounds in Cal Anderson, Askini answered questions and stood by beating victim Michael Volz who described a horrible assault Wednesday night by an anti-trans attacker. “Part of our efforts to do things like Trans Pride Seattle is to create community and solidarity so that people do not feel isolated,” Askini said at the media conference.

During the rally, District 3 representative Kshama Sawant recalled the start of Trans* Pride in Seattle. “I remember only 2013 I was a candidate for City Council running as a socialist. Everybody thought that was crazy,” Sawant said. “People also thought it was crazy that was there was the first year we had our first Trans* Pride march and rally. And there was not a single politician here.”

“This year we forced the Seattle City Council — the entire Council — to declare today officially as Trans* Pride Day.”

Friday night, marchers came to support each other, to be visible, and because some say Sunday’s official Seattle Pride parade is overcrowded, commercial, and exploitative. Continue reading

Installation of new cork-filled surface for Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris field to begin



It’s your last weekend to enjoy the turf at Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris field until later this summer — the fences will go up next Wednesday for the construction project to replace the playfield’s crumb rubber surface with a new experimental cork alternative. Here’s the announcement from Seattle Parks:

Seattle Parks and Recreation awarded the construction contract to replace the aging synthetic turf at Bobby Morris Playfield to FieldTurf USA. FieldTurf USA began preliminary work on June 10, and they will install construction fencing on June 22.  FieldTurf USA will be occupying parking spots on the west side of 11th Ave. adjacent to Cal Anderson Park to stage equipment. The project will be completed in early August 2016. The project includes new infill and testing, any structural repairs to curbing or base required, and new soccer goals and nets.

This pilot project will test the durability, safety, playability, maintainability and environmental health of a new synthetic turf infill material. Seattle Parks and Recreation has been looking for an alternate infill material for over three years. The industry is working to offer alternatives such as coconut fiber, minerals (light stone – zeolite), cork and Thermal Plastic Elastomer (TPE – a food grade inert plastic). Cork met Seattle Parks and Recreation’s playability, durability and safety criteria and has a reasonable cost. This pilot project will test the capabilities we believe cork has.

CHS reported on the $1 million, six to seven-week project in May. Crumb rubber fields have come under increasing scrutiny over health concerns that the recycled tires used as infill could be contaminating the fields. “We hope that it’s just as playable and durable and meets safety requirements,” project manager Jay Rood told CHS last month about the alternative being tried for the first time in Seattle. If the new cork and sand fill works out, Rood said the pilot program will be extended to artificial turf fields across the city.

Pride events that utilize the park will adjust accordingly this year. On the 24th, Trans* Pride will utilize the park’s grassy bowl before heading out to march while Capitol Hill Pride with Family Pride and Queer Youth Pride on the 25th will stretch out of Cal Anderson onto the E Denny “festival” street by Capitol Hill Station.

You can learn more at

On the List | HONK! Fest West brass band festival comes to Capitol Hill

Brass musicians march at a past HONK! Fest 4th of July show (Images: Mike Antares)

Brass musicians march at a past HONK! Fest 4th of July show (Images: Mike Antares)

HONK! Fest West is extending its reach to Capitol Hill.

The free outdoor music festival started in Seattle in 2008, and this year it runs from June 16 to 19 with a visit to Capitol Hill in the middle. Capitol Hill will have its day Friday with professional brass bands playing free live concerts at four locations on the Hill. Festival organizer Mike Antares estimates that about 26 bands will play on the Hill.

“HONK! Fest is about the accessibility of music, which is why they’re in parks, streets, and public spaces,” Antares said.

This is the first year that the festival has included Capitol Hill. Festival organizers were brainstorming earlier in the year about how to reach out to other communities in the Seattle area. “Capitol Hill was at the top of the list,” said Antares. Continue reading

Demolitions make way for Capitol Hill future, reveal Capitol Hill past

Revealed Remnant of Capitol Hill's Past

Early June became demolition season on Capitol Hill this week as three old buildings came down, raising clouds of musty dust and nostalgia in mostly equal measure. For the two most Capitol Hill memory-filled structures, we had some warning as the wrecking crews came for the old Broadway post office and the longtime 11th Ave home of Hugo House. Fewer knew about the impending doom that awaited the Emerald City Manor apartments on Boylston. But we’re guessing there might be some nostalgia floating in the dust over there, too. Continue reading

Seattle Parks not giving up hope on Cal Anderson Independence Day Picnic — UPDATE

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Seattle’s Parks and Rec isn’t giving up. But trying to pull together the 14th annual Cal Anderson Independence Day Picnic might be a losing battle.

Following an extremely sparsely attended community meeting earlier this week to rally support — and find an organizer — for this year’s picnic, the department says it hasn’t given up hope that someone will step forward and claim the $1,500 budget for supporting the community event. But candidates to pull the event together aren’t exactly lining up. A past organizer of the picnic, one of the few people who showed up at Tuesday’s meeting interested in possibly getting involved, has decided not to take on the project, Seattle Parks says.

The scramble follows the exit of longtime picnic organizer the Cal Anderson Park Alliance from the event. No formal statement has come from the advocacy group about its decision not to be responsible for organizing this year’s picnic. Recent budgets for the free picnic that has featured live music and free food and ice cream have come in around $15,000 CHS has been told. Groups including the Capitol Hill Community Council and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce have so far declined to be responsible for the event. The feedback: Nobody has time.

The $1,500 or so Seattle Parks can put up for the 2016 event would mean an extremely pared down event — if City Hall can find somebody to pull the party together. Watch for an announcement on the status of the picnic plan soon, a parks rep tells CHS.

UPDATE 6/10/2016: We’ve asked the Cal Anderson Park Alliance for more about the situation behind the scenes and the group has been working together to come up with a reply. Friday, CAPA sent out the lengthy statement below. Here’s the core. “It was a difficult but strategic decision for us to not produce the picnic,” the CAPA statement reads. “We know the community loves the event, as do we. We are deeply concerned about the condition of the Park, and we believe that any funding or staffing resources available through Seattle Parks & Recreation should be directed towards park maintenance and safety efforts and not a one-time 4-5 hour event.” Also — good news :) — CAPA will again be working with CHS on Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day in August. Watch for more on that soon.

The full statement is below.

A response from the Cal Anderson Park Alliance (CAPA) to the recent press releases and subsequent media stories about the July 4th Independence Day Picnic that we have historically produced in Cal Anderson Park.

We are concerned that these media stories do not accurately depict events that have taken place leading to our decision not to produce the picnic this year.

The Cal Anderson Park Alliance (CAPA) is a very small, yet dedicated group of community volunteers who work to activate Cal Anderson Park and advocate for the health and safety of the park. Over the years we have produced many events, including the July 4th Independence Day picnic for over a decade. We have also taken on the Capitol Hill Community Garage Sale and are responsible for the ping pong table that was in the park last summer. Of all the events we have produced, the July 4th picnic is the largest and requires the most time, effort and funding. Typically the picnic costs somewhere between $7500 -$15,000 and involves countless hours of volunteer effort and many in-kind donations from local small businesses.

At the end of 2015, as we assessed the growing needs of the park and concerns from the community about park safety and maintenance, we decided not to produce the July 4th picnic and rather to focus our limited bandwidth on advocacy for the park. To give ample time for the community to find an alternative coordinating group, in January of 2016 we notified Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR), the Capitol Hill Chamber, Capitol Hill Housing, and the Capitol Hill Community Council. None of these organizations were able to dedicate the resources to produce and plan this event either, but understood our decision.

We were quite surprised Friday, June 3 to receive a forwarded press release about the July 4th Picnic. No member of CAPA was given any notice this release was going out. At no time in the last six months were we told that SPR was willing to dedicate any staff time or funding for this event.

If SPR had been willing this past winter to help with the planning efforts or provide any funding, we might have reconsidered our decision and might have felt more able to balance planning a July 4th picnic with the need to focus on advocacy. Other community partners might also have felt more able to take over planning when we alerted them of our decision and invited them to consider producing the picnic No support was offered to us or to any other organizations (to our knowledge) to help plan the picnic. In fact, we do not receive any ongoing funding from SPR. To fund our efforts in the past, we have written successful grants to the Department of Neighborhoods and have raised money through sponsorship and collaboration with other neighborhood organizations (including benefiting from past Only in Seattle grant funding) as well as generous in-kind donations from local businesses to accomplish our work. We have always had to raise and secure our own funding to produce the picnic and any other CAPA-produced events in the park.

Over the past few months, during the period in which we would typically be spending many hours planning and fundraising for the four to five hour-long July 4th event, we have instead been able to focus on community concerns in the park such as the water issues in the reflecting pool, graffiti and ongoing park maintenance, which continues to be an issue. Also we have been working with community partners to advocate for the continuation of the “Summer of Safety” program which would include funding for park concierges this summer. Staffing and maintenance of the park are serious concerns as Cal Anderson Park is highly utilized by the community and continues to have disparities in investment compared to other high-use city parks like Westlake and Occidental. We are also working with neighborhood organizations (Capitol Hill Housing, Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, Capitol Hill Champion, Capitol Hill Community Council) on next steps needed to gather support and funds to move forward with implementation of recommendations from the City-funded Cal Anderson Park Lighting Master Plan (completed December 2015) to help make Cal Anderson Park more enjoyable and safe year-round. Finally, we have recently opened a dialogue with the new Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, Jesús Aguirre.

It was a difficult but strategic decision for us to not produce the picnic. We know the community loves the event, as do we. We are deeply concerned about the condition of the Park, and we believe that any funding or staffing resources available through Seattle Parks & Recreation should be directed towards park maintenance and safety efforts and not a one-time 4-5 hour event.

We ask our neighbors and community members to consider volunteering with us. As the advocacy needs of Cal Anderson Park grow, we need to grow the Alliance. We know there are many of you reading this who not only enjoy spending time in the park, but also care about the park and recognize it is a vital and vibrant part of Capitol Hill. Please help us expand our efforts as volunteer advocates, ambassadors and stewards of Cal Anderson Park.

Thank you,
The Cal Anderson Park Alliance

UPDATE 6/16/2016: Seattle Parks has joined the great Capitol Hill Independence Day “press release” battle of 2016 with this announcement *not* that the 4th of July picnic is happening, but that the planning for the 4th of July picnic is happening… which we guess is better news for picnic fans than the planning is not happening, right?

Planning for the 2016 Capitol Hill Independence Day Community Picnic to proceed

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is grateful to report that a number of individuals have offered to help plan the annual Capitol Hill Independence Day Community Picnic at Cal Anderson Park. The Picnic is a signatureJuly 4 event for Cal Anderson Park and the Capitol Hill community.  SPR is optimistic that an enjoyable community event will be able to take place this July 4, though on a lesser scale than in recent years. The traditional time for the picnic has been noon – 4 p.m. at Cal Anderson Park (1635 11th Ave.).

SPR recently reached out to the greater Capitol Hill community to invite community participation in helping to plan the event. The Planning Committee received pledges of donations in addition to volunteers committing time to help with this year’s event. With this support, along with a one-time funding contribution from SPR, the picnic currently has a budget of just over $4,000, an amount sufficient to have a modest, yet enjoyable event with live music.

The planning committee is hopeful there may be other donors willing to contribute, which would allow additional components to be added to this year’s picnic. Anyone interested in contributing to planning efforts, including contributing donations or in-kind resources, or volunteering time on the day of the event, should contact Randy Wiger, Seattle Parks and Recreation at 206-684-0775 or Financial donations will be handled through a 501c3 non-profit partner organization.