Why did the Cal Anderson duck pool turn red?

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

There is a lot of water testing going on around here these days. Seattle Parks officials tell CHS they’re working to figure out why the Cal Anderson reflection pool water has taken on a red hue. If it turned purple this week, there would be no questions. But apparently water testing is needed to figure out what, exactly, is plaguing the duck-friendly pool. “Our crews will take a sample to have the water tested this week,” a spokesperson said. “Once we have results, we will develop a plan to drain, clean and refill the pool.”

While a working reservoir still lurks below Cal Anderson (CHS wrote about it here in 2015 when the facility was due for a cleaning), the reflecting pool next to the pump house is purely for aesthetic. There has been a reservoir at the site for 115 years. After the state mandated that Seattle’s open water sources needed to be covered in the early 1990s, community groups helped lead an effort to cap the reservoir with a park. The ripple pool and water mountain have become an iconic element of the neighborhood. But a murky red pool? Not as much.
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The Goat Man of Capitol Hill wants to save the planet

Erick Rock Club and his goat Deer would very much like you to come to the Earth Day festival he has been planning for months Friday afternoon in Cal Anderson. But he’s pretty sure you won’t. And not just because of short notice.

“I’ve been walking around with this goat trying to tell them about this Earth Day festival,” Erick told CHS earlier today. “People are too busy. They keep walking.”

With a threat of rain, Erick said Cal Anderson might not work out and maybe he’ll need to move the music and gathering he hopes comes together to someplace out of the drizzle — maybe the entrance to Capitol Hill Station, he says.

It turns out the man with the goat has a lot of vision and a lot to say about the way the world works and the people who are too busy to talk to him about Earth Day. CHS walked by plenty of times — We should have asked him about the Earth Day festival earlier.

Over the past six months, Erick and Deer have been come part of the Capitol Hill legend. Drunken packs of bros and woo girls pay a buck to pet Deer in the midst of crowded nights in Pike/Pine. The money is mostly inconsequential. Erick says he received regular government support because of his disability from a brain injury as a child. Erick and Deer live in his van, moving around the neighborhood and city as needed. He puts what money he can and all of his energy into an organization he formed called the Rock Club Foundation, “created to empower the people by encouraging creativity, igniting passion and spreading love.”

Erick and Deer's "goat fun me" page

Erick and Deer’s “goat fun me” page

Erick hoped things like the Earth Day festival and a Free Day Market he works on every Sunday with Food Not Bombs down near the Cascade Playground would help him start to make the changes he wants to see so badly in the world. The Bernie Sanders campaign, he says, also offers hope.

But it probably won’t be enough to keep him on Capitol Hill and in Seattle.

“I’m leaving Seattle. Because Seattle doesn’t care,” Erick said Friday. “What do I have to do? Climb a tree?”

Erick said he is making plans for moving on now that April 22nd has come and almost gone.

“The whole reason I have this goat is to tell people about my organization to try to make the world a better place. All I’m trying to do is save the planet.”

You can learn more and connect with Erick on the Rock Club Foundation Facebook page. There is also a “goat fun me” fundraising page if you’d like to give him a few bucks without bugging Deer.

Say goodbye to Hugo House’s old Capitol Hill home with party where you can write on its walls

Your 2016 calendar is filling up but make sure to leave a mark for the going away party for an old friend. Hugo House has announced details of its May 7th Epilogue/Prologue party:

It’s the end of one story and the beginning of another. Come to the last party at the current Hugo House to celebrate your time here and look toward the future. We have plenty in store for you.

Have a beer or wine on us (if you RSVP below)
See mock-ups of the new building
Browse through a gallery of photos from great times at Hugo House (since 1997)
Snag food from a food truck
Meet new people and spend time with old friends
Confess your Hugo House stories in a confession booth
Take photos with friends in our writerly photobooth
And, best, of all:Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.39.59 AM

No, this isn’t a cliché—we actually want you to write your poems and stories and anything you want on almost every wall of Hugo House. Then we’ll send you an ebook of excerpts from the wall and photos from the night.

You can learn more and RSVP here.

In January, CHS reported on Hugo House’s plans for an interim home on First Hill before its 2018 return to 10th Ave in its new mixed-use home. The old Hugo House will be demolished later his year to make way for a new six-story, apartment development that will include a new 10,000 square-foot writing center. More than 100 years old, the one time Manning’s Funeral Parlor was deemed unworthy of landmark status in 2013.

Meanwhile, V2, a new creative arts space and facility is busy making over the old Value Village building before its planned development in 2017.

CHS Pics | Cal Anderson egg hunt feels the (Easter) Bun

Happy spring. Before the big kids spilled into the park searching for answers about who will next lead the United States, the little ones showed them how it was done with an efficient, thorough, and mostly polite running of the annual Cal Anderson spring egg hunt Saturday morning.

In its fourth year in Capitol Hill’s central park, the Seattle Parks event this year shared a day with the Washington State caucus and Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris playfield with groups of caucus-goers whose precincts had to be assigned portions of the park after Century Ballroom and the Odd Fellows building quickly reached capacity.

More pictures, below. Continue reading

Capitol Hill 2016 egg hunts — Here comes the Spring Bunny

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill is a little preoccupied with a holiday of another sort this month so forgive us if we haven’t given an early Easter much thought. The good news is Seattle Parks has been planning and is ready to bring the fourth annual spring egg hunt to Cal Anderson on March 26th. Details on the hunt and a few more around the Hill, below. Here’s what it looked like in 2015 with the Spring Bunny and DJ keeping things hopping in Cal Anderson.

4th Annual Cal Anderson Spring Egg Hunt
What: Bring a bag or basket to hunt for eggs. Ages: 11 and under Location: Cal Anderson Park Time: 10 a.m. sharp, arrive by 9:45 a.m., March 26 Cost: Free
Join Seattle Parks and Recreation for our 4th Annual Spring Egg hunt at Cal Anderson Park. for ages 0-11 we will have Starbucks coffee while supplies last, face painting, Peddle head bike station, Stem pathways demos, the Spring Bunny will be out walking around and of course Eggs and prize baskets!

Mighty Mites “Egg” stravaganza
What: Egg hunt, play equipment, bounce house and other fun activities. Ages: Five and under Location: Miller Community Center Time: 10 a.m. to noon, egg hunt at 11 a.m. sharp, March 24 Cost: Free

Montlake Spring Egg Hunt
What: Bring a bag or basket to hunt for eggs. Ages: One to 11 Location: Montlake Community Center Time: 10 a.m. sharp, arrive by 9:45 a.m., March 26 Cost: Free

Meanwhile, the folks at Grace Seattle are hosting a hunt in Volunteer Park:

Grace Seattle Volunteer Park Easter Egg Hunt
What: Meet on the lawn of the Seattle Asian Art Museum and bring your friends, neighbors and a basket to collect candy and prize filled eggs. Time: Saturday, March 26 — 10 AM Cost: Free

You can learn more about egg hunts from Seattle Parks across the city here.

RIP, Cal Anderson bigleaf maple

"Wind storm knocks over tree on Capitol Hill Cal Anderson Park, Man stripped bare and climbs." (Image: @timdurkan via Twitter)

“Wind storm knocks over tree on Capitol Hill Cal Anderson Park, Man stripped bare and climbs.” (Image: @timdurkan via Twitter)

Damaged on a windy night in October 2014, the bigleaf maple standing on the southwest corner of Cal Anderson Park was taken down and hauled away by a work crew this week.

Seattle Parks tells CHS the tree’s health had been declining for several years and had “a large lead over the sidewalk that was decayed and cracking.” The Parks Arboriculturist said the decay was in the main trunk as well as major dead branches in the canopy. Continue reading

Blotter | Police investigating after two nights of Cal Anderson gunpoint hold-ups

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

  • Gunpoint robberies reported: Seattle Police investigated two armed hold-ups around Cal Anderson Park over the weekend. Saturday night, officers surrounded the park after one unsuccessful gunpoint robbery but were not able to track the suspect down. The victim told police he was approached by the male suspect around 9:30 PM near the pumphouse end of the park’s reflection pool but refused the man’s demands even though he was armed with what appeared to be a black, semiautomatic handgun. Police searched the area but could find no trace of the suspect described as a black male in his 20s, around 5’8″, wearing black pants and a black hoodie with the hood cinched tightly over his face. Meanwhile, police were called to another reported armed robbery in the park just before 8 PM Friday. We don’t have any details yet in that incident but we’re told police believe the crimes were committed by the same person.
  • UPDATE — Pot cookie DUI: SPD has posted details of another incident we were looking into from the weekend. Not mentioned in the report — the gun involved was reported to be a .223 Short Barreled Rifle, according to East Precinct radio:
    Police arrested a man Saturday evening on Capitol Hill after his expired license plates caught the attention of officers, who soon discovered he was driving while high on marijuana cookies while transporting a felon and an illegally stowed firearm in his car.East precinct Anti-Crime Team officers were on patrol Saturday night when they spotted an SUV with expired plates driving near 10th Avenue and East Pike St.  Officers Matt Blackburn and Brian Sunderland, and Sgt Ben Morrison stopped the SUV and began speaking with the driver. Continue reading

How two bicycle cops recovered a stolen bike in Cal Anderson

Seattle Police this week shared a rare story of the recovery of a stolen bicycle in Cal Anderson Park — and, thanks to a hard-working website, the return of the bike to its thankful owner.

The story starts with officers on patrol inside the Capitol Hill park last Saturday:

Officer Drew Fowler, a long-time cycling enthusiast, asked the man about his pricey silver Cannondale, and became suspicious when the man said he’d bought it from a website for $400–about one-tenth of its retail value.

Officer Fowler (pictured right) and his partner Jose Silva asked the man if they could take a look at the bike’s serial number, and he obliged. Officer Fowler quickly signed up for an account on Bikeindex.org and discovered the bike’s owner had listed it as stolen.

Police say the suspect was booked into jail for investigation of the theft and referred the case to mental health court. SPD’s full account of the incident is here.

The Seattle Bike Blog points out three important lessons for Capitol Hill bike owners:

  • First, it is very hard to get someone on bike theft, but much easier to get someone on the lesser crime of possession of stolen property. Even when someone has a stolen bike and a set of bolt cutters in his backpack (as with this case), it’s still impossible to prove he was the person who stole it without witness or video/photo evidence of the theft itself.
  • Second, there is a gray area in the stop and search phase. In this case, SPD says the man gave the officer permission to look at the serial number. But what if he had said no? Simply appearing “sketchy” is not (and should not be) cause for a search. Perhaps this is where Bike Index can help again. If an officer runs the make and model of the suspicious bike on their phone and finds a stolen listing, should that be enough cause for a stop and search?
  • Third, recovering bikes is awesome, so thanks to Officer Fowler for seeing this one through.

Given how the Cal Anderson recovery played out, it also helps to have a recognizably awesome bike, apparently.

Check out bikeindex.org to register your ride. The most recently reported stolen bikes around Seattle are listed here.

Hugo House announces interim First Hill home until 2018 return to Capitol Hill

In December, CHS reported on the six-story, apartment development set to create a new 10,000 square-foot writing center home for Hugo House. Tuesday, the literary nonprofit and the Frye Art Museum announced Hugo House will move to First Hill during the demolition and construction:

“We love the Frye and are delighted to become partners in the Museum’s ongoing plan to build a cultural and intellectual anchor on First Hill,” said Hugo House Executive Director Tree Swenson. “Hugo House at the Frye keeps us close to Capitol Hill, which is central for our students, teachers, and so many people who attend our events. Visitors to our temporary home on First Hill will be pleased to find the same coziness and writerly atmosphere they’ve loved for years at the old Hugo House.”

The move to the Frye-owned building is planned to take place in “mid-2016.”

Hugo House's interim home (Image courtesy Hugo House)

Hugo House’s interim home (Image courtesy Hugo House)

“Hugo House will operate a full schedule of readings, classes, book launches, workshops, teen programs, and more at the Frye while its new building is being constructed,” according to the announcement. Hugo House will continue to offer “more than seventy classes per quarter” in the Frye’s building at Boren Avenue and Columbia.

Hugo House events will be moved to the Frye’s auditorium with Elliott Bay Book Company and the Sorrento Hotel also pitching in.

Hugo House announced it will also start new programs during its stay on First Hill including “manuscript consultations and writing-group matchmaking.”

The 11th Ave development project is planned to be open by 2018 and will have room for Hugo House classrooms, offices, performance spaces, and studios for writers as well as a street-level cafe.