East Precinct’s 2014 picnic: free hot dogs, Hill crime spike concerns and larger questions around policing

Capt. Davis talks with East Precinct picnic attendees (Images: CHS)

Capt. Davis talks with East Precinct picnic attendees (Images: CHS)

IMG_9419Saturday’s annual East Precinct community picnic had a little more going on this year than just hot dogs. Held in Cal Anderson for the first time, the free hot dogs, information booths and chance to check out the bomb squad gear came as local Capitol Hill crime issues have come to a head again this summer and as larger issues around policing have emerged from the Ferguson protests.

East Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis was on hand along with top brass including Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.

Davis said questions about the militarization of police are worthy of debate but that the Seattle’s police force isn’t being armed by Homeland Security.IMG_9529

Chief O'Toole

Chief O’Toole

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Weekend mugging swarm has August shaping up as Capitol Hill’s most rob-biest month… ever

On a per capita basis, your odds for getting mugged on Capitol Hill probably peaked in the mid-90s but after a small swarm of street robberies around the Hill this weekend, August 2014 appears to be shaping up as the worst month in recent years for robbery in the East Precinct beats covering Capitol Hill.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 1.20.47 PM

This weekend pushed the month over the top with a roster of reports coming in:

  • 8/22 2:52 AM: Two males reportedly hit victim near Broadway Market QFC. Medics were declined. Victim lived nearby.
  • 8/23 1:32 AM: Victim found on sidewalk near Broadway/Pike, suspect last seen fleeing on the Harvard Market stairs. Suspects described only as “group of black males in their 20s.”
  • 8/23 1:55 AM: Report of fist fight at 11/Union turned out to be street robbery. Suspects ran northbound on 11th Ave described as three black males, all wearing beanies and shorts. Two adult male victims suffered head lacerations in the scuffle.
  • 8/23 3 AM: Suspect reportedly stole something from a female victim’s purse. She fell chasing the thief near 13th/Olive St. Her male counterpart told police he thought suspects fled to Cal Anderson. The perpetrator was described only as a “short, white male.”
  • 8/24 10:21 PM: E Pine near Harvard. Caller reported 10 people attempted a strong arm robbery, trying to take wallet out of victim’s hand and threatened him with knife but didn’t show. The group was described only as black males and female teens. The group was last seen leaving the area on Harvard.

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Bike-In movie night at Cal Anderson cranks up bike theme for 9th annual event

LhOzRGu4InH4Ln9OfiD7VvZcOxNjPqQ-lJ7xAb7KV-YszlrwhJ_k8xq6NVHgkVRaViS9pd6-ZZYt4l54gm57hI_oVb72OrSdj5s_EbbIUNJ9tlsKiupi-5p3UmFSiy58sMb4BUxiFX4lP4EsN9cuHtnNqCSYN1IkUxvK8wINLA2wdfWz2PIsa3l8xcoHaL8gNO85gFLjYqaeuGdAgUxuy4sBiking over to Cal Anderson Park on a warm August evening to take in an outdoor movie is practically a summer tradition on Capitol Hill. On Saturday, the Northwest Film Forum’s 9th annual Seattle Bike-In will be even bikey-er as it screens Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s bike chase thriller Premium Rush! as well as eight bike film shorts. The Bike-In is free and starts at dusk.

Meanwhile, regularly scheduled programming continues at Three Dollar Bill Cinema’s outdoor movies in Cal Anderson with Clueless this Friday. Here are more Bike-In details from NWFF:

Named as one of the reasons Pike/Pine belongs in the “Top 12 Art Places in America,” the Seattle Bike-In has become a staple of the summer outdoor movie calendar. Our annual event in Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill celebrates sustainable transportation, urban community and summer nights! Grab your bike and your friends for a free outdoor film—summer nights never felt so right to be on two wheels.

This year’s program includes a lineup of bike film shorts, plus the Joseph Gordon-Levitt bike chase thriller Premium Rush!

(David Koepp, United States, 2012, 91 min)

A dashing bike messenger rogue named Wilee must fly on two wheels through Manhattan to deliver a message to Chinatown, before a dirty cop catches him!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt fixees his way through choreographed bike chases in this hilarious B-movie fueled by pure adrenaline and Tex Avery-style zaniness! If you ever dared to dream the French Connection’s climatic show down could be paired performed with environmentally friendly vehicles, your wish has come true.

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Blotter | Victim says robbed at knifepoint in Cal Anderson

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

  • Park armed robbery reported: A man walked into 12th and Pine’s East Precinct lobby early Saturday morning to report that he had just been robbed at knifepoint by three men inside Cal Anderson Park. Police responded to the area around 12:45 AM to look for the three reported suspects described only as a white male armed with a knife wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, and two black male accomplices. The victim said his black bag with a Microsoft logo was taken from him by the armed man near the bathrooms inside the park. Police reported the park was still full of people at the late hour but that nobody in the area reported seeing the robbery. The victim was not injured. The incident joins a string of reported hold-ups and muggings in and around the park this month.
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Newly built 12th Ave apartment project sells for $9.9 million, Gatsby sells for $35.5 million

The former Olympic athlete who developed a 12th Ave property into this four-story, 37-unit apartment building appears to have produced a gold medal-worthy return on the investment.

According to King County Property Records, the recently completed 1711 12th Ave building has sold for $9.9 million. Gramor Development CEO John Graham, “a three time Olympian competing in both track and field, and bobsleigh,” according to his Linked In profile, purchased the property just above Cal Anderson Park for $850,000 in July 2011.

Calculating costs based on one CHS source’s estimates of $160,000 per unit, Gramor would have spent around $5.9 million on the construction. The $3.15 million or so profit sketches out to a 370% return on the initial purchase of the property, by the way. Olympian performance!

Like 11th Ave south of the park where a sixth new building is planned, 12th Ave has been a hot bed for new apartment and microhousing projects large and small.

The happy new owner of 1711 — the entity paid $268,000 per unit for the building — is listed in county records as Capitol Park, LLC. A check of state records reveals no governing persons listed for the recently formed limited liability corporation. If you’re the proud new owner, let us know.

The high-end Gatsby Apartments on 10th Ave E would have cost you an even larger arm and a leg. The project sold this week for $35.5 million — $507,000 per unit. Of course, the buyer also gets to own one of the most notorious building brands in the new wave of Capitol Hill development.

All in all, owning multifamily properties on Capitol Hill seems like a pretty profitable venture. Though, during this latest boom, owning Hill real estate of any type might make you a buck or two.

Concierge — complete with patio furniture — comes to Cal Anderson as summer safety issues return

The timing makes it an even easier target. Wednesday, forest green chairs, tables, and umbrellas were added to the cement plaza between Cal Anderson’s community house and its notoriously filthy bathrooms. That night, another in a short string of park muggings and robberies went down during the park’s late night darkness.

But there’s more to the, um, punchline — the patio furniture belongs to the new Cal Anderson concierge, a new, short-term role that Seattle Parks and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce hope might be made permanent with funding from the newly (mostly) approved Seattle Parks District.

Responsible for helping visitors to the park with information, setting out the tables and chairs — and bringing them in again at night — and putting out the park’s new giant chess pieces, the chamber’s director Michael Wells asked CHS readers to think of the new concierge simply as dedicated Cal Anderson staff. Parks tells us the concierge will be on hand seven days a week from noon to 7 PM through mid-September. The new role might not seem like enough to quell the nighttime problems that seem to come to a head every August in the park — and it’s probably not. Seattle Parks also continues to deploy its non-SPD park rangers in Cal Anderson and in other parks through the city but their hours are limited to daytime hours. The rangers can’t make the park 100% safe, either. Continue reading

Blotter | Another Cal Anderson robbery — Plus, hit and run chase crosses Hill

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

  • Cal Anderson phone mugging: A string of robberies in Cal Anderson continued Wednesday night as a victim required medical attention after being punched in the face and mugged by two assailants accompanied by a group of young males in Capitol Hill’s central park. Police were called to an apartment near the park where the victim had fled following the robbery around 11:30 Wednesday night. The victim told police he was punched and robbed about 10 minutes earlier inside the park after he was surrounded by a group described as multiple young, black males. The attacker in the mugging was reported wearing a bright orange polo. A police search of the area turned up no suspects. Seattle Fire was called to the apartment to treat the victim for his injuries. The robbery follows a similar incident early Sunday morning in which a man who was settling in to sleep in the park told police he was attacked and robbed. Last Friday, a large group was reportedly involved in the hold-up of two men that ended with one of the victims hit by a grazing gunshot to the head. Police arrested a 17-year-old in connection with Friday’s incident. Last August, SPD also had its hands full with an armed robbery spree around Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill. Police eventually arrested three suspects in connection with the wave of robberies.
  • Hit and run chase crosses Hill: A man’s wild ride from a West Seattle nursing home to a failed car jacking in South Seattle ended with his arrest Wednesday — but not before a string of hit and runs including a collision or three around Capitol Hill and First Hill. One of the collisions was captured on video and posted online. Here is SPD’s report on the Wednesday afternoon wild ride:

    Officers arrested a 36-year-old man after her went on a tear involving hit and run collisions in multiple precincts and an attempted armed car-jacking.

    The incident appears to begin in West Seattle. For unknown reasons a man entered a nursing home, knocked everything off a counter, pushed a walker at an employee and then proceeded to drive away recklessly. According to the 911 caller, the man was driving on the sidewalk and was involved in a hit and run collision.

    Next, the suspect was involved in at least one hit and run collision near Mercer Street and Dexter Ave North. The suspect was then spotted on Capitol Hill and was involved in at least one hit and run collision there as well as another in the International District.

    Eventually the suspect made his way into the South Precinct where he finally ditched his car. Using a knife he attempted to car-jack someone, but failed. Officers located the man and took him into custody near Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and South Walden Street.

    Officers are still working to establish a clear chronology and given that the suspect’s antics spanned four precincts, the total damage and persons affected are still being tabulated. 

Blotter | Big group reported in another Cal Anderson mob robbery

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

  • Cal Anderson group robberyIn Monday’s edition of the Blotter, CHS noted, thankfully, there didn’t appear to be a subsequent string of armed robbery activity following Friday’s morning’s gunfire and hold-up incident in Cal Anderson Park. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the park is entirely at peace. According to the SPD report on the incident, a large group of young black males similar to the crowd seen in Cal Anderson the night of the hold-up was responsible for an overnight attack and robbery of a man who said he was trying to sleep in the park early Sunday morning. The bloodied victim of the 4:42 AM assault told police he was surrounded by a group of 10 to 15 males as he tried to settle into sleep on the park’s sports field with two counterparts. The victim said the group jumped him and grabbed his wallet from his back pocket during the melee. As police arrived, the large group could be seen running and walking from the area in all directions. Seattle Fire was called to treat the victim for a cut to his chin suffered when he fell after being punched several times in the face. The victim’s two companions declined to provide a statement for police. There were no arrests.
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Seattle Street Food Festival returns to Cal Anderson bigger, longer… and shorter? 2014 chef, food truck and pop-up roster

2013's festival (Image: CHS)

2013′s festival (Image: CHS)

The 2014, second-ever edition of the Seattle Street Food Festival at Cal Anderson is planned as a bigger, longer Capitol Hill event with shorter lines – and an art and shopping fair brought to you by the creative types at Urban Craft Uprising.

The festival takes place Friday and Saturday, August 8th and 9th

“Our aim last year was to test the concept and thankfully, it was a huge success,” event producer Ryan Reiter told CHS earlier this year discussing the expansion of the festival. “Now as we move to two days, it should cut down on the congestion and offer a healthier food festival experience.”

Long lines and serious crowds were a blessing and a curse for the inaugural 2013 edition of the festival.

(Image: Seattle Street Food Festival)

(Image: Seattle Street Food Festival)

On top of the addition of the Urban Craft Uprising “indie craft show” on Bobby Morris field, the two-day 2014 event will also bring back the beer gardens and “pop-up” dinner concept featuring an announced lineup of foodie-favorite chefs: Continue reading

CHS Video | Cal Anderson Park Piano Ride — Without Piano, Variation 14

Friday morning, the Pianos in the Parks campaign had planned a performance in Cal Anderson as part of a sunny morning in the busy central park. The piano tuner had even paid a visit Thursday to make sure the upright was in tune. This morning, however, we found a spokesperson for the campaign hanging out to share the sad news: Cal Anderson’s piano was too busted to play and in need of repair. Given recent news, CHS decided to make the best of it in a public space that just can’t seem to get a break.

Please enjoy our possibly nausea-inducing ride around the park. We’ve added Variatio 14 a 2 Clav. by Kimiko Ishizaka from The Open Goldberg Variations to accompany. Go ahead and suggest other possible soundtracks in comments.

Pianos in the Parks organizers said other performances are scheduled around the city in coming weeks — including in Volunteer Park. You can keep track at pianosintheparks.com.

Man hit in head by ‘grazing’ gunshot, robbed in Cal Anderson

A man was hit by a “grazing” gunshot to the head and told police he and another man were robbed by a group of suspects in Cal Anderson Park early Friday morning.

Police investigating a loud boom in Cal Anderson around 12:55 AM arrived to find people running through the park away from the gunfire in a reported armed robbery incident. After chasing down one of the suspects, police found a male victim conscious and alert inside the park where he was treated by Seattle Fire.

SPD was investigating the boom when officers saw a group of males running north from the soccer field through the park. One of the group was chased down and taken into custody by police near 12th and Howell. Police also found a handgun — jammed with a stuck spent cartridge — ditched in nearby bushes, according to East Precinct radio dispatches. Police also found wallets not belonging to the suspect. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Dykes vs. Drag Queens, Sisters kickball, 20th SummeRun highlight Hill-style sports weekend

(Image: Jim Simandl for CHS)

(Image: Jim Simandl for CHS)

(Image: Jim Simandl for CHS)

(Image: Jim Simandl for CHS)

A double-header of LGTBQ friendly sports and a run/walk helped raise money for good causes on Capitol Hill over the weekend. Images from Saturday’s Jockstraps and Glitter rugby kickball match, Sunday afternoon’s Bat ‘n’ Rouge softball game and Sunday morning’s SummerRun and Walk are below. You’ll also find a bunch of great photos from the events in the CHS Flickr pool.

CHS wrote here about the longtime favorite Bat ‘n’ Rouge fundraiser pitting Dykes vs. Drag Queens playing out its game for the first time just a block from the Capitol Hill Block Party in an effort to drum up new interest in the annual event. Bat ‘n’ Rouge benefits Hill-based Seattle Area Support Group. Check out sasgcc.org you’d like to give or learn more about the organization. Continue reading