Man shot during police response at 20th/Dearborn

(With images and reporting by Alex Garland)

(With images and reporting by Alex Garland)

A man reportedly carrying two knives was shot in a police response Sunday afternoon near 20th and Dearborn in the Central District just west of Judkins Park.

Police reported a subject approaching an officer in the area of 20th and Dearborn just after 1:45 PM and then reported shots fired and a man down at the scene.

Police cordoned of the area and have summoned a union representative to East Precinct, a move typically part of the procedure around officer-involved shootings.

Police were called to the scene minutes earlier to a report of a suicidal male armed with a knife.

UPDATE 5:10 PM: SPD has posted a preliminary report on the shooting:

Earlier this afternoon at around 1:44 p.m., East Precinct patrol officers responded to the 1900 block of S Dearborn to a report of a suicidal man chasing his partner with a kitchen chopping knife out in front of their home.

Officers arrived just three minutes later and contacted the victim. The suspect was no longer there.

While officers were speaking to the victim, the suspect returned, armed with two kitchen knives, and confronted the officers. Continue reading

With a redo on MLK, Central District crosswalks will receive Pan-African redesign


As the latest development in a process kicked off by a rogue redesign of a crosswalk last summer, crosswalks across the Central District will be transformed into community symbols.

Eleven crosswalks will be painted in the colors of the Pan-African flag, the Seattle Department of Transportation announced this week. The redesign was sparked when members of the United Hood Movement painted crosswalks near Powell Barnett Park and at the intersection of MLK and Cherry in Pan-African colors of red, green and black to reflect the Central District’s history, in much the same way that the rainbow crosswalks of Capitol Hill reflect that neighborhood’s ties to the gay community.

SDOT put white tape around the crosswalk and began the conversation with Central District residents about a crosswalk redesign. In February of 2016, the SDOT formalized the redesign of the crosswalk outside Powell Barnett Park with a $7,500 paint job. But the city-approved markings — seen above — didn’t achieve the strong look many hoped for while adhering to safety requirements.

SDOT spokeswoman Sue Romero says SDOT worked with the RBG the CD group on planning a redesign. After the first attempt by the city resulted in a paint job many felt was lacking, SDOT agreed on a redo of the first paint jobs as part of a wider campaign across the neighborhood. “We met with the community who agreed they’d prefer a more impactful design and one that is consistent with the Broadway rainbow crosswalks and future community crosswalk designs,” said Romero. Continue reading

Central District Art Inn boutique hotel checks in for last step in design review

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 4.40.30 PMThe first project on the docket for Wednesday night’s session of the East Design Review Board might will create a mixed-use office development and preservation project in the heart of Pike/Pine. But the second one, well… the second project will create… art.

The Art Inn, a four-story, 15-room component of a small global boutique hotel chain destined for the corner of E Jefferson and 13th Ave, will come before the review board for what should be its final step in the design process. Continue reading

E Union kids’ shop Magpie going out of business after five years in the CD

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Central District children’s toy and clothing store Magpie plans to close up shop — just as development in the area has hit full stride.

“It’s been a good run,” said owner Malia Keene.

Keene first opened the store in the fall of 2011 at the corner of 18th Ave and E Union St, and two years ago she moved it to its current location, 2002 E Union. Though Keene says that the neighborhood has certainly changed over the years and cited more people and more traffic, she says the development wave did not really change the kind of customers that came into the shop.

Recently, however, business has been slowing.

“In the last year it’s gotten much slower in the shop,” said Keene. “It’s really hard for retail.” Keene says she hears anecdotes from small businesses across Seattle that are struggling to stay afloat. “When I talk to businesses in other cities, it seems easier.”

Keene said the difficulty that her store and others like it face in Seattle may be an “unfortunate side effect” of the lack of expendable income that stems from a high cost of living coupled with a DIY culture. Keene thought another factor might be “perceived value” – she says that even if her handmade toys are the same price as a toy at a big box store, people will often be unwilling to spend that money on what they see as a luxury item.

“There’s this nice idea of having small businesses, but it’s not going to last,” she said.

Keene is not sure when Magpie will officially close — it could be as soon as this week. In the meantime, the storewide sale continues.

You can learn more at

Police investigate 27th Ave shooting — UPDATE

A male victim was reported at Swedish Cherry Hill hospital and police were collecting spent shell casings and documenting bullet holes in vehicles on 27th Ave near Spring following a bout of gunfire Saturday night around 10:30 PM.

Multiple people in the area reported hearing the gunfire and police sped to 27th Ave to investigate the shots. Minutes later, a male victim was reported at the nearby Swedish Cherry Hill medical facility.

We do not yet have information about the condition of the male victim and all details at this point are not confirmed with SPD or Seattle Fire. UPDATE 6/5/2015 4:30 PM: SPD has posted a brief on the shooting confirming our report and asking for anybody with details to call detectives at 206-233-5000:

Homicide detectives are investigating after a man was dropped off at a hospital with a gunshot wound Saturday night.

Witnesses called 911 at 10:25 PM Saturday after hearing multiple shots fired near 27 Ave. and E. Spring St.

Officers arrived and found multiple shell casings and bullet damaged houses and cars in the area.  Swedish Cherry Hill called 911  advising officers a man had been dropped off with a gunshot wound.  Doctors there  stabilized the victim before he was taken to Harborview Medical Center for further treatment.

Homicide/Assault detectives responded to the scene and are now investigating the case. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call 206-233-5000.

The SPD CSI unit was dispatched to the scene on 27th Ave.

Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop called out for paying budtenders below minimum wage

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

The owner of Seattle’s most prolific marijuana shop is apologizing after paying several of his employees below Seattle’s minimum wage. Around 10 budtenders at Uncle Ike’s had been getting paid $10 an hour, 50 cents below the city’s minimum wage as of January, according to owner Ian Eisenberg. Eisenberg said it was a simple misunderstanding, but one employee says it took her multiple attempts to rectify the situation.

The issue at the 23rd and Union pot shop was first reported on by The Stranger, which revealed a series of text messages budtender Nicole Stotts had with a payroll manager. The manager, contracted by Uncle Ikes, erroneously told the the employee that her tips counted towards her wage.

Seattle does not have a so-called tip credit. The 2015 minimum wage law phases in a $15 minimum wage over several years with different timelines depending on the size of a business and the benefits it offers. Uncle Ike’s is required to pay its employees at least $10.50 an hour as it pays for medical benefits. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Central District’s Washington Hall celebrates grand re-opening

The community groups working together to bring a 108-year-old cultural asset forward into a new life serving the Central District gathered Thursday night to celebrate its grand re-opening.

Inside the mostly restored Washington Hall at 14th Ave and Fir, there were stories, songs, dance and a lot of looking forward to the building’s future as a community hall, performance space, and offices for nonprofits. But speaker Storme Webber also reminded the crowd there for the grand re-opening of the building’s past:

It is very important that we honor the roots of the Central District. Yes, there were other people who lived int he Central District. But there were legal reasons why the Central District was a black neighborhood. And those legal reasons had to do with the legal racial covenants that existed in Seattle. Black people could not buy in Windermere. Black people could not buy in Magnolia. My grandmother came up here from Texas in the 1940s. She bought at 24th and Spruce. It’s very important, the history of this hall. This hall is not extricable from the racial history of this city.

Historic Seattle, 206 Zulu, Hidmo, and Voices Rising sponsored the event. CHS reported last month on $300,000 more required to finish the building’s restoration to complete office space added to the renovated hall. Historic Seattle acquired the building in 2009 and have been slowly been restoring it since. Washington Hall, built in 1908 by the Danish Brotherhood, was a cornerstone of the Central Area community through much of the 20th Century. Past performers at the 14th and E Fir space have included Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and a young Jimi Hendrix.

You can learn more at Continue reading

Gunshot detection tech deployment being lined up for Central District

(Image: ShotSpotter)

(Image: ShotSpotter)

Already monitored by cameras from federal law enforcement agencies, the Central District could soon also be outfitted with technology designed to pinpoint gunfire and alert police to gun violence. Mayor Ed Murray Thursday announced his 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.”

“We have seen gunshot locators work effectively in other cities,” Murray said in a statement. “We will work with our neighborhoods to gauge their interest in participating in the pilot project, as we protect the privacy of all residents.”

The mayor’s office will send legislation to the City Council to enable the pilot. A federal grant will pay for the project. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been lobbying cities across the country to deploy the system which uses microphones and sometimes cameras to collect sound and a computer system to pinpoint its location and alert police.

The mayor’s office outlined Seattle’s ongoing going violence:

Since the beginning of the year, 144 incidents of shots fired have been reported in Seattle. Five people have been killed and another 24 have been injured. Of the 69 people who have been assaulted by someone with a firearm, more than half of all victims are under the age of 30 and are African American.

During that same period in 2015, 154 incidents of shots fired were reported, resulting in two deaths and 27 injuries.

Officials say the Rainier Valley, the Central District and in South Park are the areas where most shots have been concentrated. “Shots are most frequently reported in the evening hours on Fridays and Saturdays,” according to the announcement.

The microphones — and possibly cameras — will join surveillance cameras installed around the Central District in response to past gun violence and drug crimes in the area. Last summer, federal agents confirmed to CHS that they had quietly installed surveillance cameras along 23rd Ave in the CD. In a July community meeting, Murray said the city was still in the process of “looking at” deploying advanced surveillance cameras and also promised that, unlike past use of cameras in Seattle, the process to deploy the technology would be fully public. Speaking before ATF representatives, Murray and SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole were both apparently unaware of the agency’s camera plan at the time.

The deployment of the gunshot detection technology appears to be off to a more public start with debate set to follow as the legislation moves to the City Council. Some have criticized the systems for their privacy issues, some for their poor results.

Meanwhile, closer coordination with federal agencies has paid off for SPD. Chief O’Toole said last summer that the FBI and ATF formed a new partnership with the department. O’Toole said the Puget Sound Regional Crime Gun Taskforce –- a partnership between Seattle Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Washington State Patrol crime lab — improved Seattle’s ability to analyze crime scenes.

Where the proposed detection technology will be installed probably won’t be determined for months but it is unlikely we’ll see it on 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 like Capitol Hill.

‘Luxury’ developer explores mixed-use project for 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center 


(Image: Kidder Mathews)

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 3.03.27 PMA developer of “luxury communities” around the U.S. is exploring a plan to build a mixed-use project at one of the most prized re-development properties in Central Seattle.

Lennar Multifamily Communities, a California-based subsidiary of the Fortune 500 company Lennar, has filed a preliminary site plan for Midtown Center that includes two construction sites on the 106,000-square-foot property once home a U.S. Post Office at 23rd and Union. Aside from noting residential and commercial uses, the paperwork offers little insight into Lennar’s development ideas.

So far the plan is just a preliminary study, according to a representative from Encore Architects, the firm working with Lennar on the project. There was no official record of a sale for Midtown as of Tuesday. A $23.5 million deal with another California-based developer, Legacy Partners, fell through earlier this year as the longtime family owners of the property continue their legal wrangling over the future of the site at the heart of the Central District. Continue reading

Rockland Residency gives artists worldwide a free place to create in the CD

IMG_7490Seeing Seattle for the first time, imagining its possibilities and places to explore, is an experience that can evoke some serious inspiration. To help artists tap into that creative energy, a Central District couple have transformed a house they own into a free artist residency that has already attracted interest from around the globe.

The Rockland Residency was founded by local artists Shawn Landis and Jodi Rockwell in 2015. The 27th and Marion home, known as the Butterfly House, turns over to artists from February and April and is rented out as a regular residence the rest of the year. The “unmarried husband and wife team” developed the free residency program to offer space and time for artists to create and connect with the city.

“It’s a great way to share and gather artists together to give them space and time to create their work without the stress and strain of everyday life,” Landis said. “It is very critical for creative thought, to have that structure of support around you, and I wanted to give that back.”

Landis and Rockwell do not charge residents for the time they spend at the house. Residents can stay for two to four weeks, depending on their projects.

One of the most recent residents was Carla Bertone, a muralist from Buenos Aires, who stayed for two weeks in the architecturally distinct 1963 home, designed by renowned Seattle architect Victor Steinbrueck. During her time at Rockland, Bertone completed and presented a mural she installed, titled “Psychedelic UFO”.

“Their creative energy feeds me, knowing they are here producing work, it generates more of that energy,” Rockwell said. “That part surprised me, when it began, knowing someone was here really focused on their work, it inspires me.”

Along with a small group of artists, Landis and Rockwell choose residents from a wide gamut of applications. In its inaugural year, Rockland received 38 applications from 12 different countries. Selected to participate are writers and visual artists from New York, Finland, Buenos Aires, Mexico, and Texas. To commemorate their time, each artist is asked to design a flag to represent them, which Landis then sews and hangs from a flag pole outside.

As stated in their Mission: “The residency is open to anyone engaged in a creative process involving and not limited to: visual art, writing, music, performance and new media. Our goal is to share what we have established for ourselves in property and networking to link dedicated artists outside of the Seattle area to those within.”

“It pulls us out because we get to show off what our city has to offer, the connections we have from our fifteen years here,” Rockwell said.

To learn more about the residency, visit