The Central District crowd rallies to help E Union pop-up Pocket Bakery build a permanent home

Grunig makes another sale (Image: CHS)

Grunig makes another sale (Image: CHS)

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 2.36.09 PMEvery Saturday for the past nine months you could find Josh Grunig selling a changing array of treats. He sets up shop from 10 AM to 1 PM in Magpie on E Union and 20th in the Central District and uses this very direct interaction with customers to hone his menu and get it “to a truly exemplary place.”

These Saturday morning “pop-ups” have been an opportunity for Grunig not only to expand his menu while helping raise his newborn daughter but also to create relationships with the businesses and residents of the Central District. He wants to give back to the “extremely supportive” neighborhood by providing a delicious food made from sustainably-grown, nutritional, local ingredients.

IMG_8154-600x400But frequent customers want access to his vegan sourdough, croissant-donuts, pistachio shortbread and cinnamon rolls for more than three hours a week, so Grunig has started a fundraiser to put his bakery in a brick-and-mortar home in the Central District.

CHS talked with Grunig last fall as he started his pop-up service. At the time, he was hoping to find a location within a few blocks of Magpie — possibly in new construction coming to the area. “There’s a huge amount of opportunity around Union,” Grunig said. “It’s really an opportunity for me to be in a real neighborhood.”

There appears to be plenty of support for the campaign based on the Community Sourced Capital system of crowdfunding in which investors can provide a no-interest loan to small business owners and organizations $50 at a time. The Pocket fundraiser launched on May 15th, and has already raised more than $8,000 of its $10,000 minimum goal.

The ultimate goal, Grunig says, is to raise “$50k for bakery equipment, furniture and all the small things needed to get open. Every little investment is one step closer to our goal.”

For more information on how to help Grunig get his bakery up and running, visit the Pocket Bakery Community Sourced Capital page.

Beery good news: Central District’s Standard Brewing announces plans to expand on Jackson

(Image: CHS)

The Standard Brewing crew (Image: CHS)

In March, we stopped by to celebrate two years of the tiny Central District nano brewery:

It’s been 24 months since quietly opening the door at 25th and Jackson St with 8 taps and about 80 square feet of service area. Since then, we’ve expanded to 13 taps, doubled the space for folks to sit and drink, won a few awards, brewed over 60 different recipes, and shared a lot of good times with the neighborhood.

This week, the brew crew at Standard Brewing announced plans for an expansion that will septuple their beer output and add a bar space for enjoying the creations along with food and cocktails. Co-owner Justin Gerardy said the most important aspect as they planned the expansion was remaining in the Central District. “In our case, space is the constraint, but so are our ideals,” the Standard announcement reads. “Not wanting to leave the neighborhood leaves our options slim, but the choice to keep the brewery relatively small also affords us diversity and an experimental attitude.”

Gerardy said the expansion will play out over the summer with a project to overhaul the brewing facility coming first followed by Standard’s expansion into the neighboring Halal Mart to create space for the bar and kitchen.

Meanwhile, another Central Seattle beer project is moving forward at a deliberate pace on E Union at Broadway. This for the work underway at the under construction Optimism Brewing might be our favorite DPD permit in months:


CHS last checked in here on the Optimism project and its food truck courtyard as we said hello to 12th Ave’s Outer Planet Brewing.

The full Standard Brewing announcement — along with some behind the scenes notes on other locations Standard considered for a move including the former home of Catfish Corner — is below. Continue reading

Starting June 8th, you’ll only have 20 months to wait for a much-improved 23rd Ave

The future of 23rd Ave (Image: SDOT)

The future of 23rd Ave (Image: SDOT)

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 10.40.08 AMThe 20-month first phase of a$46 million overhaul to improve the flow and safety of 23rd Ave will begin in early June. While the artery is hoped to be greatly improved by the time all phases of the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project are completed in late 2017, you might want to plan a few alternate routes in the meantime.

Monday night, planners will be on hand for the first of monthly community check-ins on the project:

First monthly community drop-in session on May 18
Each month throughout construction, SDOT will host a drop-in session to answer questions and share the latest construction information. Join us for the first drop-in on May 18 (see details below)! Don’t worry if you can’t make the drop-in session, we will post all information online.

Monday, May 18, 2015, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Garfield Community Center – Arts & Crafts Room
2323 E Cherry Street, Seattle, WA 98122

Project details and updates can be found at Phase 1 will entail work on 23rd Ave from between S Jackson and E John. Phase 2 covers the work south of Jackson and Phase 3 will handle 23rd/24th from E John to E Roanoke in Montlake. Phase 2 and Phase 3 construction plans remain in the air, however, pending funding for the projects. Continue reading

Central District’s Jimi Hendrix Park expected to open after summer construction

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

In 2006, what was once the Colman School parking lot on the corner of 25th and S Massachusetts Street was turned into a simple grassy field with a tall wall hiding it from the community.  Now, nine years later, the project to renovate the park and dedicate it to Jimi Hendrix has begun.

What once was hidden will become a source of pride among the neighborhoods that surround the park according to Kim Baldwin, Seattle Parks project manager.

In fact, one of the main focuses of this project is “connection to the community.”  Baldwin expects it to become a gathering place for people to “celebrate the neighborhood.”

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

The park’s rock and roll design is inspired by Hendrix, who grew up near the area.  For example, the park’s entrance and main path will be alongside a long guitar-like structure.  The Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation also hopes to host music events at the park as well as cultural events and activities for the community. They hope to, through the park, “beautify Seattle, motivate youth and others to achieve in music and art, and strengthen the cultural pulse of the Emerald City,” according to the group’s website.

The renovations are already underway with construction starting earlier this spring.  April marked the beginning of underground utility work, and above-ground demolition will be the next step.

As construction begins, the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation continues working towards its fundraising goal of $1.5 million. The first stage of construction will not include the wave wall feature and canopy structure — future stages of construction will follow. Without issues in construction or funds, the park is planned to open with its first wave of features in September 2015.

You can learn more and support the park effort at

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

With love for the Central District, Africatown activist Tahir-Garrett plans run for City Council seat

unnamed-5Omari Tahir-Garrett doesn’t mince words when it comes to talking about gentrification in the Central District. For him, African American families priced out of the neighborhood amounts to “ethnic cleansing.”

That won’t come as a shock to those familiar with the Central District/Africatown activist and slavery reparations advocate who once assaulted former Mayor Paul Schell with a bullhorn in response to the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man.

Whatever you may think of Garrett, his love for his neighborhood is undeniable. The 69-year-old, lifelong Central District resident displays the vitality and determination of an activist a third his age. This year, he wants to take his fight to City Council. Continue reading

Woman identified in Madison Valley suspicious death — UPDATE: Devan Schmidt remembered

The woman whose May 2nd death inside a Madison Valley home is being investigated by Seattle Police has been identified by authorities.

A roommate said Devan Schmidt was found unconscious and unresponsive around 11 AM Saturday, May 2nd inside the house near E Denny Way and 29th Ave E. 911 dispatchers assisted the caller in performing CPR, a Seattle Fire spokesperson tells CHS. Arriving medics ceased CPR and pronounced Schmidt dead.

Seattle Police said they were investigating the death as suspicious and that Crime Scene Investigators and homicide detectives were at the home collecting evidence. There were no reported signs of fatal trauma, according to police radio reports and Seattle Fire.

Friday afternoon, the Medical Examiner said its investigators had not yet determined the manner and cause of the 29-year-old woman’s death.

Schmidt arrived in Seattle late last year after moving from Alaska, according to a friend of the woman who did not want to be identified. She worked as a server in a downtown Seattle comedy bar, according to her Facebook profile.

Friday, police told CHS detectives were still awaiting reports from the Medical Examiner and were continuing to investigate Schmidt’s death.

UPDATE 5/22/2015 10:06 AM: Seattle Police and the Medical Examiner say the investigation into the May 2nd suspicious death remains an open case. Pathologists have not yet announced the manner of the cause of death and nearly three weeks have passed. A representative for the Medical Examiner said it’s not unusual for cases to take as much as six to ten weeks to complete. SPD says their investigation remains open and active.

1012988_10203663623167212_6960263592159199885_n (2)Devan Chanel Schmidt was remembered earlier this month by family in Florida:

Devan Chanel Schmidt, 29, of Seattle, WA , formerly of Anchorage and Girdwood Alaska, Melbourne and Palm Bay FL, Shirland IL., and Madison, WI, died suddenly Saturday, May 2, 2015 at her residence in Seattle, WA.

Born in Madison, WI, Devan is survived by mother Pamela Schmidt, sister Lia Kendall, and two brothers Sylas and Nick. Devan was a resident of Madison, WI until the eighth grade when she moved to Illinois where she lived until the age of sixteen. At sixteen along with her mother Pam, and sister Lia, she moved to Palm Bay, FL, where she graduated from high school in 2004. In the year 2008 she attended Brevard Community College where she pursued a degree in Associates of Science until 2010.

According to her obituary, Schmidt was once crowned Miss Shirland, Illinois and was described as a minimalist and an optimist. “A bright light in the darkest of rooms she will be remembered with a smile on her face.”

CHS Community Post | Working to live in the Central District

Corbin Jones is a dual architecture and real estate masters student at the University of Washington researching housing affordability in Seattle and, specifically, the Central District.


The conversation surrounding Seattle’s explosive growth has no doubt been focused on the influx of tech industry workers into the region and the effects of this in-migration on affordability and equity. Hundreds of articles, reports, blog posts, and opinion pieces have been written about who or what is responsible for the decrease in housing affordability, and what can be done to mitigate this reality. When you look through the conversations, both in cahoots and contention, one thing is clear: people who work certain jobs and make a certain income will not be able to affordably live in Seattle or any of its neighborhoods adjacent to downtown, including the Central District.

To be specific about who exactly will be priced out of the city, I examine data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S Census Bureau to determine which occupations are overpaying in rent. The intent is to show that affordability is linked to wages, and the majority of the jobs in the city, filled by people we know personally who might be close friends or family, do not get paid enough to allow for affordable living in many of Seattle’s neighborhoods. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Landmark status can’t save the Carmack House


(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

To call the battle to save the Central District’s George Washington Carmack House a seven-year fight isn’t quite right. Last week, the one-sided end of the tussle came quickly for the more than 100-year-old mansion once home to George Carmack, the Seattle pioneer and prospector credited by most with setting off the Klondike gold rush:

When Carmack and his wife disposed of their holdings in the Klondike, they moved to Seattle where they took residence at the prestigious Hotel Seattle. Kate Carmack did not enjoy living in Seattle and returned to her northern home. [46] Carmack soon thereafter married a woman named Marguerite. Carmack eventually left the Hotel Seattle, but continued residing in the Pioneer Square area. From 1905 until 1909, he lived in a house at 3007 East Denny Way, which has since been removed. By 1910, Carmack moved to 1522 East Jefferson. According to Seattle City Directories, Carmack lived at this address until he died in 1922. Marguerite Carmack continued living in the house until the 1940s. A considerable amount of development has occurred around this house, which is still used as a residential structure.

Continue reading

Seattle prepares for May Day 2015 with protests — again — planned for Capitol Hill — UPDATE

Both Broadway QFCs shut down early -- the Broadway Market store suffered some broken glass (Image: Tim Durkan)

Both Broadway QFCs shut down early — the Broadway Market store suffered some broken glass (Image: Tim Durkan)

With reporting by Bryan Cohen and CHS Intern Makena

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 9:53 PM: Protesters in the Seattle Central plaza have dwindled to a few dozen though there is still the occasional excitement like the drone reported flying above the area at one point in the night. Broadway is being reopened to traffic slowly as police vehicle clear the street.

photo (49)UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 9:20 PM: SPD says there have been 15 total arrests so far tonight. Critics will remind that very few of the May Day arrestees over past years have been charged.

In a statement, Mayor Ed Murray condemned the violence. “As we continue to witness acts of violence from protesters, we urge folks on Capitol Hill to exercise caution,” said Murray said. “Seattle Police are advising that businesses on Broadway and other Capitol Hill streets should take reasonable precautions to protect their employees and customers. Police will continue to work to protect people and property in the area, and will make arrests when necessary.”

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 8:40 PM: A Seattle police spokesperson said the march through Capitol Hill had turned from a protest to riot as officers deployed flash bangs and pepper spray, and shot projectiles at protestors along E Olive Way between Melrose and Broadway. As they marched, protesters tossed dumpsters and materials from construction sites into the streets. As the marching began to slow at Broadway and Pine, about 75 people gathered in the intersection. Police eventually pushed the group on to the Seattle Central grounds to clear the streets.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 7:45 PM: Police were working to redirect a large group from progressing any closer to downtown. A line of officers at Boren pushed the group back up Pike to Melrose where it marched north. At Denny, police were again attempting to push the crowd back up to the Hill. Pepper spray and flash bangs were again deployed by police and protesters rolled a dumpster into the street but was stopped by responding officers, according to radio dispatches.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 7:45 PM: At least three police officers were injured, a media vehicle had its back window blown out by a firework, and there was at least one arrest in a skirmish between officers and protesters that began near Broadway and Howell around 7:30 PM. Police were able to quickly take control of the area by firing pepper spray and blast balls. The large crowd was mostly dispersed and a smaller group of a hundred or so reformed and continued to rally its way down the Pike toward downtown. There were reports of small fires set in newspaper boxes and trash cans as well as explosions from fireworks. A crossfit studio on E Pine was hit with large anarchist tags and a fence at a Harvard construction site was toppled. Bystanders pushed the fence back into place after the crowd moved through.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 7:25 PM: Protesters began dragging barriers and garbage cans into the street in an attempt to block police. Officers reported that rocks were being thrown and that officers were being hit with sticks at Broadway and Howell. A dispersal order to clear the area was given just before 7:30 PM.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 6:50 PM: With a crowd estimated close to 700 according to East Precinct radio dispatches, the anti-capitalist marchers practically ran up Broadway to begin a night of protest. Reaching Roy in around 10 minutes, the large group chanted as it weaved through the residential streets around Roy and back to Broadway. There was a report of a broken window but SPD was unable to locate the damage. No other incidents have been reported but a dispute between protesters and an open carry gun rights advocate who carried a rifle to the rally was being monitored by police. Black-clad protesters joined by participants from the earlier Black Lives Matter and worker and immigration rights marches were joined by other protesters on a warm spring night on Broadway. Some onlookers cheered, others threatened the protesters, while others thanked the police. This year for the first time SPD has stationed police officers in front of some businesses to help deter property damage.


UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 6:20 PM: As the anti-capitalist marchers gathered and prepared to leave the plaza at Broadway and Pine, a group of Seattle Police officers were busy trying to help a man reportedly suffering a mental crisis and carrying a hammer who had climbed on top of a basketball hoop in Cal Anderson. Seattle Fire was called in to help bring the man down with a ladder.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 5:30 PM: Seattle Police arrested one man near E Pine and Boylston around 4 PM for throwing a rock at a window. According to SPD, the man was also carrying a machete, paint, and a wrench. The arrest was not part of the immigrant rights march coming from Judkins Park. 

IMG_5143UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 4:45 PM: With groups starting to gather at Seattle Central for Friday night’s “anti-capitalist” march, SPD already was displaying heavy presence in the area. This group of bike officers helped out a fellow cyclist before being dispatched to help with the march as it proceeded downtown.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 3:30 PM: The march was proceeding on its planned route and was nearing Boren. “Tear down the prisons, tear down the border, bring it to the fascist order,” chanted one section of the march as the groups made their way down Jackson toward downtown. Small groups joined the main procession as it traveled the streets including Casa Latina‘s representatives who jumped in at 17th and Jackson.

Today is not just a tradition, says Diana Lopez. “We’re still going to talk about how to move forward”  (Image: Bryan Cohen for CHS)

Today is not just a tradition, says Diana Lopez. “We’re still going to talk about how to move forward” (Image: Bryan Cohen for CHS)

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 2:30 PM
With estimates ranging from expected crowds of between 1,000 to 2,000 people, groups are gathering in Judkins Park preparing for the march downtown.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, police have investigated a handful of 911 calls about small groups of people wearing masks headed toward downtown but there have been no reports of demonstrations in the neighborhood. A unit of officers on foot patrol and wearing “safety yellow” vests is also on Broadway this afternoon.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 9:40 AM
Mayor Ed Murray began his May Day 2015 with a news conference at Cal Anderson in his home neighborhood of Capitol Hill and a reminder of what the day is about.

“This neighborhood has a history of protest — protests that have changed this city for the better. Protests in the anti-war movement. Protests for LGBT rights,” Murray said.

“As we have seen in May Day after May Day there are also individuals being destructive,” Murray said that the story of the day ought to be about those who stand up for justice before addressing public safety and traffic questions from the media.

An operations briefing including Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole will be held later in the day.

There are three planned events on the day:

  • Black Lives Matter May Day 2015 — 10:30 AM — MLK Memorial Park — 2200 Martin Luther King Jr Way S — and 2:30 PM 20/Jackson
  • Marcha Y Manifestacion Anual del 1o de Mayo 2015 – 2015 May Day March & Rally — 2 PM Rally — 3 PM March — Judkins Park to Downtown
  • May Day Anticapitalist March 2015 — 6 PM — Starts at Seattle Central

City officials said Friday morning they were also monitoring the situation in Baltimore where the prosecutor’s office has announced six police officers will be charged in Freddie Gray’s death.

CHS will be reporting on the day’s activities. You can follow live updates here or on Twitter via @jseattle and @bchasesc. You can also call or txt us at (206) 399-5959 if you see something others should know about.

Even though 2014’s protest activities on Capitol Hill were less intense than some of the small pockets of rioting that occurred in 2013, at least one major business is planning to close early. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery will be shuttered Friday as a safety precaution, a company spokesperson told CHS. “To ensure the safety of our customers and partners (and a result of conversations with the mayor and police chief) we will be closing the Roastery and 18 downtown stores early today,” the spokesperson said. “In terms of re-opening, we will do that when it is safe.”

The spokesperson would not confirm that the company is planning to board up windows on the multi-million facility as some large chains like Niketown have done downtown on May Days past. “We are evaluating all options for the safety of our customers and partners,” the spokesperson said. UPDATE: A load of plywood has been delivered to the Melrose at Pike roastery and cafe.

East Precinct commander Capt. Paul McDonaugh said his staff isn’t advising businesses take any extraordinary measures. The streets around East Precinct’s headquarters at 12th and Pine will be closed to traffic starting early Friday evening.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-30-at-7.45.59-AM-1024x709SPD’s post about the day’s logistics is here:

A large number of uniformed officers will be present at tomorrow’s rallies to direct traffic, ensure everyone is able to freely and safely exercise their First Amendment rights, and prevent or respond to any unlawful behaviorAs always, please contact an officer or call 911 if you have any concerns or need to report an emergency.

The permitted workers and immigration rights march from Judkins Park is expected to have around 1,000 people in attendance, according to a Seattle Department of Transportation bulletin though organizers predict more than two times as many marchers:

The march route starts at Judkins Park, assembling at S Lane Street and 20th Avenue S, moving northbound on 20th Avenue S to S Jackson Street. The march will turn westbound on S Jackson Street to Boren Avenue S, proceeding northbound to Pine Street, turning westbound on Pine to the Federal Courthouse. Seattle Police will escort the march.

Seattle Public schools sent a bulletin warning families of possible traffic issues but didn’t announce any related closures or schedule changes.


Seattle Police are again preparing for a night of protest starting on Capitol Hill this May Day after two years of increased damage and violence.

Meanwhile, the annual May Day march for worker rights earlier in the day attended by thousands will likely again be overshadowed by the mayhem. Continue reading

Medical marijuana overhaul will close dispensaries and shift patients to I-502 retailers

Capitol Hill celebrated the passage of I-502, which brought about the medical marijuana overhaul (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill celebrated the passage of I-502, which brought about the medical marijuana overhaul (Image: CHS)

The green cross has grown into a symbol of the marijuana medical marijuana industry

The green cross has grown into a symbol of the marijuana medical marijuana industry

Last week, Governor Jay Inslee enacted the most sweeping overhaul to the state’s medical marijuana system since voters first approved it in 1998. It was an effort to bring the mostly unregulated medical marijuana system in-line with the highly regulated recreational one.

For Seattle’s non-patients, the most noticeable change might be an urban landscape suddenly devoid of signs bearing green crosses.

Shutting down medical shops will also mean putting some people out of a job including workers and owners at a handful of Central District dispensaries.

Shy Sadis, who claims ownership of 10 dispensaries including Starbuds at 23rd and John, said nearly all of his 80 employees could be out of work if the state doesn’t establish a pathway for medical shops to re-open as retailers.

“I wish medical could stay, but if it’s going, I’m going to have to make the transition to full I-502,” he said. “I’m hoping they will give us I-502 licenses for shutting us down.”

Many of the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries are expected to close by July 2016 under the reformation act, though the overhaul does pave pathway for some to transition into recreational shops. I-502 shops already in operation will be able to obtain medical endorsements to sell medical marijuana to card-holding patients tax-free. Continue reading