Central District’s 18th & Union theater aims to be a home for solo performers

Gassner (Image: CHS)

Gassner (Image: CHS)

David Gassner, an actor, director and producer, has wanted to help solo performers present their work. His vision is becoming a reality. Gassner got the keys to the former New City Theater at 1406 18th Ave on September 1st and with a few small changes, is reopening it as 18th & Union.

Seattle has a lack of venues for solo performers to present their work, Gassner said. He wants to fill that void and provide solo and small-scale artists who create theater, poetry, music, comedy and other art with an audience.

“It’s a big deal for people who are working in this style,” he said. Continue reading

Agreements clear Central District homeless encampment

In a city twisted with conflicts about how to best deal with homeless encampments, a Central District camp on land part of a $20 million-plus development deal was cleared with pen and paper Monday afternoon.

Members of the Bangasser family and a uniformed SPD officer were inside an empty storefront in 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center to process the paperwork as a line of people who had been camping on the backside of the block-long property filed in to sign agreements, one by one, and pledge never to return to 24th and Spring.

Margaret Delaney, a member of the Bangasser family that has owned the Midtown land for 75 years, confirmed the nature of the agreements but declined to comment further. “It’s been a long day,” she said. Continue reading

Garfield High football players plan to kneel for national anthem

The Central District’s high school football team is planning to join a number of professional and student athletes nationwide in an ongoing demonstration against racial injustice during the school’s Friday night game.

The Garfield Bulldogs will travel to West Seattle where the entire team has decided they will kneel for the national anthem and continue to do so for the rest of the season. Coach Joey Thomas tells CHS the decision came out of ongoing conversations the team has had about race and social injustice. Students were particularly motivated to do something after learning about the rarely recited third verse of the Star-Spangled Banner, Thomas said, which celebrates the killing of rebellious slaves.

“One thing we pride ourselves on is we have open and honest conversations about what is going on in this society,” Thomas said. “It led kids to talk about the social injustice they experience … and it led to coaches to talk about what we go though. We’re teaching life skills through sports.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting for the national anthem during the NFL’s preseason, sparking a national debate over the gesture. Kaepernick cited police brutality and the killing of unarmed African Americans as primary reasons for his demonstration. Thomas, whose father and grandfather served in the military, said those who argue the protest is disrespectful to service members are misinformed.

“It’s because they are over there fighting for our rights that we can stand for what we believe in,” he said. “It’s because of our military that we can have this silent protest.” Continue reading

Union Coffee opens in the Central District

14115604_1039617212801708_1314860296832474052_oThe artists papering the neighborhood with anti-gentrification “karmic infraction” notices missed an obvious target. There is now a fancy latte shop just down the E Union hill from 23rd and neighboring a cannabis shop. No, the other cannabis shop.

Union Coffee opened Tuesday and is now serving lattes, Americanos, and more brewed from Victrola beans and backed by the business acumen of Zack Reinig who helped spouse Molly Moon Neitzel grow her Seattle ice cream empire. Continue reading

City Council will consider 65-foot height to clear path for 23rd and Union project

Lattes and pot shops may signal a changing neighborhood, but the true transformation of Seattle’s urban landscape often starts with the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee.

On Friday, the committee will be considering an up-zone to the northwest corner of 23rd and Union from its current 40-foot limit to 65 feet. The rezone request from Lake Union Partners is key to the developer’s plan to build a six-story, “market-rate apartment building” planned to stand 65-feet tall and include 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail.

UPDATE: Committee members approved the up zone Friday afternoon, clearing the way for a full council vote on the measure later this month.

The vote also clears the way for the project to potentially become the first to pay into an affordable housing fund as required by Mayor Ed Murray’s grand bargain. Lake Union Partners is expected to pay around $60,000 into an affordable housing fund as part of the city’s mandatory inclusionary zoning law for new commercial space.  Continue reading

A public school again, 18th and Union’s TT Minor ready to open doors to immigrant and refugee students



Construction workers at the TT Minor School campus were still painting and moving furniture throughout the recently renovated building in late August for Wednesday, September 7th’s first day of school. It will be a big day for the campus for more than just the start of classes. TT Minor is home to a Seattle Public School, again.

“The first time I came to visit, TT Minor was a half-empty elementary school that was the following year closed by the Seattle School Board in a very different environment in our city and a very different place for our public schools,” Sen. Jamie Pedersen said last week in a ribbon cutting to celebrate the reopening of the campus. Pedersen said the reopening is a symbol of the “dramatic growth that we have made in Seattle in our public schools over the past few years” as a “remarkable number of people voting with their feet,” sending their children to be part of the city’s public education.

Thanks to approval of a 2013 school construction levy, TT Minor’s ribbon cutting was part of five celebrations across the district as the 2016-2017 school year ramps up.

Even with the ceremony, there will be work left to complete before the first bell.

“We will be juggling punch-list items (after school starts),” said Paul Wight, project manager for renovations to the school during a tour of the overhauled campus. Continue reading

Seattle Fish Guys carry Pike Place connection to 23rd and Jackson market and raw bar

We started watching the Seattle Fish Guys pull together their plan for a Central District fish market and raw bar at 23rd and Jackson in March. In the meantime, some seismic scale-level changes have rolled through their neighborhood — Vulcan is now their landlord neighbor and there’s a plan in motion for a massive redevelopment across the street.

Owner Sal Panelo and manager Ian Tanaka are fish mongers, expert at selecting and preparing the freshest Pacific Northwest seafood. They didn’t know about Vulcan’s plans but they did know more people are about to call 23rd and Jackson home. Continue reading

Rocker Hendrix part of Judkins Park light rail station design

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Entrances from 23rd Ave (above) and Rainier Ave. (Images: Sound Transit)

Jimi Hendrix will be looking down when you hear that train a comin’ at the Judkins Park Station in 2023. The Central District’s most celebrated son will be honored with two large murals at his home neighborhood light rail station, according to the latest designs for the Judkins Park Station.

Architects from Hewitt and Sound Transit presented the most recent artwork and schematics for the elevated station to the Seattle Design Commission Thursday. The station design is currently 90% complete, putting Sound Transit on track to start construction by next spring. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Africatown parade crosses the Central District

Umojafest - 45 of 55

Mixing Black Lives Matter and classic automobiles, the Central District component of Seattle’s annual Seafair celebration again brought an Africatown community parade to the streets of the Central District Saturday.

Umoja Fest organizers say Seattle has been celebrating an African American community festival in the Central District since the 1940s: Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | L’Oursin and its ‘fruits de mer’ land in the CD

Proville and Overman (right) are hoping to crowdfund their new E Jefferson restaurant

Proville and Overman (right) are hoping to crowdfund their new E Jefferson restaurant

We are going to have to come up with a nickname for the food+drink neighborhood growing up around 12th and Jefferson. Or not. But there’s definitely something going on in the neighborhood.

“We were looking everywhere,” chef JJ Proville said of the search for a home for L’Oursin that brought the chef to E Jefferson. “It’s right in the spot where all those neighborhoods meet. Some people say it’s First Hill. Some say Central District.” Continue reading

Live from the CD, Hella Black Hella Seattle tackles everything from race to restaurants

(Image: Hella Black Hella Seattle)

Jazz, Alaina, and Eula (Image: Hella Black Hella Seattle)

Three women from the Central District are on a mission to animate the lives of people of color living in Seattle through a by POC, for POC summer-long podcast series.

Friends Eula Scott Bynoe, Jasmine Jackson, and Alaina Caldwell began recording their podcast Hella Black Hella Seattle in May. The show features three segments, each curated by one of the three women: Caldwell reviews restaurants, Jackson previews events that she thinks are worth checking out, and Bynoe interviews notable people of color from the Seattle area.

Bynoe said the friends came up with the idea for the podcast after hearing people vent frustrations that they felt like they never met anyone interesting or heard about any good events in the Seattle area. All three were born and raised in the CD and have known each other for 13 years, and Bynoe said the picture of a boring Seattle did not match the social life the three friends have built for themselves. The podcast was a way to share their store of knowledge about how to find food, art, culture, and fun close to home.

“We know that there are tons of people, especially people of color, who don’t think there’s anything interesting happening here,” said Bynoe. The three came up with the idea for the podcast in early April, aired their first show in May, and have been dropping an episode every two weeks since then. Continue reading