Central Area Neighborhood Greenway begins with bike markings, better pedestrian crossings — and ‘speed humps’

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.48.31 AMcentralgreenway_map_vertical_feb27-212x550 (1)Work on the first phase of the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway is underway creating new bike route markings, new stop signs and better pedestrian crossings along a route connecting 21st, 22nd, and 25th Ave from John to Jackson. You’ll note that SDOT is also adding “approximately” one speed hump per block on the route.

CHS included the work in our list of transit projects to look forward to in 2015. The “Hybrid” option for a bicycle and pedestrian friendly parallel to the 23rd Ave corridor will begin at I-90 and pass up through the Central District along 26th and 25th Ave before a jog over to 22nd north across E Madison to Capitol Hill. Through a mix of signage, pavement markings, speed bumps, roundabouts and other traffic-calming features, the route will complement a $46 million overhaul of 23rd Ave. When complete, the 23rd Avenue greenway is likely to be the longest greenway in the city.

Seattle Bike Blog says the first phase of work is slated to be wrapped up later this winter. SBB also provides insights on some of the most important bike and pedestrian work still to come to make the greenway a reality.

If the plan doesn’t get mucked up for the northern end of the route, the area should connect nicely to Montlake’s bicycle and pedestrian resources included in the Seattle-side 520 replacement project.

Updates and more here:

Phase 1 runs between E. John Street and S. Jackson Street along 21st Avenue E, 22nd Avenue E, and 25th Avenue S. Installation elements include:

  • Bicycle pavement markings
  • Stop signs on all streets crossing the greenway
  • Flashing beacons for pedestrians and bicyclists at arterial crossings: 25th Avenue S and E Yesler Way; 25th Avenue S and E Cherry Street
  • Enhanced pedestrian traffic signal at 22nd Avenue E and E Union
  • Approximately one speed hump per block on the route

This work will necessitate some temporary on-street parking restrictions, pedestrian and cyclist detours, and some light construction noise. Access to businesses and residences will be maintained except when temporary restrictions are necessary. Normal work hours will be 9 AM to 4 PM. Installation is expected to be complete in late Winter 2015.

County opts for ‘virtual open house’ on Children and Family Justice Center


Artist rendition of the upgraded facility

King County has opted to cancel a planned Saturday “open house of conceptual designs” of the controversial Children and Family Justice Center to be built at 12th and Alder and instead will hold a “virtual open house” with information and a survey about the project, according to an announcement sent to CHS.

The detention and justice center has been the target of ongoing opposition by protesters and community groups who say $200 million shouldn’t be spent on a youth detention system that disproportionately detains African Americans.

In October, the Seattle City Council voted 8-1 in favor of a land use bill that gave King County the ability to replace its crumbling facilities.

In order to reach more residents of King County, we are replacing the open house at the Youth Services Center on Sat Jan. 24, with a virtual open house of conceptual designs of the Children and Family Justice Center. For your convenience, the virtual open house and survey will be available online from Jan. 24 through Feb. 8, 2015.

The County will post the virtual open house on the Children and Family Justice Center website late Fri., Jan. 23, and email it to project stakeholders. www.kingcounty.gov/childrenandfamilyjustice.

Please use the survey at the end of the narrated video to share your priorities as we move to design refinement in 2015 and construction in 2016 of the badly needed new courthouse and detention center at 12th Ave. and East Alder Street.

The County will schedule an in-person event after the design-build contract is signed and the design refinement process begins. Details about a public engagement schedule will be emailed to stakeholders, distributed on the County’s social media platforms and posted on the project website when they are available.

The Children and Family Justice Center will better support the policies and programs that have helped King County achieve one of the lowest juvenile detention rates in the nation. Additionally, King County is leading an assessment and developing an action plan in 2015 to further our work to minimize youth involvement and understand and better combat the causes of racial disparity in the criminal justice system, many of which occur long before youth arrive at the detention center door. For more information, visit www.kingcounty.gov/childrenandfamilyjustice.

Bullet reportedly smashes into apartment following 24/Spring shots fired incident… a half-mile away

Seattle Police are investigating whether a bullet that ended up in the wall of an apartment unit more than a half-mile from the scene is related to a wild shots fired incident Tuesday night in the Central District.

All information in this post is preliminary and has not yet been confirmed with SPD.

According to East Precinct radio reports, around 5:30 PM, police were called to the area around 24th and E Spring after a report of multiple shots fired in a street altercation involving at least one man on foot and vehicles seen fleeing the area. No victim or suspects were found but police were following up on multiple witness accounts.

Minutes later, a caller reported that a bullet had smashed through her window into the wall a door of her third floor 23rd Ave E apartment more than a half-mile from the shots fired scene.

Some witnesses described the gunman in the 24th and Spring incident as shooting wildly toward the north.

SPD is investigating both incidents.

There were no injuries reported at either location.

UPDATE 1:00 PM: SPD’s report on the incidents provides some new information in addition to confirming our earlier report — though it’s still not known with certainty that the bullet that struck the apartment was related to the relatively distant shooting scene. But it seems more than likely.

One witness told police she saw “a black male standing on the sidewalk, pointing a pistol northbound down the street” during the shooting at 24th and Spring. Another witness who said she ducked behind vehicles during the shooting said she saw a white male running from the area of the shooter.

At the apartment in the 200 block of 23rd Ave E, police say they found a bullet and damage “consistent with a downward trajectory” —

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 12.56.21 PM

Trial in 2009 murder of East Precinct officer begins



The trial of the accused cop killer who faces the death penalty after he allegedly opened fire on two East Precinct officers on Halloween night 2009 and killed veteran officer Timothy Brenton began Tuesday morning.

Accused killer Christopher Monfort faces the death penalty for the killing prosecutors say was part of a two-week campaign of violence against police officers. A week before the killing, police say Monfort set off explosive devices and set three police cars on fire at a maintenance yard.

Halloween night, Brenton was shot as he sat in his patrol car on Halloween night near 29th and Yesler. Officer Britt Sweeney was wounded in the attack but survived. Monfort also faces an attempted first-degree murder charge for allegedly shooting Sweeney.

Sweeney, a trainee at the time and on the force for about seven months, was able to make a radio call reporting “shots fired” and exit the vehicle to return fire, striking the suspect vehicle several times as it drove away.

Prosecutors say Monfort, 41 at the time of the attack, had written a manifesto against police brutality before the shooting.

"Christopher Monfort targeted two Seattle police officers for assassination in 2009 'solely because they were police officers,' a prosecutor said Tuesday morning during the opening statements in Christopher Monfort’s trial," The Seattle times reports (Image: Seattle Times)

“Christopher Monfort targeted two Seattle police officers for assassination in 2009 ‘solely because they were police officers,’ a prosecutor said Tuesday morning during the opening statements in Christopher Monfort’s trial,” The Seattle times reports (Image: Seattle Times)

In November 2014, CHS visited the community memorial at the site of the shooting on the fifth anniversary of Brenton’s murder. Brenton was 39. He was survived by his wife Lisa and two children.

In 2009, a procession of police cars filled Broadway the day following the murder as Brenton’s body was taken to Bonney Watson Funeral Home. A massive search for the killer included images of the suspect vehicle and a suspect description full of fears of domestic terrorism. Six days later, just as a memorial service for Brenton at Key Area concluded, police moved in on a suspect traced to Tukwila. Monfort was shot by police during his arrest and paralyzed from the waist down.

In 2013, a judge ruled Monfort could not face the death penalty because county prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s office had “failed to exercise the discretion it is statuatorily and constitutionally obliged to exercise.” That decision was later reversed. Early in 2014, Governor Jay Inslee instituted a moratorium on all executions in the state.

Satterberg office continues to pursue a capital case against the defendant. Meanwhile, Monfort’s lawyers must prove he was insane by a preponderance of the evidence.

#blacklivesmatter: As the Central District blanches, a house speaks


Inye Wokoma inside his mother’s former house (Image: Casey Jaywork)

On New Year’s Eve, Inye Wokoma joined three of his brothers to tour the gutted skeleton of a house on Marion. “This was our mother’s house,” he later told friends, “owned by our grandparents, and the center of our childhood and young adult lives.” Strapped for cash, the family recently decided to sell the house and reinvest the proceeds into adjacent rental properties.

The house’s story is a microcosm of the Central District, the historically black and increasingly white series of neighborhoods between downtown and Lake Washington. “The black vitality of the Central Area was mighty and strong” during the post-WWII decades, says longtime resident Vivian Phillips. From 1940 to 1960, the black population of Seattle grew by more than 600%. Phillips describes the CD of that time as a bastion of black business, black community, and black activism.

But in recent decades that outpost of what some call “the African diaspora” has been eroding. In 1990, the CD’s black residents outnumbered whites by nearly three-to-one, writes Seattle University’s Henry McGee, Jr. By the turn of the millennium, whites had become the majority. “You can call it displacement, you can call it an exodus,” says Wokoma. “The community I grew up with no longer exists… People basically dispersed and found places where they could afford to live.” Places, that is, outside Seattle. Continue reading

‘Fight for Your Rights’ say organizers of 33rd annual MLK Day festival and march

2014's march had a decided focus on economic justice the push for a $15 minimum wage gained steam (Image: CHS)

2014’s march had a decided focus on economic justice the push for a $15 minimum wage gained steam (Image: CHS)

Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day will bring a 33rd annual march and festival to the Central District to mark the great works of the civil rights leader.

This year’s theme? Fight for Your Rights in 2015! A list of the day’s workshops can be found here (PDF).

Information on the day of workshops and rallies and the noontime march from Garfield High School to the Federal Courhouse at 7th and Stewart is below. Last year’s march included thousands of participants. Continue reading

Fire damages Central District boxing gym — UPDATE

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

The Seattle Fire Marshal is investigating a fire that damaged the outside of the old gym home to Cappy’s Boxing Sunday morning at 22nd and E Union.

Flames involving a structure behind the gym were reported just after 6:30 AM. Seattle Fire brought the blaze under control but not before it damaged the main building’s southeastern exterior.

We’re not aware of any reported injuries.

The building is slated to be demolished to make way for a new development planned at the corner.

The marshal remained on the scene to determine the cause of the small fire.

UPDATE 1/19/15: We don’t have information on a cause yet from SFD but an update from Cappy’s says that the fire burned an AlleyCat Acres greenhouse but only did damage to the exterior of the gym. Cappy’s says the participants in a Monday morning class rallied to deal with the situation:

Yesterday morning, AlleyCat Acres’ greenhouse located beside Cappy’s Boxing Gym burned to the ground. Fortunately, there was no damage to the gym’s interior. However, our morning Fitness Class had no electricity as our power was shut off by the Firefighters.

With minimal notice, Cappy’s Team came together to provide candles and music, and Class went on!

Yesterday, Seattle Seahawks rallied at the 11th Hour with the help of the 12th Man, and scored a miraculous victory in the face of certain defeat!

When you are part of a winning team, there is never a reason to quit!!!

Cappy’s Gym is open today for all regular class times.

UPDATE 1/20/2015: Seattle Fire tells us a candle was to blame for Sunday morning’s blaze:

The cause of the fire was an unattended candle left burning by a transient inside the storage shed. The candle ignited available combustible materials in the shed. The damage estimate is $5,000.

Retired Central District businessman behind Richlen’s Kickin’ Chicken, 23rd and union market remembered

Richlen (Image: Madeline Crowley from The People of the Central Area)

Richlen (Image: Madeline Crowley from The People of the Central Area)

Jack Richlen, an important part of the Central District community and famous for Richlen’s Kickin’ Chicken restaurant, died this week.

He celebrated his 94th birthday in December.

The longtime resident of the Central District owned several business over the years.

He talked here about the restaurant and his memories of the old days in the CD with the fantastic site The People of the Central Area:

That was the normal thing when somebody from out of town moved in. Friends would come first to have a party, to open up a bottle of wine and they would say a welcome. I don’t remember the details, but before they ate they always had a, “L’Chaim,” they’d light the candles and so forth. That’s how we got started in Seattle.

Thanks to Ian Eisenberg for letting us know about Richlen’s passing.

Uncle Ike’s first Christmas comes up big but 2015 starts with Washington pot supply (finally) exceeding demand

(Source: WSLCB)

Uncle Ike’s sales outpaced state growth totals on the holiday revenue end of things (Source: WSLCB)

Uncle Ike's first customers were paying $26 for the shop's cheapest gram (Photo: Alex Garland)

Uncle Ike’s first customers were paying $26 per gram for the cheapest strains, now selling for $10. (Photo: Alex Garland)

If you’ve been avoiding Seattle’s retail marijuana shops because of the sky high prices, now might be the time to make a visit . Across the state, retail marijuana prices have dropped by over half in some places from when sales first started last summer.

At Uncle Ike’s, Capitol Hill’s nearest recreational pot retailer at 23rd and Union, some strains are now selling for around $10 per gram. The average gram was selling for $30 when the store opened in September. At the time, the state hadn’t permitted enough growers to meet demand, but the tides have apparently turned.

“Processors are now just sitting on hundreds of pounds and they can’t sell it,” said Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg. “There are more growers coming on line every day.”

In fact, Eisenberg said the CHS advertiser has so much surplus that he’s having to build out more storage for the glut of pre-packaged pot. Eisenberg filed construction permits for the work last month.

The lower prices may get more customers in the door, but Eisenberg said he and other I-502 retailers still can’t compete with the less regulated and less taxed medical market. This week, City Attorney Pete Holmes issued a call to state lawmakers to fold the medical system in the I-502 framework, a proposal Eisenberg said he supports.

Still, Uncle Ike’s remains one of the most successful shops in the state. State sales jumped 5% on average between November and December, while sales at Uncle Ike’s jumped 23%. Eisenberg’s shop was responsible for 4.15% of total marijuana sales in the state in December with just over $700,000 in pre-tax sales.

An ongoing lawsuit from a neighboring church isn’t slowing Ike’s down, either. In December, a King County Superior Court judge denied Mount Calvary Christian Center’s attempt to shut down Ike’s while their lawsuit against the business moves through court. The church is suing the pot shop for operating too close to a facility it says it being used as a teen center.

Meanwhile, a shuttered pot delivery service that operated on Capitol Hill is getting a new life in the legal market. Last month, the state liquor board approved the Winterlife Coop to become a marijuana processor at a north Seattle facility. Winterlife’s plans include producing “solvent-less” concentrates for vaporizers using alcohol rather than petroleum.

“Our main focus is edibles and concentrates as we believe that more and more the customer base will move away from smoking as the primary delivery source,” Winterlife’s Evan Cox told CHS. “It’s quite a change, but we’ve been preparing for it for some time and we’re overjoyed.”

And one last note: The timeline for an I-502 store opening on 15th Ave E is getting moved back again. Samuel Burke told CHS he now hopes to open tōk sometime in May.

The belated development at 22nd and Madison

The giant, 200+ unit project planned for the north side of E Madison was planned to have this massive internal courtyard

The giant, 200+ unit project planned for the north side of E Madison was planned to have this massive internal courtyard

“I started drinking with Deano in about 2005,” says Jim Mueller, referring to the eponymous owner of a bar that long made E Madison west of 22nd Ave its home. Mueller, a local, says that after leaving development giant Vulcan, he wanted to work on his own neighborhood. “It has long been obvious to me that some investment was needed,” he says. So he began working on plans for a mixed retail and apartment building on the site.

“This is a key neighborhood block and one of the last yet to be redeveloped on that stretch of Madison — Seattle’s only Sound-to-lake corridor,” The Seattle Times reported in 2008. “Its renewal would finally bring to this locale the kind of gentrification that has been taking place east and west of it and throughout much of the Central Area.”

“And then we had a recession,” Mueller says. “It was a project interrupted.”

Continue reading

Hoppy New Year: One year in with Chuck’s CD

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

How big was Chuck's in 2014? The beer stop currently tops our rankings for the biggest openings in food+drink in 2014

How big was Chuck’s in 2014? The beer stop currently tops our rankings for the biggest openings in food+drink in 2014

From early on, Jordan White knew Chuck’s Hop Shop’s Central District location would be a success.

“The very first night, I remember looking around and thinking, ‘This is Chuck’s Hop Shop.’”

Seattleites are an easy sell on craft beers, White said. The community already had a baseline knowledge, and love, of small breweries, and the city is home to many well-known brands. While there are quite a few notable beer stores in the city, they knew that the Chuck’s Central District location should thrive, considering a dearth of direct competition in the area.

A year on, White, the store’s manager, says it was humbling opening the shop in a new neighborhood –- the first Chuck’s at 656 NW 85th has been a Greenwood fixture for about five years. In that time, White said, the store had time to refine the business model to the point that they already knew what worked and what didn’t. But he was still not fully prepared for how excited the community has been about the store.

Ben Rainbow, a Judkins Park resident, said he used to frequent Chuck’s Greenwood location before the Central District shop opened. Rainbow said he’s been coming to Chuck’s CD since the soft opening with other beer lovers.

“The selection is the best. It’s always fresh and thoughtful,” he said. Continue reading

The old Twilight Exit comes down as developers unthaw E Madison plans

Thanks to Andrew and Kevin for the demolition pictures

Empty since the Twilight Exit moved to E Cherry in 2008, the old abandoned bar at 2051 E Madison has been torn to bits in the past week as work finally has begun on long-planned development in the area.

The land is being cleared for a long-delayed six-story, mixed-use development with 96 residential units and 6,711 square feet of retail at ground level across the street from Safeway. The building will have parking for around 80 vehicles and a 400 or so square-foot dog run on the roof.

The project is part of activity in the works and stalled for more than five years to create a set of apartment developments on both sides of E Madison where Chocolate City and the Twilight Exit once called home. We’ll have more soon on the plans for the area, why the projects were stalled for so long and what comes next soon.

Twilight Exit, in the meantime, has survived and thrived following the move to E Cherry.

SPD investigating E Union armed robbery, 23rd/Cherry carjacking

The victims in an early Friday morning street robbery near 23rd and Union told police they were held up by a group of three males armed with a pistol.

Police were called to the 2200 block of E Union around 12:40 AM Friday where the three suspects were last seen following the crime. According to one victim, one of the three black males involved in the hold-up was in his 30s and was armed with a pistol.

A K9 unit was called to the area and followed a track but the suspects were not immediately found.

Meanwhile, police are investigating an armed carjacking hours later at 23rd and Cherry.

Philadelphia Fevre closes bringing 30 years of cheesesteaks to an end in the Central District

(Images: @jlunz via Twitter)

“Closed for business” (Images: @jlunz via Twitter)

2014 will go down as a sad year for legendary Central District restaurants as 23rd and Madison’s Philadelphia Fevre has served its last “authentic Philly-style” cheesesteak after 31 years of business.

Here’s the legend Philly Fevre ownership tells of the sandwich shop’s birth:

Philadelphia Fevre was started by Renee LeFevre in 1983.  Ms. LeFevre moved to the northwest from Philadelphia with an idea of starting the first authentic Philly steak shop in the Seattle area.  Renee was a stickler for Philly authenticity and tradition.  Through Renee’s leadership the restaurant quickly established itself as a favorite stop for east coast transplants homesick for an authentic Philly-style meal.  The restaurant received numerous awards and recognition for its great food and unique offering.  Ms. LeFevre created a strong base and long standing tradition that is still felt by many of the shop’s customers today…

B5Eyqc6CAAAnPKrCHS is working to have more on what lead to the closure and the history of the shop soon but it looks like the restaurant’s end was anticipated by its owners. The Fevre’s liquor license was discontinued earlier this fall, often a sign of a business winding itself down. But we hope to be able to report more on the circumstances later this week.

There is no word, yet, on anything lined up to take over the space. If you need to get your Fevre fix, you can visit sibling Philly Fever Restaurant and Bar on 3rd St. in Renton. We don’t know why the sister location opted to change her name from Fevre. Philly owners say they are looking for a new Seattle location in which to reopen.

The 23rd/Madison shop’s closure follows this summer’s end of Catfish Corner which shuttered at MLK and Cherry after 30 years of business. That restaurant space remains empty.

#blacklivesmatter: A look at the covenants on Capitol Hill


“The Communist Party Newspaper, New World, published articles attacking racial restrictive covenants in 1948″ — Racial Restrictive Covenants: Enforcing Neighborhood Segregation in Seattle

In 1927, a small group of white homeowners on Capitol Hill had a problem: How to keep the Central District’s black population corralled to the “ghetto” south of Madison.

Gone were the days when whites could simply pass a law prohibiting blacks from moving into their neighborhoods. The Supreme Court had ruled such restrictive ordinances unconstitutional 10 years earlier.

So some of Capitol Hill’s forefathers (and foremothers) discovered a work-around: They went door to door getting their white neighbors to sign a covenant promising not to sell or rent their houses to people of “negro Blood” for at least 21 years. The effort appears to have been lead by a group called the Capitol Hill Community Club. In 1947, the covenants covered 183 blocks around the neighborhood. Continue reading