Sorry, Andrew Jackson, Seattle should rename its street named after you

In 1986, Ron Sims, the first black person to be a member of the King County Council, introduced a motion to repair his county’s recognition of history by changing its namesake from an obscure, pre-Civil War United States vice president and slaveholder to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. The motion passed, barely, 5-4. With history’s twists as knotted as ever this Presidents’ Day 2017, CHS wonders if another namesake change is in order.

Today, Jackson Street runs from the Central District to the International District and honors the nation’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson:

King Street was named by David Maynard in his 1853 Plat of the Town of Seattle, one of the first three plats laying out the street grid. (The other two plats, north of Maynard’s, were filed by Carson Boren and Arthur Denny). Maynard, a staunch Democrat, named many of the streets in his plat for Democratic leaders, including Andrew Jackson, John B. Weller (Governor of California), and Joseph Lane (Oregon Territory’s Congressional delegate).

As was William Rufus Devane King, Jackson was also a slaveholder. Beyond his battlefield prowess, he is remembered for The Indian Removal Act. His populism and, apparently, temper have also become a historical model for the Trump administration. Continue reading

The Murder of Tyrone Love

Margarita Quevedo-Walker and Tyrone Love

Margarita Quevedo-Walker and Tyrone Love

By Sakara Remmu/Special to CHS

Since 2007, Sakara Remmu has been a reporter and commentator covering social and political issues for KBCS Radio, The Seattle Times, and a number of regional and national news print and online outlets. She is the Founder and Managing Editor of BOMBCo; Black Owned Media Broadcasting Company, and Executive Producer of the podcast series Under the Redline, currently featuring the story of the Killing of Tyrone Love.

Innocent
In the late 2000s, shootings and murders — particularly of young black men — seemed almost common on the streets of Seattle. The Central District murder of Tyrone Love was different.

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(Image: CHS/Source: data.seattle.gov)

When the Seattle Police Department confirmed the identity of the man gunned down near 27th and Cherry February 15th, 2009 it was unlike anything most had seen or felt before. A city, across neighborhoods, race, religion, class and age, collectively knocked down, and stunned into disbelief, despair, and anger.

The bullets that killed Love hit his family, friends, his neighborhood, and the city at large. The funeral was standing room only. It was one of the few times the mayor himself, and not a delegate, attended the funeral of a homicide victim, specifically a black man. The mainstream media, quick to report such incidents as gang-related violence, initially did the same with Love’s murder, casting him an unsympathetic victim, blaming assumed yet inaccurate self-created circumstances. As far as the media was concerned, if Love was murdered because of gang affiliation, then in a way he was responsible for his own death; it’s a narrative we see time and time again.

Love was none of the things Seattle typically associates with shootings and murders of black men. He wasn’t a gang member or criminal. He didn’t have a criminal record. At 26, he was part founder and owner of a successful business with friends and business partners Jamar Jones and Bruce Williams. He was the provider for his family, including his mother, sisters, and girlfriend. Love had a seemingly stellar reputation in Seattle, with no known enemies. The night he was murdered, he was doing what he did countless times, going home from work. There was no particular incident leading up to the murder that provide clues about motive, or suspects; he didn’t argue with anyone and was thought to be alone as he walked. He was simply gunned down on the sidewalk, just blocks from his home.

His girlfriend, Margarita Quevedo-Walker, dropped Love off at work the night he was murdered. She was also the one who realized, hours later, that something was wrong. Love had not come home. In an interview with me in 2009, she recalled waking up around 4:30 in the morning and realizing his side of the bed was empty. She sent out texts to those closest to him, who sent out texts to their networks. No one knew where Love was. By 9:00 AM, the unimaginable was at the front door. Continue reading

Shopping center developer’s big deal for 23rd and Union is off the table

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-3-59-53-pmThe development plans for 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center are on hold. The Puget Sound Business Journal reported Wednesday that a member of the family that has owned the property for more than 75 years said the planned development’s financial driver Regency Centers had “fallen out of contract” — biz talk for saying the $20+ million deal likely lined up for the property has blown up.

Representatives for the Bangasser family have not responded to our inquiries about the report but a representative for the project from Lennar Multifamily Communities and Regency tells CHS the buyers are no longer under contract for the the 2.4-acre property at 23rd and Union. Continue reading

With 23rd and Union redevelopment in the works, Midtown Center looking for more businesses

The rapid change underway around 23rd and Union is shaping up to include a partnership for “inclusive development” between massive developers Lennar Multifamily Communities and Regency Centers with community group Africatown to create a full-block shopping center and housing project in the heart of the Central District. But what happens in the meantime?

The Bangasser family, longtime owner of the Midtown Center, say they have been working on improvements to make the property safer over the last couple years and soon hope to bring new tenants to the block. Margaret Delaney tells CHS they plan to post lease listings soon. The center’s kiosk is already on Craigslist. The 500-square-foot space is listed at $1,500 a month and is available for a “short term lease (1-2 years) or possible month-to-month if prefer.”

K. Wyking Garrett, CEO of Africatown, tells CHS that this is the time to invest in the present and the future at 23rd and Union.

“We need more positive development, more investment,” Garrett said. “There is a need to support and grow black-owned businesses.” Continue reading

Police: Fake FBI agent rips off nearly $130k in 23rd/Jackson robbery

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-1-01-07-pmA gunman wearing a suit who passed himself off as an FBI agent walked out of a 23rd and Jackson business with nearly $130,000 in cash in a heist pulled off last Wednesday night.

According to the SPD report on the incident, a worker at the unidentified “bank/savings and loan” was closing up for the night around 7 PM when the suspect knocked on a metal security gate, showed a badge, and said he was “FBI.” Once he was let in past the security gate, the phony agent told the worker he had conducted a “bad transaction” and asked to see the records for the day. “(The victim) pulled up his transaction record on the computer as S1 looked on,” the report reads. Continue reading

Women’s March stretches from Central District to the Seattle Center — UPDATE: 120,000

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A defiant and very pink wave or marchers stretched from the Central District to the Seattle Center as women from across the region — and womxn and those who love them all — stood up and hit the streets for reproductive, immigrants, and LGBTQ rights Saturday.

It looked like early estimates of up to 50,000 marchers could have been accurate as the first columns of people arrived at the Seattle Center as the tail end of participants was still leaving the morning rally site at Judkins Park, more than three miles away. UPDATE: The unofficial estimate being used by police is 120,000 people participating in the Seattle march.

“You would not believe the view from up here. It’s nothing but nasty women and pussyhats,” Chris Charbonneau of Planned Parenthood said in her time at the speakers platform to fire up the crowd as thousands gathered Saturday morning. Continue reading

CHS Pics | A Central District ‘Resist Trump’ work party

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Resistance can be fun — and creative. Wednesday night, CHS stopped by 23rd and Union’s Squirrel Chops to check out one of the last work parties before a series of protests, rallies, and marches begin across the city to mark the inauguration of Donald Trump.

The first planned event you’re likely to see play out on the Hill will come Friday afternoon as participants in an announced student walkout rally at Seattle Central before marching downtown to join what is expected to be a large protest downtown at Westlake. The updated CHS roster of planned events including Saturday’s 30,000 to 50,000-strong march from Judkins Park to the Seattle Center is here:

The plan for the Womxn’s March on Seattle and Capitol Hill Inauguration Week protests, rallies, and parties

There will also, of course, be un-planned, un-announced protests. We’ll do our best to keep you abreast of any actions on or around Capitol Hill.

Wednesday night’s sign making party was open to marchers planning to attend any of the weekend’s actions. District 3 representative Kshama Sawant was there enjoying the work party and preparing for her part in the the Socialist Alternative-backed Resist Trump: Occupy Inauguration rally at Westlake before she jets to Washington D.C. in time to be part of the Women’s March on Washington.

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Seattle University RAMPs up Central District with small biz project

Central District businesses can look to Seattle University for help thanks to a program funded by a $500,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase. Many CD businesses owned by minorities, women and immigrants face worries over lost space, high rents, changing markets and construction, according to a press release. Seattle U’s Resource Amplification & Management Program (RAMP), aims to keep businesses in the neighborhood and help them grow.

“The objective is to work with the business owners to create a customized strategic game plan with multiple elements, from marketing to raising capital and more for their long-term success and sustainability,” said the university’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center team executive director Sue Oliver.

Oliver and the IEC team are the grant recipients and have been working on a pilot funded by JPMorgan Chase during the past year.

During the three-year program, the RAMP team will use the grant dollars and school and community resources to more than 200 CD businesses by providing resources, training, coaching and connections.

Student interns and a team of business mentors will spend a year each working with neighborhood business owners to determine their needs and help connect them to resources, including existing civic and private services and Seattle U’s interns, researchers and mentors. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Ribbon cut at Central District’s new ‘Community Living Room’

It wasn’t a very pleasant day to show it off but residents, community leaders, and city officials made do Sunday with a ceremony inside the Central District’s Garfield Community Center to celebrate its new outdoor “living room.”

The Community Living Room was conceived as a gathering space for the neighborhood and features barbecues, benches, a large picnic table, game tables, a beautiful seating stone, and a large flexible space for events. When the doors are open to the Garfield Community Center gym and multipurpose room, the indoor and outdoor spaces will connect and provide a new welcoming space for the community.

Continue reading