Pratt Fine Arts Center plans expansion in mixed-use development

(Image: Pratt Fine Arts)

(Image: Pratt Fine Arts)

Pratt Fine Arts Center’s plans to expand are moving forward with designs in progress and money in the bank to anchor a six-story, mixed-use development on the block it calls home at 20th and Jackson.

“In order to achieve Pratt’s long term vision, we have worked tirelessly to find the best way to accommodate Pratt’s growing need for additional facilities to better serve art students and independent artists,” Steve Galatro, Pratt executive director said. “This multifaceted development will expand our capacity, unlock new potential, strengthen the connections to our neighborhood, and ensure that creativity thrives in a dynamic urban campus for many years to come.” Continue reading

After plan went ‘sideways,’ SDOT says will find a way to build E Union protected bike lanes

Protected bike lanes on E Union won’t fall through the cracks. Seattle Department of Transportation officials say they are working on a plan for adding a protected area on the busy street for riders after the upgrade dropped out of the Madison Bus Rapid Transit plan and was also left off the drawing board for the city’s Bike Master Plan “five-year” projects.

The plan for E Union’s protected bike lane addition “very plainly went sideways,” SDOT chief of staff Genesee Adkins said at Tuesday’s meeting of the Seattle City Council’s transportation committee as she introduced a session reviewing the department’s bike plan projects (PDF). Continue reading

Another ugly incident at 23rd and Union

A protest against displacement and in support of Africatown’s efforts at 23rd and Union devolved into a fight between activists and security at an area business Saturday — and a video from an ugly exchange in the midst of the confrontation has drawn sharp rebuke.

Police were called to the intersection Saturday afternoon after activists who had been part of an anti-displacement “Mini Block Party” at Midtown Center crossed the street and challenged security seeking to keep protesters off the frequently targeted property at Uncle Ike’s, the legal pot shop that has been a regular target of those opposed to both what they say is the I-502 cannabis industry’s non-inclusive system and concerns about gentrification in the rapidly developing neighborhood.

One protester was reportedly treated for facial injuries by Seattle Fire after the fight. Police said that the groups were separated around 4 PM.

But an exchange in the aftermath of the fight recorded by Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg in which activist and recently evicted block resident Omari Garrett tells the Jewish business owner to “go back to Germany” and “let those Nazis get on you again” has outraged many and forced developers working in the neighborhood and partnering with Africatown — run by Garrett’s son K. Wyking Garrett — to try to distance themselves from the situation. Continue reading

With Seattle City Hall the target, Oliver fills Washington Hall in mayoral campaign kickoff

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With a platform based around equity, the fight against displacement, and the fight for social justice — plus a boost from left firebrand Kshama SawantNikkita Oliver kicked off her campaign to unseat Mayor Ed Murray from Seattle’s City Hall by filling the Central District’s Washington Hall beyond capacity Sunday afternoon.

“We need a mayor who has the courage to point out the obscenity of having two of the world’s richest people in our area when we have so many homeless,” Sawant said, warming the crowd up for the candidate’s speech.

For what it’s worth, neither of those extremely rich people are among the dozens who have already given to Murray’s reelection campaign. But while Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates aren’t on the contributor list, Murray has already tallied more than $300,000 in contributions at this point in the race. The Capitol Hill resident launched his campaign with a big head start last summer in a party at big time political PR executive Roger Nyhus’s home near Volunteer Park. Continue reading

Police chase down Grand Am after reported Central District drive-by

Two people were taken into custody after a swift and heavy response from Seattle Police to a reported drive-by shooting Monday morning near 25th and Jackson.

Police were called to the area just after 11 AM to a report that two people had been shot at by a passing vehicle near 25th and Jackson. With no reported injuries at the scene, police began searching for the gold Pontiac Grand Am reported to have been involved in the shooting.

The car was spotted by police headed north on Rainier and was chased to MLK before the Grand Am was eventually ditched near 31st and Bayview and at least three occupants fled on foot.

According to police radio dispatches, officers were able to quickly surround the area and begin searching backyards on the block where the car was ditched. Around 11:20 AM, an officer reported he had one person held at gunpoint. Officers soon reported two people were taken into custody. A K9 unit and the Sheriff’s Guardian One helicopter were also searching the area for a possible third person who may have been in the vehicle but that female suspect was not found. Police said two people were detained after the incident.

The incident comes amid increased concerns from community members and businesses about Central District gunfire incidents.

UPDATE: SPD has posted a brief on the incident:

Officers chased down two suspects Monday following a drive-by shooting in the Central District. Around 11:15 AM, police received reports that someone in a gold Pontiac had fired at two men walking on the street near 25th Avenue and Jackson Street. Officers spotted the suspects’ vehicle and followed it to 23rd Avenue and South College Street, where two suspects ditched their car and took off on foot. Police caught up to the men and took them into custody. No one was injured in the incident. Officers attempted to contact the victims following the incident, but they declined to provide statements to police. The SPD Gang Unit is investigating and asks that anyone with information call (206) 684-4585.

 

Big bust raises tensions at Midtown Center

As neighbors living around 23rd and Union concerned about gun violence met at Seattle University for a community crime meeting to discuss recent shootings, a major law enforcement operation including reports of flash bang explosives went down in a tension-filled Midtown Center Thursday night.

Multiple people were taken into custody during the incident first reported to CHS around 7:30 PM Thursday after the operation was well underway.

A Seattle Police spokesperson said Friday morning he was looking into the situation and could not provide details of the arrests and SPD’s possible involvement. UPDATE 3:40 PM: SPD has posted a report on the arrest of a 27-year-old man wanted in connection with a shooting incident Monday night: Continue reading

Community meeting called after more 23/Union gunfire

With tensions over change and displacement in the Central District boiling over in evictions, protests, and scuffles, neighbors are asking for more to be done after another bout of gun violence near 23rd and Union.

Police received a flood of 911 calls Monday night just before 7:30 PM reporting multiple gunshots and two vehicles seen fleeing the area. Arriving officers found shell casings near Marion and damage to houses in the area but, fortunately, no injuries.

In the wake of the incident, Sara Mae Brereton, owner of 23rd and Cherry’s 701 Coffee, posted a call for a community meeting to “stop the shootings” and calling on Mayor Ed Murray and District 3 representative Kshama Sawant to respond to the ongoing violence.

Stop the Shooting, Stop the Hate CD Community Meeting

Monday’s driveby shootout was the latest in a string of gunfire incidents along 23rd Ave from Jackson to Union. Continue reading

Protest against displacement at 23rd and Union targets landowner’s Madrona home, sparks scuffle at Uncle Ike’s

Protesters said they were targeting the home of the family member who heads the Midtown Center partnership as Madrona got an unusual influx of activists Saturday night

Protesters said they were targeting the home of the family member who heads the Midtown Center partnership as Madrona got an unusual influx of activists Saturday night

A protest against gentrification and displacement in the Central District that followed the eviction of a longtime neighborhood activist from his 24th and Spring home showed just how personal the tumult around change can be as the Madrona home of a 23rd and Union property owner was targeted — and the owner of a controversial marijuana store momentarily lost his cool Saturday night.

Protesters Saturday night gathered at 23rd and Union outside the office space where the Black business incubator Black Dot is being booted from the teed-up-for-redevelopment Midtown Center. The protest was a planned response after the eviction of Omari Tahir-Garret from the block earlier in the week. The rally and march eventually traveled all the way to Madrona where protesters said they were targeting the home of Hugh Bangasser, head of the family partnership that owns the Midtown Center and is planning to sell the property for redevelopment.

But the sparks flew late in the night after the march returned to 23rd and Union and organizer Cliff Cawthon brought the group to the parking lot of “gentrifier” Uncle Ike’s where the I-502 pot shop was once again surrounded by a mix of protesters, Seattle Police, and Ike’s security employees. Continue reading

Synagogue hate graffiti part of string of Trump-echoing vandalism around Capitol Hill, Central District

Another case of hate tagging -- thanks to EV for the picture

Another case of hate tagging — thanks to EV for the picture

“LOVE WINS,” read the sheet quickly put up by a neighbor to cover the hateful graffiti found Friday morning targeting 16th Ave’s Temple De Hirsch Sinai on a day when even a box of old history books left innocently for the synagogue’s rabbi caused fear and uncertainty. If love wins — and is going to keep winning — it has some work to do around Capitol Hill and the Central District where Friday’s vandalism appears to be part of a string of similar property damage with messages hitting all of progressive Seattle’s deepest fears about the Trump administration.

Neighbor EV sent us the example seen outside an apartment complex in the Central District and quickly painted over. EV writes: Continue reading

Black Dot dispute clouds future of Africatown ‘inclusive development’ at 23rd and Union

14570556_563197213867977_1386588592077165332_o (1)With a multimillion land deal looming in the background that could make the community group part of what it calls “inclusive development” in the Central District, Africatown says it is taking on “Trump-style real estate discrimination” over the effort to evict work space and business incubator Black Dot from the 23rd and Union shopping center.

The community organization run by K. Wyking Garrett has called for a press conference Monday afternoon at the site of Black Dot’s space inside Midtown Center complex:

Today, at 4 p.m., community leaders in support of Black Dot – a business incubator and economic development center providing technical assistance to African American-owned and operated businesses and microenterprises – will host a press conference and rally protesting the recent illegal attempts made to evict the business advocacy group from its current headquarters.

The dispute follows efforts last week for the Midtown Center Partnership, the Bangasser family company, to clear out Black Dot including changing the locks on the commercial berth being used for the work space following the end of the contract with the leaseholder in the partnership of community groups that helped start the location last year.

Police were called to help sort things out Friday but left the property owners to deal with starting a formal eviction process: Continue reading