City seeks feedback on plan for EV charging station in the Central District

After Seattle City Light’s previous efforts to install an electric vehicle charging station on Broadway were curbed, the organization is proposing to build a similar EV charging station in the Central District.

The charging station would be implemented on East Olive St between 21st and 22nd Ave as part of the City of Seattle’s pilot program to add EV charging stations throughout the city. The pilot program is part of the Drive Clean Seattle Initiative, which hopes to provide more EV charging stations as an incentive for people to drive EVs, aiding the city in meeting its carbon neutral goals. 

If the chargers are built, two fast chargers will be located along the curb while two existing street parking spots will be converted to “EV charging only” spaces.

The average EV charging session lasts between fifteen and thirty minutes, so drivers would be limited to an hour of parking at these spaces.  Continue reading

Why you might want to give a dollar or two to a fundraising campaign to help a Central District barbershop move

With reporting by Emily Piette

A Central District community centerpiece — and a great place for a haircut, Earl’s Cuts and Styles is looking for fundraising help as it moves to a new location in the inclusively planned affordable housing development, the Liberty Bank Building, named to honor the region’s first Black-owned bank that once stood at the corner of 24th and Union.

For owner Earl Lancaster, the fundraising effort is about being able to handle the pile of costs that stack up when running a small business and trying to pull together a move to a new location after years of business at the soon to be demolished Midtown Center.

“The fundraising campaign will cover the odds and ends, helping with some new equipment since a lot of my equipment is older and making sure I have enough running capital for the move to go right,” Lancaster said.

The campaign has so far raised around a third of its $5,000 goal.

For Wyking Garrett, CEO of Africatown who helped manage the effort to recruit Black-owned businesses to the Liberty Bank project with Capitol Hill Housing, the fundraising isn’t a sign that inclusive development at 24th and Union isn’t working.

“It’s a great opportunity for the community to really support and invest in a community treasure,” Garrett said.

But the leader of the nonprofit dedicated to economic development and maintaining and growing a Black presence in the Central District said more, indeed, needs to be done for small businesses facing displacement, and Black and minority business owners facing soaring costs.  Continue reading

Birds of a cask ale feather will flock together as Machine House’s Central District taproom becomes the Capercaillie Pub

Celebrate the 4th of July by drinking English ales

Capercaillie Pub will continue Machine House Brewery’s quest of serving English beer on E Jefferson. The new project is a result of a shift in ownership, and the pub will be taking over the brewery’s bar space, making a few smaller changes in addition to the name change and change in ownership.

“Our vision is the Capercaillie will be a neighborhood pub featuring cask ale, and a place where people can hang out and feel comfortable,” said Alex Brenner, the pub’s owner, “I really like the layout of the space, the staff are great with customers, and the beer we serve is spot on.” Continue reading

City Council comes to Central District to talk taking on gun violence with cops on foot, SDOT improvements, economic development

Flowers and a memorial left for Royale Lexing along E Union (Image: CHS)

A slide from the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New
Americans, and Education Committee meeting

One-third of the Seattle City Council, half a dozen city department officials, and the deputy chief of the Seattle Police Department met with a crowded room of Central District residents Thursday evening as they outlined the city’s holistic approach to addressing the recent spate of gun violence in the neighborhood that has left citizens worried.

Lorena González brought herGender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans, and Education Committee committee to the CD for a special meeting In collaboration with the African American Community Advisory Council at the Seattle Vocational Institute in what has been the most significant official response to concerns about gun violence and a deadly shooting in the neighborhood.

On a Friday afternoon in mid-May, 19-year-old Royale Lexing was found dead by police outside Swedish Cherry Hill where he was rushed by private vehicle after multiple shooters exchanged fire in a chaotic scene along E Union. This was the first fatal shooting in the community in the first six and a half months of a year since 2014, according to SPD. Continue reading

District 3 candidates for Seattle City Council talk safe streets

Transportation equity and city government transparency were the top concerns at Monday’s District 3 candidates forum at Central Cinema hosted by Central Seattle Greenways after a walk through the community featuring a number of specific issues, including bike lanes and automobile speed.

All of the candidates were in attendance at the evening forum and five of the six made it for the hour-long Central District walk beforehand as Seattle Public Schools Board member Zachary DeWolf was busy attending a graduation event. Incumbent council member Kshama Sawant got there a few minutes late walking because of what she called pedestrian deprioritization as the lights were not going in her favor.

Crosswalks came up as the attendees stood on 23rd and Union with talk that they are not always convenient and may not last long enough, which is why one organizer called for a signal policy directly from the city.

“It’s deeply important that we are making sure that our crossing signals prioritize pedestrians and people who bike, but also that they are long enough both for seniors, families, and [young people] to get across,” DeWolf said during the forum later. Continue reading

Central Area Chamber of Commerce gears up for Juneteenth — and a new chapter

The chamber’s Pitre showed the mayor the neighborhood in April (Image: CHS)

On bad days, Lawrence Pitre feels like he’s just rolling a rock up a hill. Like he’s not quite honoring the legacy of DeCharlene Williams who founded the Central Area Chamber of Commerce Pitre now leads from an office in the DeCharlene’s Beauty Salon storefront on E Madison.

“There are days that I come in here and just want to close the door and go: ’Okay, DeCharlene (…) help me here. How am I supposed to do this?’” Pitre says. Before Williams died last year, Pitre promised her he would continue the chamber’s legacy of community-building in the Central District.

Though there are times Pitre feels small against the forces of displacement and gentrification of the CD, he has kept his promise. In April, DeCharlene’s Beauty Salon, and the neighboring office reopened after a renovation and chamber rebranding — the beginning of a new chapter.

The Central Area Chamber’s revival stands in stark contrast with the recent shuttering of the nearby Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and its ambitious but unsuccessful effort to create an expanded business area. Continue reading

Former e-bike shop lined up as planned new home for Central District post office

There is a plan for the Central District to get its post office back.

In a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan, the United States Postal service says it is working on agreement with the property owner of The Central building at 2207 E Union to take over the space being left vacant by the exit of electric bike dealership Electric Lady.

“If this location is not adequate or an agreement cannot be reached with its owner, the Postal Service will consider other sites within the preferred area as shown at the May 2, 2019, meeting,” the letter reads. Continue reading

With a vision for affordability beyond the neighborhood, Capitol Hill Housing won’t just be Capitol Hill Housing much longer

Developed in conjunction with Africatown, The Black Community Impact Alliance, and Byrd Barr Place, Capitol Hill Housing’s Liberty Bank Building opened in March

By Tim Kukes for CHS

Capitol Hill Housing held its annual meeting Tuesday at the 12th Avenue Arts building, one of several projects across Seattle created by the nonprofit developer of affordable housing.  Members of the organization gave status reports on the successes of the past year and discussed some of the challenges they were facing.  But, CEO Chris Persons did what in journalism is called “burying the lede”.

“We’re coming up with a new name,” Persons said, late in the meeting.  “Think about our name, Capitol Hill Housing, neither of those really represent what we do as an organization, so it is time after 40 years to select a different name.”

What was discussed prior to the announcement Tuesday morning illustrates the need for a new name and rebranding of the organization.  As the leadership spoke it became clear that the message was that CHH was more than in the business for providing affordable housing and its scope was beyond Capitol Hill.

As Persons put it, “Building beyond buildings.” Continue reading

23rd Ave Vision Zero work not complete but street getting back to *new* normal in the Central District

(Image: SDOT)

After more than a year of construction as part of the overhaul of 23rd Ave from Montlake to the Central District, the southern end of the route is back open to vehicular traffic and the long project is moving into its final phases.

The Seattle Department of Transportation announced that 23rd Ave south of Jackson has been re-opened to two-way motor vehicle traffic though construction is still being wrapped up.

The so-called Phase 2 of the 23rd Ave Vision Zero plan began last spring to continue the effort of slimming down the corridor and adding sidewalk improvements including new paving, crosswalks, and upgraded pedestrian crossing signals, new landscaping and trees, and transit improvements including real-time arrival information and bus pullouts between Jackson and S Hill. Continue reading

East Precinct cop in Central District AutoZone ‘I got a little disrespected earlier today’ office chair incident won’t be fired

An East Precinct police sergeant was demoted after he drove his Seattle Police SUV to a Central District shopping center, unloaded an office chair, and rolled across the pavement to sit in front of the 23rd and Jackson AutoZone to wait 40 minutes for an employee to apologize for “disrespecting” him.

But he will not be fired for lying about his actions.

The Seattle Times reports that Chief Carmen Best handed down a decision last month to suspend officer Frank Poblocki 30 days for making “materially false statements” about the incident. The Times reports Best’s decision came despite SPD policy “that officers will be fired for dishonesty in their official duties — a cornerstone of rules adopted in 2008 to address community concerns about accountability.” Continue reading