A crucial Capitol Hill project for one of the city’s only providers of nonprofit, low-income health care will take what should be its final step in the Seattle design review process Wednesday night.
The Country Doctor Community Clinic’s plan will create a new four-story building on the site of its 19th Ave E offices:
The new facility will provide medical services including a new dental clinic, and expanded services for WIC (Women, Infants and Children), Maternity, HIV and Chronic Pain. The project will also provide expanded administrative office and meeting space for the entire Country Doctor Community Health Centers network. The current 2,350 square feet of medical services and administrative offices provided on-site will be expanded to 9,000 square feet on the 1st and 2nd floors.
Meanwhile, the project’s top two floors will house eight workforce apartments in a mix of studio and one-bedroom units. Country Doctor had hoped to to develop the housing as affordable apartments but that the project was too small to attract a development partner.
The new $6.5 million facility is being funded by a capital campaign, $1 million in federal grants, and a $1.2 million grant from the city to support the clinic’s new dental services.
Design review: 510 19th Ave E
Executive director Linda McVeigh told CHS last fall the construction will also add more private rooms, sorely lacking in the current space. “A lot of services we provide are best provided in a one on one environment,” she said. Continue reading
There’s a brewing storm for the Seattle City Council’s planning committee: the final decision on whether or not to approve the controversial Swedish Cherry Hill hospital expansion proposal, a plan that faces opposition from numerous local neighborhood groups. Saying no — or not yet — will further delay a critical expansion project for one of the area’s largest employers.
At a committee meeting Friday morning, Ketil Freeman from council central staff brought with council members Rob Johnson, Mike O’Brien, and Lisa Herbold up to speed on the basics of the expansion proposal and a timeline for ruling on Swedish’s desired upzone to add an additional 1.5 million square feet to the 1.3 acre Cherry Hill Campus.
The expansion proposal has been several years in the making. In 2012, Swedish Health Services and the Sabey Corporation (who owns roughly 30% of the Cherry Hill campus) began the long process of applying to renew their Major Institution Master Plan [MIMP]—a city-approved development plan required for hospitals who want to deviate from standard zoning in the area—and they wanted up zones in the new version. Continue reading
A city arbiter’s office is the latest arena for the drawn out struggle over the planned expansion of the Swedish Medical Center’s Cherry Hill campus.
On Monday, the city’s Office of the Hearning Examiner started day-long hearings to resolve an appeal neighbors filed against the city for approving an environmental study of the hospital’s plans, drafted by developer Sabey Corporation.
Concerned Neighbors of Swedish Cherry Hill claim the Department of Planning and Development failed to fully assess the impact of the hospital’s expansion on the surrounding area. Ultimately, the group is hoping the appeal will force Swedish to heed neighborhood concerns.
The most pressing concern for neighbors is that the building plans are too big and too tall to fit into the largely residential area. Lack of parking, obstructed views, and flimsy traffic mitigation plans are also cited in the group’s appeal. According to Swedish, the 1.6 million square foot site is nearly at capacity and needs to build up in order to continue serving its growing patient population.
The hearings are expected to last at least through the end of the week.
The fight over the hospital’s planned expansion goes back two years to when members of a Community Advisroy Committee started weighing in on the hospital’s Major Institution Master Plan. During the course of those meetings, the group managed to whittle down the size of the hospital’s proposals, but a consensus was never reached.
Swedish was recently the target of a large protest over nursing shortages and the improved benefits to attract new hires. Hundreds of hospital workers, union organizers, and a handful of elected officials staged a picket outside the First Hill campus against the management of the Providence Health Services-allied hospital.
For more details on the Swedish Cherry Hill appeal and recordings of the proceedings, visit the hearing examiner’s case page.
Council member Bruce Harrell
Council member Kshama Sawant
Mayor Ed Murray
Calls for more nurses and the improved benefits to attract them echoed through Broadway Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of hospital workers, union organizers, and a handful of elected officials staged a picket outside Swedish Hospital’s First Hill campus.
The picket came one day after another round of negotiations ended without a contract deal between SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and Swedish, one of the largest Central Area employers and
owned allied with Providence Health Services.
Staffing levels at the hospital are among the major sticking points in negotiations. Swedish-Providence is seeking to hire some 1,600 nurses, positions the hospital says it’s been unable to fill with qualified workers due to a nationwide nursing shortage.
SEIU members say the hospital is unwilling to offer a wage and benefit package that would attract those nurses despite the fact the hospital banked $110 million last year. In the meantime, hospital workers say low staffing levels are hurting patients and creating untenable working conditions.
Speaking before the crowd, Mayor Ed Murray said he was concerned about the strained relationship between Swedish and its workers and called on the hospital to quickly resolve the dispute. June Altaras, Swedish’s chief executive of acute care, told CHS she hoped a new round of negotiations would start sometime this month. Council members Mike O’Brien, Bruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, and Jean Godden were also in attendance to support picketing workers. Continue reading
Seattle Fire responding to victim with gunshot wound left outside Swedish Cherry Hill (Images: Alex Garland)
With reporting by Alex Garland
A male victim with a gunshot wound to the chest was left in the parking lot of the Swedish Cherry Hill hospital following a night of gunfire around 23rd Ave.
All details on Thursday night’s shooting incidents in the Central District are preliminary. SPD has confirmed that one male has been shot and that police are investigating. UPDATE: SPD says the victim is a 31-year-old man. Continue reading
To call the battle to save the Central District’s George Washington Carmack House a seven-year fight isn’t quite right. Last week, the one-sided end of the tussle came quickly for the more than 100-year-old mansion once home to George Carmack, the Seattle pioneer and prospector credited by most with setting off the Klondike gold rush:
When Carmack and his wife disposed of their holdings in the Klondike, they moved to Seattle where they took residence at the prestigious Hotel Seattle. Kate Carmack did not enjoy living in Seattle and returned to her northern home.  Carmack soon thereafter married a woman named Marguerite. Carmack eventually left the Hotel Seattle, but continued residing in the Pioneer Square area. From 1905 until 1909, he lived in a house at 3007 East Denny Way, which has since been removed. By 1910, Carmack moved to 1522 East Jefferson. According to Seattle City Directories, Carmack lived at this address until he died in 1922. Marguerite Carmack continued living in the house until the 1940s. A considerable amount of development has occurred around this house, which is still used as a residential structure.
Lawyers for the Swedish healthcare group have sent an “IMMEDIATE CEASE AND DESIST WARNING” to Washington Community Action Network (WA CAN), CHS has learned over the group’s efforts to fight the expansion of the Cherry Hill campus.
Swedish’s ‘Cease and desist’ letter to WA CAN
On January 27th, three WA CAN organizers approached people in the waiting areas of Swedish’s Cherry Hill campus, handing out copies of both Swedish’s own charity care application and a WA CAN brochure about Swedish’s handling of medical debt. When a representative of Swedish’s management spotted them, he escorted the organizers out. The next day, the left-leaning community organizing group received a hand delivered letter from Swedish’s lawyers, which read in part:
…you shall immediately cease and desist all activities on the Swedish Medical Center Cherry Hill Campus…[including] handing out any form of communication to hospital staff, patients or visitors, and speaking to any hospital staff, patients or visitors on any subject.
WA CAN organizer Xochitl Maykovich told CHS that WA CAN has been unsuccessfully trying to take its concerns (outlined in this white paper) to Swedish CEO Tony Armada for months. “In the interim,” she said, “we decided that people need to know about charity care, and so we gave patients in the waiting room…charity care applications…[And] we put a few on the ER [waiting area] table…We were very polite, and the people that I talked to, they were like, ‘Oh wow, thanks.'” Continue reading
Nearly 2,000 residents landed just off 15th Ave E on Capitol Hill in 2013 — and none of them work at Amazon… yet. Part of the news in an announcement last week that Group Health was ending its affiliation with Virginia Mason and planning to partner up with Swedish is the end of an era at the Group Health Capitol Hill campus. Sometime in spring 2015, the last momma will give birth at Group Health’s 15th at Thomas campus.
Starting in 2016, Group Health patients will go to Swedish First Hill and Cherry Hill hospitals where they will be treated by Group Health. As part of the planned change, maternity services will transition to Swedish’s busy First Hill Birth Center.
Group Health officials say “patients’ access to services, including voluntary termination of pregnancy, ‘death with dignity’ services and access for gays and lesbians, will not be compromised by Swedish’s connection to Providence Health & Services, a Catholic health-care system,” the Seattle Times reports.
A Group Health spokesperson told CHS the Capitol Hill maternity facility welcomed more than 1,700 babies to the world in 2013 with a complimentary first breath of Capitol Hill air. Let’s hope a future dominated by First Hill babies is a good one.
A rendering of the future Mad Flats near 16th and Madison
This week, look south for important meetings that will shape the physical space around us. Mad Flats, an E Madison microhousing project, is ready for its final step in design review and the community process to shape the “Major Institution Master Plan” for Swedish Cherry Hill begins. Details below.
Replacing an old E Madison Victorian with a planned 55 “efficiency dwelling units,” the Mad Flats project at 1523 E Madison sailed through its early design guidance review session last summer without a single public comment.
The project from developer Johnson Carr and architects Janette also went unimpeded by the Landmarks Preservation Board as the body could find no good reason to protect the more than 100-year-old E Madison Victorian built by Capt. William Renton that will be demolished to make way for the development. Continue reading