Environmental nonprofit Nia Tero ready to put down roots with new Pike/Pine office

A nonprofit dedicated to helping indigenous people efficiently manage the environment is coming to Capitol Hill. The nonprofit Nia Tero looks to move into offices being renovated this summer at 501 E Pine.

The organization will work with indigenous people around the world to help them continue to act as stewards of their land.

“For millennia, indigenous peoples have thrived through connection with their territorial lands and waters. These connections between people and place have shaped societies that sustain some of the most vital natural systems on the planet. Nia Tero exists to support and amplify this guardianship through equitable partnerships with indigenous peoples to sustain and govern large-scale territories,” says the group’s website. Continue reading

Mayor’s office: Durkan ‘misspoke’ on development as #1 Seattle greenhouse polluter — UPDATE

The mayor’s office says its boss messed up Saturday when she told the crowd at a Capitol Hill town hall that new development was the number one cause of greenhouse gases in Seattle.

CHS reported on the town hall’s wide ranging conversation that included Mayor Jenny Durkan’s comments on homelessness, transit, and affordability.

The mayor started off alright when it came to the environment:

While the city seems to be struggling to make real changes to its streets to address the concerns, Durkan also said Saturday her city needs to move away from dependency on cars. Speaking to Seattle’s future, Durkan addressed an audience member’s concern over climate change and Seattle’s struggle to reduce greenhouse gasses as the city continues to grow. “We gotta get rid of the single occupancy vehicles and move to electricity, electric busses, cabs, Ubers and Lyfts,” she said. “But we don’t want electric vehicles to become another demarcation of inequity.”

But she stumbled on a surprising pivot looking at Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning through the prism of its environmental impact: Continue reading

Sunny days for Capitol Hill solar with plans for Miller ‘microgrid,’ five years of Bullitt Center

Happy 5th birthday, Bullitt Center

Sunday — Earth Day 2018 — Capitol Hill’s Bullitt Center at 15th and Madison celebrated five years at “the greenest office building” in the world. At this point, Earth Day is probably the kind of thing we should think about all year round. A new project at Capitol Hill’s Miller Community Center is set to make the Seattle Parks facility part of an important test case for the city with plans for a $3.3 million solar microgrid to be installed in early 2019.

“Seattle is a leader in climate change, and with this project, we are adding sustainable, emission-free energy to the community,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in the announcement of the project to be funded through City Light investing $1.8 million and a $1.5 million state Clean Energy Fund matching grant from the Washington Department of Commerce. “Protecting our environment and lowering operating costs of our facilities makes good economic sense and is an important step as we move towards becoming a green economy.”

The $3.3 million “demonstration project” microgrid is expected to reduce the amount of electricity Seattle Parks buys from Seattle City Light, while saving about $4,000 annually, and about $70,000 over the 14-year life of the project, the city says. Continue reading

Your ‘aspirational recycling’ is only part of Seattle’s trash problem — Happy Earth Day, Capitol Hill!

It should come as no surprise that Seattle’s recycling game is among the top 10 of major United States cities but it might be a good time for a refresher considering 15 tons of material put in the recycling bin is rejected each day from the sorting plant.

“The Pacific Northwest is pretty good at recycling overall but it’s important to note, just because you recycle something, doesn’t mean it will be recycled,” said general manager of the local Recology/CleanScapes sorting facility Kevin Kelly. Taking the time to learn and properly stow materials will decrease the risk of those carefully sorted items ending up in the trash.

The stakes for getting the sorting done in your home have risen. The demand for Seattle materials has dropped hugely since 2017, Kelly said, due to losing China’s business which accounted for 50% of sales. China withdrew from international mixed-paper and glass markets with no sign of return after deeming the level of contaminants in recycling exports too high. The ban went into effect January 2018 and has impacted markets all over the world. In a few cases, without a buyer, tons of ready to be recycled goods around King County are being sent to the landfill. Continue reading

Seattle’s bid to cut emissions and traffic includes downtown tolling by 2021, Pike and Pine protected bike lanes ‘ASAP’

City Hall is putting together a plan to toll downtown Seattle streets before the end of her first term in 2021, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Tuesday.

Meanwhile, City Council transportation committee head Mike O’Brien is pushing for a more immediate effort to complete new protected bike lanes on Pike and Pine with money from the Washington State Convention Center expansion.

Both efforts come as Seattle seeks to ease congestion in its core and cut the some 6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions created every year in the city. Continue reading

CHS Pics | At a Capitol Hill church, new green cisterns resurrect the rain


With the story of Christ’s resurrection and all that jazz, Easter, we suppose, is a story of recycling. Capitol Hill’s Prospect Congregational United Church of Christ is now ready for the Seattle rain it captures to rise again.

“The members of Prospect United Church of Christ are excited to have these two cisterns as tangible evidence of our willingness to walk the talk about caring for our environment,” church pastor, Meighan Pritchard said in the announcement of two new cisterns installed under the county and city’s joint RainWise rebate program at the 94-year-old church at the corner of 20th Ave E and E Prospect.
Continue reading

Grants power new solar arrays atop Harborview, Seattle Central

(Image: Harborview Medical Center)

First Hill’s Harborview is installing the largest solar array of any hospital in the state with help from City of Seattle and federal grants.

“Harborview is committed to sustainability in our operations,” Pam Jorgensen, assistant the hospital’s administrator of facilities and engineering said in the announcement of the project. “This solar project will help us meet our carbon reduction goals, create redundant power for the West Hospital in case of an emergency, and demonstrate the feasibility of solar power on healthcare facilities.”

McKinstry is the design-build firm on the project.

Grants from City Light’s Green Up program and the Department of Commerce are helping to fund the project:

Seattle City Light’s Green Up program, which provides funding for local renewable energy programs and projects, awarded Harborview $50,000. The Department of Commerce’s Energy Efficiency Grant Program helps state and local agencies pay for energy efficiency upgrades and solar installations, and awarded Harborview an additional $47,000.

Other Green Up recipients include Capitol Hill Housing and Seattle Central: Continue reading

Green Shores for Homes Training Program

This two-day workshop provides participants with in-depth knowledge about how the Green Shores credit and rating systems can be used to improve the quality of shoreline management projects. Green Shores for Homes is a voluntary program similar to green building rating programs such as Built Green and LEED with a focus on waterfront properties. A residential project receives points for design features.

The content is of interest to professionals (biologists, engineers, planners, landscape architects) and contractors, local and regional government staff, and others seeking to implement the Green Shores program for a shoreline improvement, new design or development, or other related shoreline projects.

The first day of the workshop begins with a review of shoreline ecosystems including threats and issues, management and restoration strategies, and regulatory structures in place. The Green Shores program, including benefits to stakeholders, steps for implementation, and credit systems, are also covered. The second day of the workshop focuses on application of the Green Shores credit and ratings systems through a series of desktop and field exercises. The workshop concludes with a guided group discussion around how to implement key concepts and put new learning into practice.

Taught by Nicole Faghin Washington Sea Grant, and Jessica Cote, Confluence Environmental Company

‘Divest the Globe’ protest briefly shuts down Capitol Hill bank

A day of protest against “tar sands funding banks” in Seattle and beyond started on Capitol Hill Monday morning as a small group arrived at the Broadway Wells Fargo only to find the branch locked-up — with a few customers still inside.

The Divest the Globe effort included an afternoon rally at Westlake before a planned set of protests at “100 SEATTLE BRANCHES OF THE TAR SANDS FUNDING BANKS: Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, TD Bank and US Bank.” Continue reading

Pipeline ‘Valve Turner’ comes to Capitol Hill for legal defense fundraiser

Michael Foster at Sole Repair Wednesday night (Images: Alex Garland)

In October 2016, Seattle’s Michael Foster traveled to North Dakota to turn valves on the Keystone Pipeline and disrupt the flow of tar sands oil from Canada. One of a handful of Valve Turners, he now faces decades in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, and trespass. Foster came to Capitol Hill this week to help raise funds to defend other Valve Turners.

“A year ago, it was long past time to take emergency action to stop the flow of tar sands oil, to stop coal, to stop not just the expansion in the new pipelines, but the existing flow has to be cut about 10% per year,” Foster said about his decision to take a stand for the environment. Continue reading