As hundreds picket, Swedish pushes forward on major First Hill, Cherry Hill growth


Wednesday’s “thousand-member picket” targeted Swedish First Hill (Image:

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’BrienBruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, and Jean Godden were also in attendance to support picketing workers. Continue reading

‘Thousand-member picket’ targets Swedish First Hill

"Swedish-Providence nurses & healthcare workers are getting ready to picket at @Swedish tomorrow!" -- @SEIU1199NW

“Swedish-Providence nurses & healthcare workers are getting ready to picket at @Swedish tomorrow!” — @SEIU1199NW

Broadway between Cherry and Columbia will be filled with around a thousand members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW in a rush-hour picket “for better staffing and improved investment in caregiver retention” targeting Swedish First Hill. The action is part of a day of pickets against Swedish-Providence campuses in the area including a noontime rally at Swedish Cherry Hill.

Organizers say the “thousand-member picket” at Swedish First Hill is slated to begin at 4 PM and will include a 5:15 PM rally “featuring elected officials, community leaders, and workers among the speakers.” Mayor Ed Murray, Council members Bruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, and Jean Godden are scheduled to speak while Mike O’Brien and Nick Licata are slated to join the picket.

Swedish-Providence nurses and healthcare workers are picketing on Wednesday, calling on the hospital, which made $110 million in profit last year, to put patients’ healthcare dollars into frontline care.  The 7,000 caregivers, united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, are taking action for better staffing and improved investment in caregiver retention in order to give patients the best quality care.

On Wednesday, lunchtime pickets at several Swedish-Providence campuses will be followed with a thousand-member picket at Swedish-First Hill at 4pm.  That rally will culminate in a rally at 5:15 featuring elected officials, community leaders, and workers among the speakers.

WHO: Swedish-Providence nurses and healthcare workers

WHAT: Rally and Picket for Quality Care and Good Jobs


Wednesday 7/1, 12 noon – 2pm, Swedish First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Issaquah, Edmonds –picketing.  County Executive Dow Constantine will join the First Hill picket at 12:45pm.

Wednesday 7/1, 4pm – 6:30pm, Swedish First Hill (Broadway between Cherry and Columbia, Seattle) –  Picketing with 5:15pm rally.  1,000+ workers and community supporters.  Featured rally speakers include Mayor Murray, Councilmembers Harrell, Sawant, Godden.  Councilmembers O’Brien and Licata will picket with workers around 4:30pm.

Organizers say Wednesday’s pickets are not a strike and will not affect patient care.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a CHS advertiser. The union has been in contract negotiations with Swedish-Providence since April. Swedish is the largest nonprofit healthcare provider in the Seattle area. In 2012, it completed its merger with Providence joining together “five Swedish hospital campuses and 27 Providence hospitals across five Western states.”

‘Tax the rich’ — Sawant’s District 3 campaign goes global with push for Seattle rent control

(Image: Alex Garland with permission to CHS)

(Image: Alex Garland with permission to CHS)

In Seattle’s largest City Council campaign rally and fundraiser of the 2015 campaign, hundreds of supporters of incumbent and District 3 candidate Kshama Sawant packed into 8th and Seneca’s Town Hall Saturday evening. A slate of speakers, some traveling from as far as Ireland and Greece, pumped up the crowd for nearly two hours in anticipation of Sawant taking the stage.

“What is taking place in this room is called a revolution,” said author and TruthDig columnist Chris Hedges. Hedges later said, “If we lose this one we lose everything, and it begins tonight with you in this room with Kshama Sawant.”

The City Council campaign rally was not only unusual for its size, but for its sweeping themes that extended far beyond the boundaries of Capitol Hill and the handful of other District 3 neighborhoods. Speakers extolled the importance of spreading Sawant’s Socialist Alternative party ideals globally and the crucial role her reelection would play in that effort.

Sawant continues to push rent control as a top issue in her campaign despite the statewide ban on such policies. On Monday, Sawant and City Council member Nick Licata introduced a resolution stating the council’s support for rolling back the ban.

“Our city is being turned into a playground for the super wealthy,” Sawant said Saturday night.

Also speaking at the campaign rally, State Sen. Pramila Jayapal vowed to work to lift the state ban on rent control, which is key for Sawant to make good on her pledge to pass rent control in Seattle.

“People demanded action with one voice on the housing crisis,” Sawant said. “They demanded rent control to make Seattle affordable.”

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What the 17-story apartment tower set to replace the First Hill McDonald’s will look like

(Image: Holland Partners)

(Image: Holland Partners)

In the most urbanist of all universes, the projects up for discussion at Wednesday night’s meeting of the East Design Review Board would switch places, the 17-story apartment tower planned to rise above the corner currently home to the First Hill McDonald’s would take up residence on 10th Ave E behind the coming-soon Capitol Hill Station, the four-story apartment building planned to neighbor the most mass of mass transit booted over to First Hill… well, actually, in the most urbanist of all universes, nobody would bother building a four-story apartment building.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 4.10.48 PM1001 Minor Ave
Early Design Guidance application proposing a 17-story building containing 199 residential units and 5000 sq.ft. commerical space. Parking for 160 vehicles to be provided below grade. / View Design Proposal  (16 MB)    

Review Meeting
April 22, 2015 6:30 pm

Seattle University

824 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance  
Project Number: 3019363  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice
Planner: BreAnne McConkie

Late last year, CHS broke the news that the First Hill McDonald’s at Minor and Madison was being lined up by developer Holland Partners for a 17-story, mixed-use apartment tower at the site. Wednesday night, the review board will weigh the proposal for the first phase of the development process for the project.

The developers call the proposed project “a valuable addition to the diversity in the First Hill Area.” Continue reading

Five streateries coming to Capitol Hill (Plus, the new Sugar Plum parklet)

A Central District parklet along E Union opened last year between 23rd and MLK (Image: CHS)

A Central District parklet along E Union opened last year between 23rd and MLK (Image: CHS)

Five of Seattle’s first dozen nine new “streateries” will be located on Capitol Hill. The hybrid combining the parklet concept with traditional sidewalk patios will create small seating and deck areas for customers in the section of the streetside typically reserved for parking. When the sponsoring businesses aren’t open, the streateries are intended to serve as public park space.

Here’s the roster of Capitol Hill locations announced Monday by the Seattle Department of Transportation:

  • Montana (conversion) — E Olive Way
  • Comet and Lost Lake (conversion) — 10th/Pike
  • Mamnoon — Melrose
  • Bottleneck Lounge — E Madison
  • New project from Comet/Lost Lake partners in former Kingfish Cafe space — 19th Ave E

Two of the five represent a conversion from permitted parklets at the locations into the new format that allows for businesses to operate the spaces as sidewalk cafes exclusively for their patrons during business hours — though the Comet/Lost Lake parklet was never implemented.

In addition to securing approval from neighboring businesses, the streatery hosts are also on the hook for paying for the displaced revenue from removed on-street parking –$3,000 per space, per year. In the case of Montana, site of the city’s first parklet that took up all of 1.5 on-street parking spaces, the E Olive Way bar is on the hook for $4,500 per year  doesn’t owe a damn thing because there’s no paid parking (yet) on E Olive Way. Dave Meinert and the guys at the Comet? They’ll owe around $6,000 per year, apparently. (Updated at 7 PM)

Montana owner Rachel Marshall tells CHS she doesn’t know about the timing for the conversion of her space on E Olive Way saying that working things out with the state liquor board will be her next step — along with writing that check to the City of Seattle.

Meanwhile, the city also announced that 15th Ave E will get a new “old school” parklet in front of the under construction Sugar Plum. The announcement, below, also teases a First Hill location for a new parklet — we’re asking for specifics on where that is planned to be located. UPDATE: SDOT says the press release is incorrect — the location being referred to is not on First Hill but in the Denny Triangle area, instead. Continue reading

Blotter | Driver reportedly flees after hitting pedestrians outside First Hill McDonald’s — Plus, Seattle U threat

(Image: @alanwaite via Twitter)

(Image: @alanwaite via Twitter)

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Madison hit and run: Police were searching for a driver who reportedly left the scene of a morning car vs. pedestrian collision near the First Hill McDonald’s involving multiple victims, one with reported serious injuries. A driver struck at least two pedestrians outside the First Hill McDonalds Friday morning, according to police radio traffic. Witnesses told police the driver left the scene following the collision. Police were searching the area for a female suspect following the incident. We don’t yet have specifics of the injuries sustained but a witness described the scene of the incident via Twitter:

    The female driver had not been contacted by police as of 10:30 AM.

  • SU bomb threat: A threatening note forced the evacuations of three buildings on the Seattle University campus Friday morning. Students and staff were cleared from the buildings as police searched floor to floor and office to office for the unspecified threat. Here is the security bulletin sent by Seattle University to the campus:Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.43.11 AM

UPDATE: All clear!Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 11.36.14 AM

SPD says a student found “two threatening notes in a women’s restroom.”

$1.6 million pet hospital to open on First Hill

Speciality doctors are probably more concentrated on First Hill than anywhere else in a state or two. Soon, pets will have a hospital in the neighborhood, too.

Kirkland’s Seattle Veterinary Specialists is building out its second pet hospital at 8th and Madison in the former M Street Grocery space. The referral hospital is expected to open by September.

Medical director Jim McCutchan told CHS the hospital will have around 100 doctors and staff specializing in surgery, oncology, and emergency medicine. “This is where your vet sends you for the tough stuff,” McCutchan said.

It turns out, building a specialty pet hospital isn’t so different than building one for humans. McCutchan said the project’s $1.6 million budget reflects the costs of installing medical gas and special infrastructure for electrical, HVAC, and plumbing.

McCutchan, who also owns the Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital, said the decision to open a hospital in Seattle came down to the city’s booming population.

“Seattle is very pet friendly and they’re bringing their pets with them,” he said.

Madison’s independent urban market M Street Grocery opened in 2007 and closed four years later when owners couldn’t reach an agreement with the landlord on a new lease. The 4,500 square-feet of street level retail has remained empty since.

Veterinary medicine appears to be a growth industry in the area. In addition to existing providers like Urban Animalhere —  and Broadway Pet Hospitalhere — making upgrades, another new provider is also coming to Broadway’s Harvard Market. The Banfield Pet Hospital is expected to open in the Broadway at Pike shopping center later this year. It’s a much more modest undertaking than the SVS project on First Hill with a base construction budget around $350,000. The vet business isn’t necessarily the hottest service and retail industry around, however. Earlier this year, the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic closed after its longtime 15th Ave E location was snapped up by a marijuana entrepreneur.

Vote on which mural should liven up Sorrento Hotel’s massive parking garage wall

Two big, dreary, concrete walls on First Hill are about to get a facelift and you can have a say in which muralist should get to do it.

The group hired to apply some of the Ace Hotel “casual luxury” to the century-old Sorrento Hotel is hosting a public meeting to show off three mural ideas for the hotel’s parking garage walls. Part of the meeting will include a public vote on which artist should get commissioned for the 32-foot by 120-foot mural to go on the 9th and Madison exterior.

The meeting will be held Sunday from 11 AM-2 PM in Sorrento’s Madison Room. Representatives from Magnetic/ERV, the company now managing the Sorrento, will be available to talk about the future of the iconic hotel.

The project is a collaboration between Magentic and Seattle Mural Project funded through a Department of Neighborhoods grant.

In October, the Sorrento announced that Magnetic was taking over management of the 76-room hotel and with plans to start its revamp work this year. Magnetic is a hospitality management company with staff that have worked on the Palm Springs Ace Hotel and a handful of other boutique hotels around the country.

In addition to the mural project and sprucing up the guest rooms, a Magnetic spokesperson told CHS the team would also re-conceptualize The Hunt Room restaurant and Fireside Room lounge. The building’s unique Madison-facing courtyard is also slated to get a new look.

A colorful start to Seattle’s First Hill Streetcar testing

Mayor Murray and King County Council and Sound Transit board rep Joe McDermott take a ride (Images: CHS)

Mayor Murray and King County Council and Sound Transit board rep Joe McDermott take a ride (Images: CHS)

In front of a rainbow assortment of new trolleys, the first completed tram for the First Hill Streetcar — sky blue — took a very important load of passengers for a 600-foot ride Friday morning as testing for the system has moved into full motion.

It only required one “reboot.”

“This is another step in our efforts to get streetcars running throughout Seattle,” passenger and Mayor Ed Murray said to the media assembled to cover the event at the system’s International District maintenance facility.

Inside, workers were assembling three more cars set to join the fleet including a hot pink number one Seattle Department of Transportation representative said captured the, um, “modern energy of the Capitol Hill neighborhood.” The colors of the multi-hued cars were “inspired” by the “different characteristics” of the neighborhoods the 2.5 mile streetcar route travels through — Pioneer Square, the International District, First Hill, and Capitol Hill. Continue reading

City Council Notes | First Hill ‘prototype parks,’ smart meters, ‘No Construction Parking’ signs in Pike/Pine

Walking your cat through the First Hill Public Realm

Walking your cat through the First Hill Public Realm

Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the Seattle City Council’s chambers:

  • First Hill Public Realm report: The council’s transportation committee will hear an update on a program to create more public spaces in the densely-packed First Hill neighborhood. CHS reported on the First Hill Public Realm plan earlier this year. Tuesday, representatives from SDOT and Seattle Park will tell council members about what comes next for the initiative — including two “prototype” parks on University St:Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 2.32.35 PM
  • Pedestrian report: Tuesday’s transportation committee meeting will also include a briefing on the latest annual report from the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board. Looking forward, the board report says the body’s focus on 2015 is on the big picture: “The update of the Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP) will occupy a substantial share of the board’s focus and activity in 2015.”
  • Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 2.48.07 PM‘No Construction Parking’ signs: In SDOT’s March update to the council, the report notes a small improvement for residents and businesses pinched by ongoing construction in central Pike/Pine — “To keep parking open for businesses, we collaborated with contractors working on 10th and 11th Ave between E Union and E Pike to manufacture and install ‘No Construction Parking’ signs”
  • Smart meters update: Wednesday’s meeting of the energy committee will include an update on the $94 million program to build an “advanced metering” system in Seattle to replace the outdated manual process used today to determine energy consumption and billing. The council will hear that negotiations for a vendor to build out the system are expected to begin in April and that the current plan calls for residents who might have concerns including privacy or health to be able to opt out of the smart metering program for a yet to be determined fee. Initial meter installations are expected to begin this fall with “mass meter deployment” (run, paranoid residents, run!) by June 2016.Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 2.52.54 PM
  • Another City Council candidate: James Keblas, former head of the city’s film and music office and currently working with Capitol Hill-based creative agency Creature, will run for an at-large seat on the council.
  • Pike Place Market expansion: Monday, the full council approved legislation from committees on a $34 million expansion of Pike Place Market and an ordinance updating the muni code to prohibit eviction of renters from apartments if landowners haven’t registered the property’s units with the Department of Planning and Development. The council also approved a clean-up of Seattle’s “cable communications” ordinance reportedly designed to better recognize changes in technology and address issues of inequity for cable customers:
    The new Code changes are intended to improve competition and customer service by eliminating cable franchise districts in favor of a more flexible provision that opens the entire City to competition. The Code also contains new requirements to ensure equity and build-out service to low-income households, enhanced call answering standards and reporting, and more flexibility and protections for residents and owners living in condos and apartments.