First Hill Fidos to take a bow (wow) in neighborhood’s ‘first ever’ canine contest

unnamed (1)First Hill is busy this summer making space for street parks and gathering for a new series of events to celebrate the community. First up Thursday night, First Hill Fidos:

The First Hill Improvement Association is proud to be programming a series of summer events along University Street. Our first event is in First Hill Park (Minor & University) and is an opportunity to show off your best friend! Neighbors can enter their dogs in a talent show, costume contest, and cutest dog contest!

Mark your calendars!

Thursday. July 30th
Registration begins at 5:30pm – Show at 6:00pm
First Hill Park
(Minor & University) 

This event will also feature hot dogs from local business Dirty Dogs, music, prizes, and the chance to build community with your two and four-legged neighbors on First Hill.

The summer series along University Street is funded through a grant by the Department of Neighborhoods, and our mission is to build community and enhance the public realm along this neighborhood green street.

This event is free and open to the public. Bring your dogs to enter in the contest or just come and behold the cuteness! Invite your friends and neighbors!

Email us at to pre-register or if you have questions.

The First Hill neighborhood has reportedly added 3,000 new residents in the last decade. Here’s your chance to meet some of them — and their dogs.

Meanwhile, Seattle Parks is looking for your feedback on its off-leash areas around the city:

We need your input on your recreational behavior and desires concerning Seattle’s off-leash areas in order to best meet our present and future demands and needs. The Seattle Animal Shelter estimates there are close to 150,000 dogs currently in the city of Seattle. Given the size of this user group, Parks will survey and analyze the recreational behaviors and characteristics of dog owners to help inform the Strategic Plan. This effort will be part of the larger recreation demand study currently underway.

You can take the off-leash survey here.

First Hill Streetcar — ‘The start date is still not fixed’

It’s getting to the point where updates on when the First Hill Streetcar won’t start service are about as exciting as watching videos of the First Hill Streetcar being tested.

CHS stands undeterred.

“The start date is still not fixed as we need the manufacturer to complete this iterative process of testing and fine-tuning to safety-certify the vehicles before we can finalize our start-up activities,” read the last of three bullet points included in Scott Kubly’s streetcar portion of the SDOT director’s monthly status report delivered to the City Council’s transportation committee Tuesday morning.

“All streetcars for the First Hill Line have now been delivered, and the manufacturer is targeting the end of July for substantial completion of two cars that are still in final assembly here in Seattle,” bullet point one informs us. Friday is the 31st so workers at the line’s International District maintenance facility will be busy.

According to Kubly’s update, all that remains before service can begin on the ten-stop, 2.5-mile streetcar line from S Jackson and Occidental to Broadway and Denny Way connecting Pioneer Square, the ID, Little Saigon, First Hill and Capitol Hill is…. testing. “The critical path for the start of service is now the commissioning and testing process for the vehicles,” bullet point two said. Continue reading

A little tactical urbanism puts parks in streets of First Hill, test pedestrian zone on E Pike

Finding ways to make the city streets work best for residents, businesses, and the community in increasingly dense areas like First Hill and Capitol Hill requires a little bit of strategy and tactical urbanism. The summer of 2015 will see the deployment of a few early test missions on our streets.

Screen-Shot-2015-06-03-at-5.23.28-PM-600x401Organizers from the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict behind a plan to create a pedestrian-only zone in Pike/Pine have set a target for their test mission:

The pilot will close three blocks of Pike Street to car traffic on four Saturday nights in August. The first two nights, August 8 and 15, will be shorter and focus on crowd management and public safety. The second two nights, August 22 and 29, will expand on this concept with community based programming. Volunteers needed for data collection! Continue reading

20 things CHS heard during Monday’s *hot and heated* Seattle rent control smackdown

“We don’t need trickle-down economics… We need affordable housing.”


“Rent control does nothing to create new housing. We need solutions now … There are people homeless and sleeping in their car tonight.”

Forgoing Seattle’s usual non-confrontational forum-style political events, Monday evening’s debate on rent control was a heated affair. Around 1,000 people tried to pack into a balmy Town Hall at 8th an Seneca to hear City Council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata argue the merits of rent control with Republican Rep. Matthew Manweller and Smart Growth Seattle director Rodger Valdez. There was a large crowd outside unable to enter the at-capacity venue.

The event ostensibly centered around four questions posted to the debaters but was mostly a relentless back-and-forth on rent control more broadly.

1. What has caused housing-affordability crisis in Seattle?
2. What have been the affects of rent control where it has been adopted? 
3. Without rent control can the market make housing affordable?
4. What will be impact of rent control on Seattle?

The answers were broad and there was, of course, no clear winner other than the idea that rent control — in some form or fashion — remains a popular ideal for Seattle residents struggling with affordability.

But it’s not the answer to lower rents, the anti side argued Monday night. “Rent control does nothing to create new housing,” Valdez said, a common refrain from the opposition. “We need solutions now … There are people homeless and sleeping in their car tonight.” Continue reading

Sawant keeps rent control debate alive after rejection by mayor’s affordability committee

A 1980 Seattle Daily Times headline captures the uncertainty surrounding rent control, even during a time when it was up for serious consideration. (Image: Seattle Public Library Archives)

A 1980 Seattle Daily Times headline captures the uncertainty surrounding rent control, even during a time when it was up for serious consideration. (Image: Seattle Public Library Archives)

20150612SeattleOverallRentTrendByBR-600x360There were 60+ recommendations included in the Mayor Ed Murray-commissioned affordable housing study released last week, but rent control wasn’t one of them.

It was mentioned in a little noticed section in the back of the report, where the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda Committee said its members couldn’t agree on the issue:

“The HALA could not reach consensus on the issue, even despite proposed amendments and changes.”

According to Jon Grant, committee member and at-large City Council candidate, a majority of the 21-member committee did support adding a call for rent control, but there weren’t enough votes for an official recommendation. The report notes that opponents argued it would “only divert attention from other more feasible strategies that can achieve more affordable housing.”

“It was on the table from the start,” HALA co-chair Faith Li Pettis told CHS. “The HALA could not reach consensus on the issue, even despite proposed amendments and changes.”

While the committee’s deliberations on rent control were conducted in secret, the public will get an opportunity to witness some of that debate during a Monday night event at First Hill’s Town Hall.

Arguing in favor of rent control will be City Council member and District 3 candidate Kshama Sawant and her Council colleague Nick Licata. Opposing rent control will be Republican state Rep. Matthew Manweller of Ellensberg and Smart Growth Seattle director Rodger Valdez. Former City Council member Peter Steinbrueck will moderate.

Seattle Channel will be live streaming the event here.

Continue reading

CHS Pics | Starting with a night in Volunteer Park, Gage spreads its Drawing Jam love for art across Seattle


Capitol Hill’s Gage Academy of Art is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by spreading the goodness of its annual Drawing Jam across the summer and the city. In Volunteer Park Thursday night, the non-profit art school kicked off its 25 Jams series of public art events.

“We look forward to engaging as many people as we can in that most basic form of communication, which is drawing, “ event organizer Kathleen Moore told CHS.

You can “jam” again Friday night in Freeway Park along with Seattle Chamber Music starting at 6:30 PM.

Gage organizers say the event is hoped to bring “artists and art-lovers of all ages together to enjoy the simple act of putting hand to paper, using different locales, subjects and events to engage the public in observational drawing.”

25 Jams is a spin-off of Gage’s annual Drawing Jam celebration, which takes place on the first Saturday of December. On that day, Gage opens its studios to the public and supplies free art materials in a lively celebration of its mission to bring art to the community.IMG_2315

Thursday night in Volunteer Park, participants had access to tables and art supplies provided by Gage. Some sketched. Some doodled. Some rendered Yoda in Dagobah green.

Like the Jam, Gage itself may find itself moving off the Hill. Earlier this year, the school announced it was beginning a search for a new home.

Volunteer Park, meanwhile, will feature a different sort of art through the weekend as Shakespeare in the park and the Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival take over the green space.

The full 2015 Drawing Jam schedule — including a return to Volunteer Park — is below. You can learn more at Continue reading

Three giant new murals grace E Pike, Central District, First Hill walls


A new face at 23rd and Union (Image: Mohamed Adan for CHS)

Two new murals are joining the streetscapes in the Central District and on First Hill with a third popping up on a familiar E Pike canvas.

The new Sorrento Hotel parking garage mural is the work of Ellen Picken, an artist originally from Spokane. Picken’s black and white geometric design triumphed in a competition with 40 submissions from around the world, an impressive feat for a novice with only one public mural under her belt.

For the past two months, Picken has been working diligently on the mural with her assistant Phyllis Austin. Picken is passionate about transforming the space, which was formerly a hideous concrete wall, into something worthwhile and inclusive.

“I want to provide a space that let’s people feel the way they want to feel, and that’s why I don’t put in any figure work or anything with too much symbolism,” Picken told CHS.

Weirdo's work on E Pike as of July 1st (Image: CHS)

Weirdo’s work on E Pike as of July 1st (Image: CHS)

The mural was expected to be completed this week and was funded by by a joint public-private partnership between the City of Seattle, the non-profit Seattle Mural Projects, and and Magnetic/ERV, the company that operates the Sorrento.

On E Pike, the latest mural on the north side of Neumos is a work from artist Weirdo depicting musician Shannon Perry of Seattle band Gazebos as part of a project with Capitol Hill Block Party producers and the Capitol Hill Arts District to bring attention to the neighborhood’s visual artists at this year’s three-day music fest starting July 24th.

Meanwhile at 23rd and Union, a new mural outside Uncle Ike’s and The Neighbor Lady was completed by artist Joey Nix. Nix’s murals are found all over Seattle and he told CHS he enjoys doing large-scale projects. The mural is 2 1/2 stories high and 20 feet wide and is a full-figure portrait of Amanya, a bud tender at Uncle Ike’s. Nix took a photograph of the woman at the Arboretum and based his work on the image. The t-shirt she’s wearing has the word “Uhuru” on it, Swahili for freedom. Nix says his satisfaction comes from the hope that a lot of people will see and enjoy his work. “I hope they enjoy it, it’s for them, it’s for the public,” he said.

Mural in progress by @joe.nix #seattle #artprimo

A photo posted by @artprimo on

UPDATE: There is another…

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.”

Continue reading