Korean fried chicken joint Bonchon has First Hill plans

Such is life in the swiftly changing core of Seattle. We had no Korean fried chicken joints. Now we’re about to have two.

Despite the corporate parents insisting there are “no plans” to open in Seattle, CHS can report that efforts are just getting underway to build out a new, first-in-the-Pacific Northwest location of Korean chicken chain Bonchon at the corner of Broadway and James, across the street from the southwest corner of the Seattle University campus. Continue reading

Updated Madison RapidRide G plans call for 2021 start of service

You will have to wait a few more years for that RapidRide G bus. Service now isn’t expected to begin on the bus-focused transformation of the Madison corridor until 2021.

Planners presented the latest update on the project to create Metro’s RapidRide G Tuesday night at the January meeting of the First Hill Improvement Association. The full presentation from Seattle Department of Transportation planners is below. Continue reading

State of First Hill: ‘9,999’ people (plus one living in a single-family home)

First Hill has been in CHS’s news mix a lot including coverage of this important step forward for affordable housing in the neighborhood. The First Hill coverage is nothing new — you can check out our First Hill section here. But growth in new places to live and population has also meant a rise in awareness. Tuesday, the First Hill Improvement Association, a nonprofit organization at the middle of that change, will hold its January meeting and present a State of First Hill discussion of the neighborhood’s first ever annual report:

When the First Hill community comes together over an issue, we bring a can-do attitude driven by the belief that we all do better when we all do better. In 2017 this conviction produced forward momentum in our neighborhood on Seattle’s biggest issues– affordability, open space, accessibility, beautification, and caring for our neighbors most in need.

First Hill Improvement Association January Meeting

In addition to the State of First Hill, the FHIA will also vote on new board members and present the latest on the Madison Bus Rapid Transit project. Continue reading

Step 1: Dream up $90K Capitol Hill, First Hill, or Central District parks & streets idea

Step 2: enjoy your improved neighborhood. The city’s annual Your Voice, Your Choice process is starting up again. You have until February 2nd to take part in the first phase of helping decide how to spend $3 million on park and street improvements in Seattle.

Need inspiration? These were the District 3 winners in 2017.

DISTRICT 3  

  • Capitol Hill: Crossing Improvements at I-5 Exit on to Olive Way (Cost: $75,000, Total Votes: 240)
  • Central District: Traffic Calming on 17th Ave S between E Yesler Way & S Jackson St (Cost: $15,000, Total Votes: 200)
  • Judkins Park: Improved Connections to Judkins Park from S. Dearborn St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 173)
  • Capitol Hill: Crossing Improvements at 19th Ave E & E Denny Way (Cost: $83,000, Total Votes:  171) 

City departments were to include the winning proposals in their annual budgets with plans to implement the projects in 2018.

The process to collect new proposals ends Friday, February 2nd. Your ideas should adhere to three simple values. Your proposed District 3 projects should:

  • Benefit the public
  • Add a physical or capital improvement project in Seattle’s parks or streets
  • Not exceed a budget of $90,000

Add your proposal here

There is also a map of the project ideas from 2017 that will roll over to the 2018 process. “These are ideas that were submitted in 2017 and considered potentially feasible, but not funded through the 2017 process,” the city says.

After the hundreds of proposals are collected, Project Development Teams in each district will “turn ideas into concrete project proposals,” the city says. Over summer, the final proposals for each district will be put up for a vote.

Each of the city’s seven district will be eligible for up to $430,000 in projects.

Wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit filed over First Hill Streetcar bike crashes

The family of Desiree McCloud, who died in 2016 after crashing her bike on a track of the First Hill Streetcar, and a rider who survived her crash a year later at the same E Yesler trackway are joining forces to sue the City of Seattle.

“The Defendant City knew there were other bicycle crashes occurring when bike tire were caught in streetcar rail grooves before DESIREE’s injuries and death and SUZANNE GREENBERG’s injuries,” the lawsuit filed just before Christmas reads.

Suzanne Greenberg was injured when she crashed her bike near the spot at 13th and Yesler where McCloud had fallen a year after the deadly incident.

McCloud, 27, died following her May 2016 crash that led to calls for safety improvements near Seattle’s streetcar tracks. The city’s investigation was unable to determine if the First Hill Streetcar tracks had caused the fatal crash.

Their joint lawsuit reads like a project list any street, bicycling, and pedestrian planner would be familiar with in Seattle. 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

Blotter | Deadly Columbia City shooting ends on First Hill

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

  • (Image: @wspd2pio)

    I-5 fatal crash: Authorities believe this deadly crash on I-5 below Capitol Hill early Sunday morning may have been the result of road rage:
    The crash may have been preceded by road rage; Trooper Rick Johnson said the vehicle involved in the fatal crash, along with another unidentified red or maroon pickup truck, had earlier been reported in a road rage incident.
    The Washington State Patrol is investigating. UPDATE: WSP is asking for help from anybody able to provide information about a red Dodge Ram pickup with tinted windows believed to have been involved in the crash. WSP says the victim was identified as 20-year-old Taylor Hulsey.

  • Columbia City shooting ends on First Hill: A shooting near Columbia City turned a First Hill street outside Harborview Medical Center into an emergency room Friday afternoon:
    Continue reading

Two big items on Sound Transit’s agenda for lots of affordable housing on Broadway, First Hill — UPDATE

UPDATE 3:35 PM: The Sound Transit board approved both motions Thursday afternoon paving the way for a “no cost” transfer of two First Hill properties to nonprofit developers Bellwether Housing and Plymouth Housing and, in the second vote, putting in place a memorandum of understanding between the transit agency, Seattle Central, and Capitol Hill Housing for a swap of Capitol Hill properties. Details on the plans are below.

In public comments, Bellwether’s CEO Susan Boyd called the joint proposal with Plymouth “a bold plan” that will create much needed affordable housing on First Hill.

Board member and Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson called the First Hill proposal “very consistent with what the community asked for” and said the neighborhood’s “YIMBY” spirit was reflected in the plan.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said affordable housing is now central to Sound Transit’s mission as it also works to provide transit to the region’s growing population. Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, meanwhile, voted against the motion saying he was troubled by the “no cost” aspect of the plan as a “dangerous precedent.”

Additionally, the board also approved a motion on a plan for “Central Transit-Oriented Development” near the Roosevelt light rail station that will involve Bellwether and Mercy Housing Northwest.

Original report: Sound Transit’s board is scheduled to make two key decisions on property it owns across First Hill and Capitol Hill that will potentially open the way for big deals around affordable housing and and expanded Seattle Central.

The Sound Transit Board will vote Thursday whether to move forward with two land deals.

One motion paves the way negotiate with Plymouth Housing and Bellwether Housing in a purchase of Sound Transit land at 1014 Boylston Ave and 1400 Madison meant for high-rise affordable housing, up to 160 feet.

“We thought in viewing their proposal that their numbers were reasonable,” said Sarah Lovell from Sound Transit. “It is an expensive project. It’s expensive to build a high-rise. But stacking two housing project increases their ability to get subsidies. They’re trying to be really efficient with their design.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | A day of planting in Freeway Park

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Freeway Park, the public space connecting Capitol Hill to downtown Seattle and the first piece of what could eventually be a more complete lidding of I-5, will have a little more color come spring thanks to a day of community work this fall.

The Freeway Park Association hosted a fall planting day in Seneca Plaza over the weekend.

“It’s like this little temporary engagement that is going to create a burst of color and activity in the springtime,” executive director Riisa Conklin said. Continue reading

Plymouth on First Hill, one point of progress in Seattle’s homelessness emergency

Plymouth Housing Group built the Cal Anderson House — supportive housing for the Lifelong AIDS Alliance — 17 years ago. Now, they’re opening a new building on First Hill, moving in mostly homeless people with disabilities. Because of the mountains of paperwork, moving people in is a slow and rough process that will be finished by the end of December.

Walking up to the building on Cherry Street, the familiar landscape-painted poles under I-5 accompany people sitting out in the cold on mattresses, in boxes and in tents. Plymouth’s own building attempts to bring a piece of that familiarity inside with its own landscape-painted pole in its lobby.

The security-enforced front desk, operated 24/7, lies adjacent. Largely because of its hours, the building has 10 people on staff. Those working the front desk try to keep tabs on their residents so they know everything is alright while not being too intrusive. It’s a tough balance. UPDATE: CHS reported on the staff total for the project. There are 170 total employees across all Plymouth properties. Sorry for the error.

“A lot of the people who moved in to Plymouth Housing units have not been treated well in the system and bureaucracy,” said chief program officer Kelli Larsen. Continue reading