16 things CHS heard at the Capitol Hill ‘Gentrification Conversation’

Thursday night, Capitol Hill residents and community members gathered at First Baptist Church for a “Gentrification Conversation” to formally discuss the radical and rapidly occurring changes in the neighborhood.

Organized by the Capitol Hill Community Council, the forum’s panel featured Tricia Romano – a Seattle Times lifestyle writer and author of the recent front page story on the Hill’s gentrification — and a slew of various community members, many of whom were interviewed for her story, including performer Ade Connere, Michael Wells from the Chamber of Commerce, co-owner of the Wildrose bar Shelley Brothers, Diana Adams (owner of the Vermillion bar and gallery), and Branden Born, an associate professor of urban design and planning at the University of Washington and Capitol Hill resident.

With Romano’s nerve-touching article as a springboard, panelists discussed their own experiences with the influx of capital and “bros” on the Hill, neighborhood identity, and public safety amongst increasing incidents of violence and LGBTQ hate crimes in Pike/Pine.

Here are 16 things CHS heard Thursday night:

  1. “People are coming here specifically to party. I’ve actually heard people call it ‘party mountain’,” said Romano.
  2. “The idea that you hear all the time is ‘that’s just the way the market works.’ Don’t believe that,” said Born. “Your economics professor was lying to you.”
  3. Born said that the city has an organizational flaw in having the DPD and the Department of Neighborhoods separate from one another, adding that DPD is funded via developer fees which incentivises them to approve frenzied development projects. Continue reading

Community Council plans gentrification discussion with Seattle Times ‘culture clash’ reporter

IMG_9663-1Last month, gentrification on Capitol Hill got the spotlight treatment with a front page feature from the Seattle Times. While the Capitol Hill Community Council frequently deals with the more granular issues of public safety and development, the group is seizing the opportunity on Thursday to address the neighborhood’s big picture transformation.

The council is hosting a panel discussion with Seattle Times reporter Tricia Romano on her story Culture clash as gentrification engulfs Capitol Hill for the council’s Thursday evening meeting. The panel will include a slate of familiar Capitol Hill faces that were included in Romano’s story:

Michael Wells: Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce

Adé Cônnére: Capitol Hill resident

Shelley Brothers: Wildrose owner

Diana Adams: Vermillion owner

Branden Born: Assoc. UW Professor, Urban Design & Planning

Perhaps expecting a larger turnout than usual, the Community Council meeting will be held at 6 PM in the First Baptist Church at Harvard Ave and Seneca St, instead of its usual venue in Cal Anderson Park.

Join the Capitol Hill Community Council for our April General Monthly meeting for a Gentrification Conversation with Tricia Romano – Seattle Times writer – to explore the focus of her recent article, “Cultures Clash as Gentrification Engulfs Capitol Hill.” Tricia’s article sparked many conversations in and around Capitol Hill since published in the Seattle Times and we are excited to welcome her at our April meeting to start this critical conversation.

Community Engagement activities for attendees start at 6:00pm, the main program begins at 6:30pm. Additionally, notecards will be given at the door for attendees to write their questions for a brief Q&A at the end of the meeting.

For more details, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Project will give maligned Pike/Pine gentrifiers, bros, and Woo! girls their Due Process through art

Greg Lundgren and Jed Dunkerley talk Due Process strategy. Jason Puccinelli, the P in PDL, will also be part of the project (Image: The Factory)

Greg Lundgren and Jed Dunkerley talk Due Process strategy. Jason Puccinelli, the P in PDL, will also be part of the project (Image: The Factory)

The recent burst of artwork reacting to the gentrification and gay-washing of Capitol Hill has so far excluded one group crucial to the equation: the people actually inspiring the work. The art trio PDL want to change that.

Here’s the setup: Put a large easel and 45 canvases in the heart of Pike/Pine during peak weekend madness and see what the Woo! girls and dude bros come up with. Along the way, PDL will gather some basic artist info like age, gender, sexual orientation, occupation, and favorite bar. Call it an unscientific anthropological survey of Pike/Pine nightlife explored through drunken art.

“We have a premise, but we have no idea what the response will be or what the reaction will be,” said Greg Lundgren, the “L” of PDL. “It could be that people rise to the occasion … it could be they’re all paintings of dicks.” Continue reading

#LoveTheHill or #OverTheHill, project examining past, present, future of the soul of neighborhood planned for empty Broadway building

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Image of design concept courtesy of Radjaw.com

Screenshot 2014-11-30 at 7.01.17 PM

Building interior (Image: Radjaw.com)

It may already be too late to save Capitol Hill’s soul, according to graphic designer and Hillebrity Gregory Smith. “I think it’s inevitable that it’ll be completely lost,” he says. “Once all these new [upscale apartment] buildings get filled with people, it’s going to be an Amazon hub — their work campus.”

But an era can end without being erased, which is why Smith, and fellow Seattle Central Creative Arts Academy student Jess Ornelas, will tell the story of Capitol Hill in an art installation at 1515 Broadway: its history, its present, and the hopes and fears of its residents for the future.

Tentatively titled “The Little Building That Could” and/or “Love the Hill,” the project will transform the community college’s “decrepit” building (next to Neighbours) into a site of public education and dialogue.

The Broadway building owned by the college was once home to Atlas Clothing and — for a time — all ages music. In early 2013, CHS reported that Seattle Central had iced plans to redevelop the property. Smith says the school planned to keep the building empty for at least a few years opening up the space for the planned installation project. Continue reading

Connector ‘running as usual’ following attention-grabbing Capitol Hill protest

Tuesday's SPD presence on Bellevue (Image: @audrey_leigh)

Tuesday’s SPD presence on Bellevue (Image: @audrey_leigh)

After a surprise anti-gentrification protest blocked the buses for a short time to start the work week, Seattle Police cruisers were on hand Tuesday near Microsoft Connector stops on Capitol Hill.

The Connector system is running as usual, a company spokesperson told CHS Tuesday.

The police presence came after two protesters unfurled a banner and handed out flyers Monday morning while blocking the corporate shuttles — and a few public buses — on Bellevue at Pine. “The Microsoft Connector bus is an active agent in the hyper-gentrification of Capitol HIll and other rapidly transforming Seattle neighborhoods,” the flyers read.

The Microsoft Connector includes 22 routes with 74 busses total in the Puget Sound region. Around 250 passengers ride each day from Capitol Hill to Redmond/Bellevue. Those busses average about 70% capacity, according to the company. In total, the Connector serves about 3,000 people per day. According to Microsoft, 65% of those who ride the connector drove to work alone prior to the system’s availability.

In San Francisco, protests against corporate shuttle systems have grown into a significant political issue and occasional public safety threat. So far, Seattle’s incident seems more like a well calculated publicity stunt. The attention it generated has been significant — for example, Monday’s visitor total for CHS was the second highest daily total in the last 12 months and the post was linked to from sites including the Seattle Times, New York Times, Cnet, The Verge and the SF Chronicle, to name a few. “Google bus” protests spread to Seattle, the Chronicle headlined their take on the incident. We shall see.

(Image: Tides of Flame)

(Image: Tides of Flame)

Meanwhile, as the Microsoft transportation system appeared to not miss a beat on Tuesday, another protest action targeted a different tech giant and changing Seattle neighborhood. “Train blockaded at Amazon HQ,” boasted this post at the Tides of Flame site explaining that the latest protest targeted the Seattle-based online retail and services company for its work with the Central Intelligence Agency. “This new data cloud will help the CIA coordinate their massacres, assassinations, and terrorism across the planet,” the unidentified protesters wrote.

Two days of anti-corporate protest activities with similar MOs might have you wondering what’s next.