Police say no signs of foul play after body found in Colonnade Park

Police say there were no signs of foul play after a body was found in the Colonnade Park beneath I-5 on the slope between Capitol Hill and Eastlake Wednesday morning.

According to the Seattle Police Department, a death investigation was conducted after the body was found next to the park’s off-leash dog area but there was no immediate evidence of a crime.

The King County Medical Examiner’s office will investigate the cause of death and identification of the person found.

The area is well known for campers and drug use and police are often called to the park.

Last week, Seattle’s new homeless Navigation Team begins a clean-up effort with a sweep of I-5 camps below Capitol Hill and around the area of the park.

Mayor Ed Murray announced during his State of the City speech earlier this week a proposal for a new $55 million levy to help the city pay for its homelessness services. The city’s emergency operations center has also been opened to help direct resources needed to remove camps and assist homeless people with finding shelter.

King County officials and task force members, meanwhile, are working with the community to identify potential locations — one in Seattle, and one outside the city — for new safe consumption sites to stem the tide of overdoses that would give drug users a place to use that is supervised and can provide resources like clean needles.

Blotter | State Patrol chases down suspected truck thief after Lakeview/Belmont crashes

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

  • Belmont auto theft arrest: Police and the Washington State Patrol were busy Tuesday morning after an I-5 pursuit of a reported stolen vehicle turned into a series of crashes involving at least three different vehicles before ending just up the Hill from Lakeview and Belmont Ave E. There was one arrest. The incident began playing out at the base of Capitol Hill around 9:20 AM after WSP stopped a stolen pick-up truck and the driver fled the scene on foot. You can see the incident play out in this video posted to Reddit by a resident in the area. Seattle Police rushed to the scene and the suspect was taken into custody within minutes. Seattle Fire was called out to treat one occupant of vehicles involved in a collision with the stolen truck for what were described as minor injuries.

  • Reported hit and run: Seattle Fire and SPD were on the scene Monday night after a reported hit and run of a pedestrian at Bellevue and Pine but the circumstances of the incident remain murky. Emergency personnel arrived to find a woman in her 60s down in the street just north of the intersection on Bellevue with an injured arm. The victim said she had been hit by a driver who had left the scene. Police could find no witnesses to the collision and did not have a description of the vehicle to work with. The woman was transported to Harborview for treatment of her injuries. SPD says its traffic collision team did not investigate the incident.
  • UPDATE — Broadway mattress arson: Here’s a bonus blotter item for your Tuesday afternoon. Seattle Police were looking for a suspect seen running from the scene after a mattress was set on fire in front of the Broadway Performance Hall. Seattle Fire responded to the incident just after 2:30 PM after a 911 caller witnessed a male suspect spray paint something on the mattress, light it on fire, and take off running on Broadway. Police were looking for a suspect described as a white male, around 6-feet tall, wearing a black knit hat, grey jacket, and black pants. Seattle Central was able to provide surveillance video from the campus to police, according to East Precinct radio dispatches.

Seattle homeless Navigation Team begins clean-up with sweep of I-5 camps below Capitol Hill

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

There have been clean-ups of the area beneath Interstate 5 between Capitol Hill and Eastlake before. But officials hope this week’s sweeps can be part of a longer term change of what an East Precinct officer once described as a “no man’s land populated by the homeless, mental cases.”

In the first official deployment of the city’s new Navigation Team including outreach workers and police, the areas along and under I-5 popular with campers in the city’s core are being cleared out.

Here is what KOMO saw during the start of the clean-up in a half-mile stretch near the Colonnade Park between lower Capitol Hill and Eastlake:

Police and safety vest clad workers started pulling apart a bunker underneath I-5 early Tuesday. Mixed in with the bottles filled with urine were piles of blankets, rats and a smattering of personal belongings. Continue reading

Report released on deadly Capitol Hill pedestrian collision

From the SPD collision report

From the SPD collision report

Police have released the report documenting the collision that took the life of a 79-year-old Capitol Hill man walking his dog across Belmont Ave E some three months after the deadly crash.

CHS reported on the death of Max Richards after he suffered a head injury in the September 21st crash along the busy, sloping street and the community response that followed calling for more to be done to improve safety at the crossing and across the area. But until now, there was no official record available of the crash that took the literature professor’s life. The released report clears up the circumstances of the collision and provides a stark reminder of how quickly a dangerous situation for pedestrians and drivers can unfold.

While much of the concern about Belmont Ave E that followed his death was about high speeds on the sloping street, Richards was killed by a vehicle that had just been stopped at a stop sign before swinging onto Belmont. Continue reading

Police investigate after woman found shot in leg at Melrose and Roy

A woman was shot in the leg in early morning gun violence near the Melrose foot trail on the northwest corner of Capitol Hill.

Police were called to the area just after 2 AM Wednesday morning to a report of one shot fired and sounds of a man and woman yelling. Officers arrived to find the female victim down at E Roy and Melrose. The suspect was described by the victim as a white male, around 30 years old, 5’10″, 150 pounds, wearing a gray trench coat but police were unable to find anybody in the area matching that description.

As police fanned out across the area near the homeless encampments along the trail, they encountered one male and took him into custody without incident. Another male reported he had been stabbed in the hand and was treated at the scene. Continue reading

How a Capitol Hill swastika was painted over: ‘LOVE WINS’

In the wake of terribleness following the election victory of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, a swastika appeared on a utility pole at Mercer and Belmont. One may have appeared there before but, before Election Night 2016, we had never seen that symbol, that bold.

“This is a historic LGBTQ neighborhood in Seattle,” a Capitol Hill resident who recorded the scene said, according to the Stranger. “Overnight, a swastika has appeared on a light pole… the after effects of Trump are real.” The Stranger reports a local business owner quickly painted over the hate symbol “so people in the neighborhood didn’t have to see it.”

Instead, they saw something else. Neighbor Roy sent CHS the pictures at the top of this post showing “the quick and awesome response by the community.” Continue reading

Slow down: Belmont/Bellevue gets its crosswalk — Plus, speed limits lowered on Broadway, Pike, Pine, more

Changes around Capitol Hill streets will hopefully make things a little safer for everybody as a crosswalk project the city says was already in motion before a fatal collision was installed and new speed limits were rolled out across the city.

Election Day morning, CHS found a Seattle Department of Transportation work crew putting the finishing touches on a ladder style crosswalk to hopefully provide safer passage where Bellevue meets the sloping, speedy tilt of Belmont Ave E on the northwest corner of Capitol Hill. A few in the crew admitted installation had been more harrowing than most as some drivers sped down the steep hill while others seemed determined to get a head of steam going on their way up to make it to the top. “This should be a one-way street,” one worker told CHS. A sign to alert drivers to the crosswalk was also going to be installed, another crew member said. A separate “curb buffer” marking was also added along one side of Bellevue where parking was already prohibited. Continue reading

City adding crosswalk at Capitol Hill intersection where fatal collision occurred

The headline above is not entirely accurate. The intersection where Max Richards was struck and killed by a driver at Belmont and Bellevue in September was already a “crosswalk,” a crossing where it is legal and should be safe to cross the street on this sloping hillside below Broadway. The Seattle Department of Transportation is now adding a painted crosswalk and curb buffer to make the area safer.

We have asked SDOT for more information about the markings and why this configuration of elements was chosen. UPDATE: SDOT says the marked “ladder style” crosswalk and the curb area markings will be the extent of this update to the streetscape where the collision occurred. Signage including the iconic “walking person” will be added to help drivers be aware.

SDOT’s Matt Beaulieu tells CHS an assessment of the area’s need for a crosswalk was already underway before Richards’s death. A second analysis began in the wake of the tragedy to look at other possible changes for the street. Beaulieu said that the count of pedestrians who cross at the intersection met the threshold for crosswalk installation and the volume and speed of drivers in the area was sampled “to determine what else would be appropriate.” At this point, Beaulieu said the new markings and signs will be the extent of the additions. Expect the work to be completed later this month provided enough dry days for the paint job.  Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | First look: Harry’s Fine Foods reborn at Bellevue and Mercer

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Hagood (Images: CHS)

A new life for an old bodega has begun at one of Capitol Hill’s quintessential corners, Bellevue and Mercer.

Harry’s Fine Foods, sharing the name of the corner market that stood there for years, opened over the weekend in a full rebuild of the old store. Plenty of the past remains.

Inside the new Harry’s — owner Julian Hagood calls the new project “bistro-esque” and “comfortable in the daytime but also sexy at night” — you’ll still find the old Harry’s cooler. The plan from Hagood and Alexa Dallas is for Harry’s Fine Foods to provide the neighborhood with a daytime cafe combined with a cornershop eventually stocking those day-to-day essentials like cigarettes and toilet paper.

The menu will be driven by what’s fresh. “We make up everything,” Hagood said. “It’s casual, produce-driven. We’re not reinventing anything. It’s delicious really well-made food.” What’s that mean? Great fries, for one. Hagood has built Harry’s on the back of his booming Lucullan Repast catering business along with a crowdsourced final boost. The catering venture will also now put the new kitchen at Harry’s to work.

The new project joins Cafe Barjot and the Lookout adding food and drink options to this particular elevation of I-5 Shores. Continue reading

Community remembers man struck by motorist, calls for safer streets during memorial walk across Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill residents, activists, and their dogs took a walk on Sunday carrying signs with a photograph of Max Richards who died after being struck by a motorist on September 21.

“To feel that the community is concerned is very special,” Marilyn Black, Richards’ wife, told CHS about the outpouring of support.

Central Seattle Greenways organized the walk to remember Richards and bring awareness to their call for safer streets in the city.

Her neighbors have embraced her, Black said, bringing her food and words of comfort, but it still doesn’t feel real that Richards, 79, is gone.

Richards died after being hit by a driver as he walked his dog across Belmont Ave E near Bellevue Place EPink, the dog, was unharmed. The collision remains under investigation by Seattle Police.

Prior to Richards’ death, Black said she had concerns about pedestrian safety in Seattle, especially compared to their previous home in Melbourne, Australia. She even mapped out what she thought was a safe night-time walking route with her husband. But he liked to explore, she said, and only followed the map a few times. Continue reading