Expert: Woman’s unsolved 2015 Madison Valley death ‘most likely a homicide’

A photo of Schmidt on adventure in Alaska provided to CHS by her family

Family of Devan Schmidt, the 29-year-old found dead in a Madison Valley home in 2015, say they have proof she was murdered but the case is not moving forward because the victim was a young woman found with drugs in her system.

“If a young woman has drugs in her system and she is raped and murdered in Seattle… it’s just going to be written off as undetermined?,” Lia Kendall asks. The victim’s sister, provided CHS with the findings of a renowned forensic pathologist and toxicologist expert who says the death “is most likely a homicide.”

“The findings at the autopsy point to it, the findings at the scene support it and the circumstantial evidence is almost compelling,” the expert wrote in a July 2017 letter to Kendall shared with CHS in which the pathologist offers to take part in possible legal proceedings in the case. CHS is not identifying the expert because Kendall agreed not to make his involvement in the case public until there is an arrest and charges. Kendall says the investigator has offered his services at no charge.

On the morning of May 2nd, Schmidt was found unconscious by a housemate. The roommate called 911 and was guided through CPR. Seattle Fire medics rushed to the house near E Denny Way and 29th Ave E but pronounced Schmidt dead at the scene. The case troubled the medical examiner who wrote that circumstances around the death were “concerning for homicidal violence,” and asphyxia “could not be ruled out.” Continue reading

Family still looking for answers in unsolved death of Devan Schmidt

This week marks two years since the death of Devan Schmidt.

The 29-year-old died inside a Madison Valley home on May 2nd, 2015. The medical examiner was unable to determine a cause and manner of death but noted that the investigation scene and circumstances around her death were “concerning for homicidal violence,” and asphyxia “could not be ruled out,” according to documents provided by a family member to CHS.

Her family has continued to seek justice and the Seattle Police Department case remains open.

Schmidt’s loved ones sent CHS the following statement and are asking for help in finding out what happened that May 2nd morning in Madison Valley.

It has been two years as of today that our beloved daughter, sister, auntie, and friend’s life was abruptly taken away. Devan C. Schmidt will always be remembered as a woman who loved life, adventure, family, friends, laughing, being silly, a good book to read, and dancing in the rain. She is loved and missed by many and will never be forgotten. We still have many unanswered questions and ask that anybody who has information regarding her death or the circumstances surrounding it, please contact the SPD homicide division.

— Friends and family of Devan Schmidt

If you can provide information, call the SPD homicide tip line at (206) 684-8763.

CHS Pics | March showers bring Capitol Hill rain gardens

It has been an abnormally rainy start to spring for Seattle with rainfall more than double your typical wet and dreary Pacific Northwest March. You can learn how to put that extra rainfall to work for flowers and plants at a Meet-a-RainWise Contractor Fair coming up in April at Madison Valley’s City People’s:

Meet-a-RainWise Contractor Fair

We found this “RainWise” garden in motion along 19th Ave E. The joint city and county program helps take some of the burden off its taxed sewer system by providing rebates that cover “most or all” of the cost of installing cisterns and rain gardens. “To receive a rebate, you must live in an eligible combined sewer overflow basin,” reads the fine print. You can learn more here.

New owners have got the garden store looking good again (Image: City People's)

New owners have got the garden store looking good again (Image: City People’s)

Meanwhile, we reported here on the interim rebirth of City People’s following delays of the mixed-use grocery and apartments project being planned to replace the garden store. Meet the new owners Alison Greene and Jose Gonzales:

Longtime employees Alison and Jose are the new owners of City People’s Garden Store. Jose has been working at the Garden Store since 1998 as the Annuals Buyer, and Alison started in 2003 becoming a Manager and the Tree & Shrub Buyer. The two worked closely with former owners Steve Magley and Dianne Casper to move the business forward.

What the latest designs for RapidRide G look like, Madison Bus Rapid Transit block by block

The RapidRide future of E Madison means a redo of one of the Hill's most chaotic intersections where Madison meets 12th and Union

The RapidRide future of E Madison means a redo of one of the Hill’s most chaotic intersections where Madison meets 12th and Union

The City of Seattle has released its latest designs and is collecting public feedback on what is being billed as a powerful overhaul of E Madison that will change east-west travel in Central Seattle from downtown, through First Hill, Capitol Hill, the Central District, and into Madison Valley. Judging by a few of the designs for blocks along the route, Seattle City Hall will need your help to get it right.

This month, public feedback will shape the final designs for the Seattle Department of Transportation’s updated Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit project — now known as RapidRide G. You can provide feedback in person beginning Thursday on First Hill or again next week on Capitol Hill. You can also weigh in online:

Thursday, March 9
11 AM – 1 PM
Town Hall, Downstairs
1119 8th Ave

Wednesday, March 15
5:30 – 7:30 PM
First African Methodist Episcopal Church
1522 14th Ave

ONLINE
MARCH 8-22
Give feedback online!
MadisonStreetBRT.participate.online

If you can, make time for an in-person visit and add your thoughts online. Last year, SDOT collected public comments on the proposed project that would create a BRT line from 1st Ave downtown to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The project team has furthered the project’s design since then, reshaping the $120 million plan. Continue reading

Madison BRT, now RapidRide G, rounding out pedestrian, bike elements with aim for 2019 start of service

Seattle is ready to put the final design touches on a powerful new east-west public transit corridor set to be carved out of Madison from downtown through First Hill and Capitol Hill to MLK. The Madison Bus Rapid Transit project will be known as the RapidRide G Line when it begins serving riders along its 11-stop route in late 2019. In addition to more reliable bus service, transportation planners say the line will bring needed improvements to sidewalks and crossings along the route — and add a new protected bike lane, likely on E Union.

In March, you will have an opportunity to add your feedback to help planners shape final elements of the project including those pedestrian and bike improvements along the corridor:

We’re holding in-person and online open houses this March to share the updated project design.

IN PERSON

Thursday, March 9
11 AM – 1 PM
Town Hall, Downstairs
1119 8th Ave

Wednesday, March 15
5:30 – 7:30 PM
First African Methodist Episcopal Church
1522 14th Ave

ONLINE
MARCH 8-22
Give feedback online!
MadisonStreetBRT.participate.online
(Link will go live March 8)

Stretching from 1st Ave to Madison Valley, the future Madison BRT will travel in a dedicated center lane with island stops from 9th Ave to 14th Ave while the rest of the route will run curbside with right-turning traffic or in mixed traffic.

Under the “locally preferred alternative” design adopted by City Council last year, transit travel time from 23rd to 1st Ave is expected to improve by 40% from 16 minutes to 10 minutes while single occupancy vehicle travel time will increase by 4 minutes. Sorry, cars.

Once the project opens in 2019, people riding the bus are expected to travel the corridor 5.2 and 7.3 minutes faster (eastbound and westbound, respectively) than they would if the project were not built. People driving are expected to travel the corridor 5.6 and 2.9 minutes slower (eastbound and westbound, respectively).

The project’s traffic analysis will be available later this year but the draft of the study found “some traffic will divert to other streets,” while identifying “several key intersections SDOT could improve through various treatments.”

Some of the biggest questions about the coming RapidRide G Line are already off the table: Continue reading

Madison Valley’s latest salon specializes in picking bugs out of your hair

Looking for another reason to ban children from Capitol Hill? Here is the slightly geographically challenged announcement of new Seattle “lice salon” Hair Fairies:

Seattle’s upscale Capitol Hill neighborhood, with its swanky shops, parks and cafés, might seem like a strange place for a head lice treatment salon to set up shop. But there’s Hair Fairies, nestled between a Tuscan restaurant and a French bistro on E Madison Ave, and CEO Maria Botham thinks it’s perfect. “We aren’t just any old lice clinic, we pride ourselves on being a destination for parents and kids to feel comfortable, and release some of the stigma associated with lice. Everyone can get lice – it doesn’t discriminate – and we strive to create a space that is accepting and welcoming to everyone.”

Located at 2810 E Madison, the salon gets done pretty much what you’d expect from a lice salon. But the local location for the national chain of around a dozen salons says its methods fit in with “natural” Seattle.

“We understand the importance of ‘natural’ within the Seattle culture. We use our all-natural, plant-based products to eliminate your head lice — 100% guaranteed — with no at-home combing required. Or, if you prefer to DIY, we can teach you to tackle the pesky pests yourself,” the description reads.

Besides, chemicals won’t necessarily rid your kid — and you and your kid’s friends and your friends and grandma — of lice. The bugs are doing what good bugs do — becoming increasingly resistant to the most widely used treatments.

Company founder Maria Botham tells CHS the demand for her service really knows no season — though trends do seem to cleve closely to the school year and things like summer camp season. She says moms and dads vary by market but that her West Coast locations definitely illustrate a DIY trend for parents.

“In San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, they roll up their sleeves,” Botham said of parents fighting the bugs. If that effort can’t get the job done, Botham says, that is where Hair Fairies can help.

The service isn’t cheap. The sometimes hours-long procedures run around $105 per hour.

Got an itch? You can learn more at hairfairies.com.

Madison Valley PCC project moves forward — barely

The four-story mixed-use development with a 30,000-square-foot PCC grocery store at its core will not have to return for a relatively unprecedented fourth round of early design review. The Madison Valley project set to rise where long-loved garden store City People’s stands today won approval to move forward to the second and final round of the city’s design review process Wednesday night. But it was a close call. Meanwhile, the preservation and development project set to create a five-story office and commercial building out of the old Value Village and 11th Ave’s auto row-era past sailed through its final review on the way to construction.

The response to the latest proposal in Madison Valley was much more measured. In sending the project through to the final “recommendation” stage, the board said it would set high expectations for many unanswered questions about the project to be answered before the project can move forward to construction. A wave of opposition from community members and the Save Madison Valley group had helped get the project this far, one board member said.

“A lot of traction has come from community and from the board,” she said. Continue reading

Mixed-use PCC development faces third round of review, Madison Valley residents still not satisfied

Will these proposed townhouse-style units be enough for Dewey Pl E?

Will these proposed townhouse-style units be enough for Dewey Pl E?

Developers behind the proposed E Madison PCC mixed-use development will return Wednesday night for a rare third round of early design review. Their new plan shaves off a few apartment units and 11% of the project’s parking to make room for a new row of townhouses on the development’s backside in a bid to satisfy nearby residents concerned the building won’t mesh with the single-family style homes destined to sit across from the four-story development’s backside.

It won’t be enough. Here is a copy of one of dozens of letters sent to the review board by residents:screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-6-22-36-am

Continue reading

Madison Valley house damaged by gunfire

Police are investigating after bullets crashed through a house’s walls in a bout of gunfire in Madison Valley early Thursday morning.

Police rushed to the area near 28th and Mercer after reports of several shots fired just before 1 AM. One caller reported bullet holes in his walls including one shot that lodged a slug in his bed frame. There were no reported injuries.

Police were searching the area for a car seen speeding away following the shooting. A vehicle parked near the house was also reportedly damaged.

Police said the resident at the house who reported the shooting didn’t know why the house would have been targeted.

There were no arrests.

City People’s has plan to stay in Madison Valley through 2017

(Image: City People's)

(Image: City People’s)

For Central Seattleites who buy their season’s greetings greenery at Madison Valley’s City People’s, a visit for the holidays won’t be quite as bittersweet with news the garden store is working on a lease that will keep the much loved retailer in its longtime home for another year.

Here’s the announcement made to customers this weekend:

We wanted to let you know that future City People’s Garden Store owners, Alison Greene and Jose Gonzales, are in negotiations for an 11-month lease to remain at our current location through 2017. The redevelopment project at the site has been delayed, providing this opportunity. The agreement is in the works with the property owners and developers, and they are hopeful this will go through. Their goal is for the store to reopen in February, with many of its current employees, business as usual — as they continue their effort in finding a more permanent site. We will keep you posted and appreciate your continued love and support! Stay tuned!

The store’s management says the plan would be for City People’s to finish up the holiday season, close for January, and then reopen in the new year for another 11 months in Madison Valley.

City People’s had been heading into what was expected to be its final holiday in Madison Valley doing the kinds of things it has done to help connect Seattle to its dirt since its 1979 founding on Capitol Hill at 19th and Republican. In late October, plans for the four-story PCC-centered, mixed-use development lined up for the property got kicked back in the design review process helping to give the retailer a longer lease on life along E Madison.

In March, CHS broke the news on the plans for the City People’s ownership to sell the land to developer The Velmeir Companies, a Michigan-based “full service commercial retail development company.” This fall, Dianne Casper, one of the longtime owners of City People’s and its unusually large tract of E Madison land, said the company held out for the right partner despite interest from developers of luxury condos and pharmacy chains. “This time we are leaving a legacy to be proud of,” she said.