Two to hospital after Harvard Ave I-5 onramp head-on

Two people were taken to Harborview with serious injuries Tuesday morning after a vehicle collided with another head-on near the northbound I-5 onramp from Harvard Ave E.

Seattle Fire and police responded to the crash just before 10:30 AM in the 2700 block of Harvard Ave E just below Roanoke where northbound vehicular traffic must cross two lanes of southbound traffic to enter the freeway.

Seattle Fire reports that both drivers were in stable condition after being rescued from their vehicles and rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. Animal control was also called to the scene to assist with a dog in one of the crashed vehicles.

The area was closed to traffic during the response. Metro 49 was rerouted during the crash but back on regular service as of noon. Continue reading

North Capitol Hill crew moves back in after Fire Station 22 expansion

(Image: SFD)

Moving day (Image: SFD)

The firefighters of  E Roanoke’s Station 22 are back home this week after a nearly two-year construction project to expand and overhaul the facility.

Crews have been working from a temporary station setup in Eastlake during the demolition and construction project that began in early 2016. Construction had been planned to be wrapped up in summer. The project is part of a 2003 levy vote to fund construction at 32 fire stations around the city, and construct a handful of other facilities. At the time of the vote, construction was anticipated to start in 2007 but the project was delayed for the state’s Route 520 project. At the time of the levy, the anticipated budget for a new Station 22 was $4.8 million. Cost estimates ballooned to $11.7 million. Some of the rise can be attributed to changes in the construction environment from 13 years ago, officials said, including changes to building codes, prevailing wage increases, and inflation. The $11.7 million total price tag also included around $2 million in contingency budget — we’re checking to find out where the final total came in. UPDATE: A department spokesperson tells CHS the final planned budget was $13.352 million but a final official cost isn’t known.

The new station has more than doubled the space of the original, expanding the 1964-built structure from about 4,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet. The new, two-story station has a concrete hose tower, and a brick and glass façade and is designed to be eco-friendly, with a LEED gold certification, including solar panels, an underground stormwater cistern which will provide 100% of the station’s non-drinking water needs, permeable pavers in public areas, and a host of other sustainable features.

The station has been home to a single engine, an officer and three firefighters on duty at any given time, with a total staff of 16 firefighters assigned to the station working in four shifts. SFD says that mix won’t change. The fire house is headquarters for Engine 22 and SFD’s Communications and Command Van.

A community party to celebrate the reopening is being planned for early 2018.

Lawsuit alleges Murray sexually abused teen he met on Capitol Hill in 1980s

IMG_9225Seattle Mayor Ed Murray faces a sex abuse scandal as he heads into a reelection battle to retain his office at City Hall.

The Seattle Times reported Thursday that the 61-year-old faces a lawsuit over allegations that he sexually abused a drug-addicted teen he met on Capitol Hill in the 1980s before Murray launched his political career:

A 46-year-old Kent man sued Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Thursday, claiming Murray “raped and molested him” over several years, beginning in 1986 when the man was a 15-year-old high-school dropout. The lawsuit in King County Superior Court, filed under the man’s initials, “D.H.,” alleges Murray sexually abused the crack-cocaine addicted teen on numerous occasions for payments of $10 to $20. “I have been dealing with this for over 30 years,” the man, now sober for a year, said in an interview with The Seattle Times. He said he was coming forward as part of a “healing process” after years of “the shame, the embarrassment, the guilt, the humiliation that I put myself through and that he put me through.”

Documents in the lawsuit were not yet available via the King County Superior Court’s online record system as of Thursday afternoon. UPDATE 4/7/2017: The complaint and associated filings from Connelly Law attorneys Lincoln C. Beauregard and Julie A. Kays and L.A. Law attorney Lawand Anderson are now available. We have posted the eight-page complaint below. The court has set a trial date for April 2018 though it seems clear things are playing out much more quickly around the suit. The plaintiff’s legal team is calling on the mayor to be available for questions within 90 days. “An early step in this lawsuit will be deposing Mr. Murray, which should occur within the first ninety (90) days of filing,” they write. “D.H. believes that it will be hard, if not nearly impossible for Mr. Murray to deny the abuse.” The full complaint is below:

According to the lawsuit, the victim told Murray he was 15 when the abuse began, underage by consent law in Washington now and at the time of the alleged abuse. The alleged victim said he is coming forward now because of the recent death of his father and because he is now undergoing counseling and participating in addiction-recovery programs, the Seattle Times reports. The statute of limitations to bring charges and investigate the allegations in a criminal case have expired.

The Times also documents two others who came forward previously with allegations of sexual abuse by Murray. A spokesperson for Murray said the mayor denies the accusations and “will vigorously fight the allegations in court” —

These false accusations are intended to damage a prominent elected official who has been a defender of vulnerable populations for decades. It is not a coincidence that this shakedown effort comes within weeks of the campaign filing deadline. These unsubstantiated assertions, dating back three decades, are categorically false. Mayor Murray has never engaged in an inappropriate relationship with any minor. The two older accusations were promoted by extreme right-wing antigay activists in the midst of the marriage equality campaign, and were thoroughly investigated and dismissed by both law enforcement authorities and the media. Mayor Murray will vigorously fight these allegations in court.

In addition to his quest to serve a second term as mayor, 2017 has been marked by Murray’s efforts to to push back on policies championed by the new Trump administration. In its most recent swipe, Murray has led the way for the City of Seattle to sue the administration over its threats to cut funding to so-called sanctuary cities.

After 18 years serving in the legislature in Olympia, Murray cruised to easy victory in November 2013 over incumbent Mike McGinn thanks in part to strong support on his home turf in the Capitol Hill neighborhood where the champion of LGBTQ civil rights has made his home since the ’80s. The Capitol Hill resident and Seattle’s first openly gay mayor launched his campaign with a big head start last summer in a party at big time political PR executive Roger Nyhus’s home near Volunteer Park. Murray has told CHS about his time as a tenant on Capitol Hill where he said he rented for 15 years before buying his North Capitol Hill home where he lives with spouse Michael Shiosaki.

The short statement was broadcast live via Facebook by several media organizations including Q13 Fox

The short statement was broadcast live via Facebook by several media organizations including Q13 Fox

UPDATE 4/7/17 3:02 PM: In an afternoon media conference, Murray said he will not step down and plans to continue his run for reelection calling the accusations “untrue allegations” that have been “very painful.” “I understand the individual is troubled,” Murray said of his accuser. “This makes me sad, too.”

Murray said the allegations are “are simply not true” but declined to take questions, saying the situation is a legal matter to handle in the courts.

“I will not back down now,” Murray said.

UPDATE 4/11/2017: The mayor’s legal team went on the offensive Tuesday releasing a medical report they say shows the case against Murray is bogus:

Speaking to reporters today, Murray’s lawyer, Bob Sulkin, said Murray’s longtime doctor examined him this morning and wrote the report. When asked whether the mayor would subject to another medical examination by a doctor who doesn’t know him, Sulkin said yes, if that was ordered by a judge. “We have to understand what the heart of the accuser’s allegation is,” Sulkin said. “It’s the detailing of Mayor Murray’s private anatomy. Sure, addresses and phone numbers are publicly available—not important. But this is the heart of the allegation.” Sulkin dismissed the other two accusers’ stories as “debunked.”

Youth jail protest comes to Mayor Murray’s North Capitol Hill neighborhood

Ed Murray’s North Capitol Hill home Tuesday night was the target for a group of protesters calling for the mayor and City Hall to stop construction of the county’s planned upgraded Children and Family Justice Center on 12th Ave.

A group of around 50 protesters lined 10th Ave E near E Boston near the mayor’s home to call for a last-ditch effort to reject what is expected to be approval of city construction permits for the facility, a decision the protesters say is slated for Thursday:

No New Youth Jail Action Alert
Call the Mayor, County Executive, and City Council Today!
**Mayor Murray, Dow Constantine, the City of Seattle, and King County intend to give our children and families a new children jail for the holidays.**
On December 22nd the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection will release its decision about whether it will grant permits to King County to build a new children’s jail in Seattle.

Wednesday night, protesters chanted for no new youth jail and reminded the mayor they know where he lives. “We’re here outside of Mayor Murray’s house to let him know that we’re not going away, we are paying attention, and he can’t do something like allow his city government to pass this permit right before the holidays,” protest organizer Bana Abera said. “Obviously, we are paying attention.”

“We want to let him know that we are vigilant. And especially with him being up for reelection, we are going to make sure that he knows, if he doesn’t stop this jail, this will be the main issue of his campaign.”

Earlier this week, Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine were targeted by protesters at the announcement designating Washington as a “hate free state.” Continue reading

Tipped dumpster truck prompts ‘heavy rescue’ response on Boylston

Witnesses described the incident as a slow motion rollover after a truck loading a construction dumpster near Bellevue and Boylston flipped on its side, trapping the driver in the cab Thursday morning.

They “heavy rescue” response just before 9 AM on a rainy morning on this sloping part of Capitol Hill brought out a full response from Seattle Fire and police as two samaritans first on the scene talked with 911 dispatchers to guide the responders to the tucked away area of northern Capitol Hill.

The driver’s injuries appeared to be not life threatening and he was conscious and talking with the two women who waited with him outside the cab as emergency crews made their way to the scene. He was extricated after Seattle Fire removed the cab’s windshield.

The driver was taken to the hospital following the crash. Seattle Police will investigate the incident. Boylston remained closed until the blocking truck and dumpster could be removed.

Capitol Hill food+drink | Cook/Weaver will revive Loveless space with ‘inauthentic Eurasian’ menu

The Loveless Building murals from when Olivar occupied the space. (Image: Suzi Pratt)

The murals are staying.

As Nile Klein and Zac Reynolds prepare to write the next chapter of the historic Loveless Building on E Roy, the first question from neighbors passing by has been about their plans for the space’s intricate wall-to-wall paintings.

“The murals are our number one priority,” Klein told CHS. “It’s a beautiful and very interesting gem.”

Those familiar with the 19th Century Russian poem that inspired the murals could have guessed Cook/Weaver would be incorporating the paintings. The Alexander Pushkin poem tells the story of three sisters: a cook, a weaver, and a wife. Continue reading

Homelessness, addiction, two deaths, a father’s search: how the human remains in Interlaken Park were found

The large cedar tree where LeBaron's son's body was found (Image: Jonathan LeBaron with permission to CHS)

The large cedar tree where LeBaron’s son’s body was found (Image: Jonathan LeBaron with permission to CHS)

Jon LeBaron with his sister. (Image courtesy of Jonathan LeBaron)

Jon LeBaron with his sister. (Image courtesy of Jonathan LeBaron)

A search through Capitol Hill’s Interlaken Park to the spot where his son’s body was discovered in the greenbelt’s wooded ravines led Jonathan LeBaron to another lost life. LeBaron found the human remains CHS reported on over the Labor Day holiday weekend while walking to a tall cedar tree inside the park, the site where the body of his son Jon LeBaron had been found by two people a few days earlier. Authorities are investigating not one set of human remains found in Interlaken in the weeks around Labor Day, but two.

“I think that place should be combed,” LeBaron tells CHS. “It was a needle in a haystack where I found that body.”

The discoveries underscore the epidemic of addiction and homelessness that continues to grow on Capitol Hill and the region despite the city’s renewed attempts to address it. They also illustrate a dilemma with Interlaken Park, loved for its wild terrain filled with tall trees and steep ravines — the same terrain that makes it an ideal place to camp undetected and nearly impossible for those overdosing or in need of help to be found. Continue reading

The Capitol Hill Wishing Tree

Jane Hamel, keeper of the wishing tree, hasn't added her 2016 wish yet (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Jane Hamel, keeper of the wishing tree, hasn’t added her 2016 wish yet (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

“The concept of the wishing tree is very old,” says Jane Hamel, the “owner” — as some would call her — of the Wishing Tree at 21st and Galer.

“Originally, it’s Japanese, but we saw it first in San Francisco,” Hamel said. She has lived on 21st Ave E since 2013 and says her previous place in California just wasn’t right for the project. After noticing the number of people walking and jogging through the neighborhood, Hamel took a chance and put out her first container of wish paper and markers in November of 2014.

Hamel’s wish tree is a work in progress. The first batch of wishes were ruined by Seattle’s wonderful wet weather and in February of 2015 she took it down. Throughout the spring, people stopped as she worked in the garden. “What happened to the wishing tree?” she said they asked. Some were concerned the tree had been vandalized. Hamel said she realized how important the wishing tree was to the neighborhood but she needed a new system. With the help of a few generous community members, a machine to laminate wishes arrived, followed by a bench for people to sit on while they wished. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Girls of Summer race up and over Capitol Hill


Saturday will bring a whir of lycra and crash helmets around and around atop Capitol Hill for the 49th annual Volunteer Park Criterium. There will even be fancy riders with bike helmets “the precise color of the cheddar cheese” sold in race sponsor Taco Time’s restaurants.

IMG_5631Last Saturday, racers of some different stripes also visited Capitol Hill for the 6th annual Girls of Summer “all-girl alley cat” ride across Seattle. Around 100 women riders raced across the city alley cat style making their own course to hit the list of secret stops given out by organizers to start the race. One of those stops was at the I-5 Colonnade between Capitol Hill and Eastlake and home to a bitchin’ mountain bike course.

CHS got word of the secret stop just off Capitol Hill and made sure were in place on race day last Saturday. This Saturday, regulars recommend the start/finish line right outside the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the park water tower as great places to take in the racing action.

As for the Girls of Summer, you can learn more about the race — and who won — here.

No answers yet in investigation of 20th Ave E fire

The construction site where the fire is believed to have started and the neighboring house where the flames spread (Image: CHS)

The construction site where the fire is believed to have started and the neighboring house where the flames spread (Image: CHS)

The work to document the scene and identify the cause of a massive fire that destroyed a 20th Ave E home under construction and mostly gutted a neighboring house has not been completed pending efforts to make the site safe for a full investigation, Seattle Fire tells CHS.

Neighbors awoke early Saturday morning just after 4 AM to a 40-foot wall of flame mid-block on 20th Ave E between Highland and Prospect where the framing of an under-construction rebuild of a single-family home turned into an incredible bonfire shooting sparks into clouds of smoke and sending frisbee-size blocks of ash dropping through the neighborhood.

Firefighters after

The fight shifts to the southern house (Image: CHS)

Continue reading