What it’s like to run a community center on Capitol Hill

Williams outside the Miller Park facility (Image: CHS)

Williams outside the Miller Park facility (Image: CHS)

Johnnie Williams grew up in the Yesler Terrace neighborhood going to parks and participating in track and field. But it was something else altogether that put him in charge of a Capitol Hill community center. Leukemia.

It was when Williams was diagnosed that he decided to work for the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. He has worked at three different centers since then, but currently he’s at Miller Community Center serving as the interim coordinator.

“I think growing up in parks has made me realize the need for community centers in our neighborhoods,” Williams said. “I think they’re very … beneficial because it keeps a lot of the younger youth out of trouble.” Continue reading

Advocate group looks for Capitol Hill support for more off-leash dog parks

(Image: City of Seattle)

(Image: City of Seattle)

The forecast this week calls for the dog days of summer, but dogs in Seattle don’t have many options for relief from the heat.

Dogs are only allowed to swim at Magnuson Park, which has 145 feet of shoreline.

Citizens for Off-Leash Areas, or COLA, wants to change that. The group wants more waterfront parks open to dogs and more off-leash options in general that are within walking distance of every dog owner. Organizers see it as much more than an issue of play and lakeside fun. COLA reps say resources for dog owners are a social justice issue in a city supposedly tackling equity issues across its neighborhoods. Meanwhile, Seattle’s population is set to soar to 750,000 by 2020. About one out of three of the new residents will bring dogs. Continue reading

If you thought the First Hill ‘street reading party’ was cool just wait for the First Hill ‘street petting zoo’


In July, First Hill held a street reading party in its pavement park. First Hill is charming!

Give densely packed — and packing higher — First Hill some public space and it will put it to great use. Earlier this summer, CHS stopped by a “street reading party” in the neighborhood’s UUB University, Union, and Boylston pavement park.

piglet-header3Next week: piglets. The First Hill Improvement Association has announced details of its next pavement park party… a petting zoo:

On Thursday, August 25th from 6:00- 8:00pm, FHIA is bringing the rural to the urban with a petting zoo in First Hill’s pavement park!

Join us at the University, Union and Boylston pavement park to behold (and hold) wonderful barnyard creatures. There will be piglets, bunnies, sheep, and many more animals for you to meet and Instagram! Most of the animals are rescues and cared for by Animal Encounters, who will bring the animals and set up a barnyard petting zoo right in the street.

The event will be free and open to the public, bring a neighbor and get ready for the cute overload.

For the safety of the animals, we ask that you please not bring your dogs to this event, no food is permitted, and folks with active colds/coughs should refrain from petting the animals.

Powered by a City of Seattle grant, the FHIA is also planning more park events including a bingo night and a movie night in September. More pictures of the reading party, below. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day 2016

Here are a few scenes from this weekend’s Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day, the 9th edition of the annual summer event brought to you by CHS and the Cal Anderson Park Alliance. It was hot! Continue reading

Cal Anderson’s new cork-filled field ready for play

(Image: @FFSeattle via Twitter)

(Image: @FFSeattle via Twitter)

The fences were coming down and the feet were stepping onto the new cork-filled turf on Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris field Wednesday.

Seattle Parks had predicted an August 12th completion date for the $1 million project to replace the playfield’s crumb rubber surface with a new experimental cork alternative. Installation began mid-June. Seattle Parks also looked at alternatives involving material like coconut husks, a mineral-like sand, and a synthetic material but ultimately went with the new cork product after visits from several manufacturers who came to Seattle to pitch their creations. Continue reading

Good news: Cal Anderson bathrooms getting overhaul — Best news: they’ll be all-gender

Early next summer people of all genders and all abilities will find a restroom made just for, well, everybody in Cal Anderson Park as part of a much needed overhaul of the notoriously filthy public facilities. While many will celebrate the clean-up, many more will celebrate the growing awareness around all-gender access.

Seattle’s Parks and Recreation Department finished a study in March about remodeling the restrooms for the transgender and gender nonconforming community, following a mayoral executive order based on a recommendation from the city’s LGBTQ Task Force.

“It’s a wide variety of people that use the restroom, and we want them all to feel safe and welcome,” said Cheryl Eastberg, project coordinator with the parks department. Continue reading

Sunday: Cal Anderson hosts 9th annual Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day


In 2008, CHS pulled together the first Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day. Things were simpler then. And about as well organized. We haven’t changed the format much over the years but we have a lot more help. The 2016 CHGSD is Sunday, August 14th and thanks to the Cal Anderson Park Alliance, it should — once again — be a fun day for finding and getting rid of a few treasures. Cal Anderson returns as the host for the community sale where a few dozen garage sales will take place. You can also check out the map to find more sales across the Hill. We’re betting you might find a few more around the streets, too. Not everybody is a joiner. Please share pictures of the sweet deals and sweet dealers you meet and definitely get involved with making the day even more fun. We’ve had shopping cart DJs and other random surprises show up from CHGSD to CHGSD. Oh, and please note, early birds, most sales start at 9 AM.

This event is produced by the Cal Anderson Park Alliance and is part of the group’s efforts to activate Cal Anderson Park year-round. Thanks to sponsors Capitol Hill Housing, AHF Pharmacy, and Kendall’s DJ & Event.

Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day

This year’s map is below. More information at capitolhillgaragesale.com. Continue reading

Reminder: Cal Anderson Park outdoor movies outer space edition

The best way to watch a space fantasy movie has to be under a night sky filled with stars, or at least beneath the glowing orbs of Cal Anderson Park’s lamp posts.

Three Dollar Bill Cinema is holding its annual outdoor film run in the park each Friday night in August. This year’s mini-festival is dubbed The Fierce Awakens! All the screenings are free and start around 8:30 PM in the southeast corner of the park. A DJ will start warming up the crowd around 7 PM and concessions are available.

First up is Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, which screens this Friday. The film tells the story of lesbian space aliens that have on earth with a mission to rid themselves of romantic emotions through inevitable heartbreak. The rest of the month looks equally spacey and fun.

Friday, August 5
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same (2011)

Friday, August 12
Spaceballs (1987)

Friday, August 19
Barbarella (1968)

Friday, August 26th
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Continue reading

CHS Pics | 206 Zulu Park Jam in Cal Anderson

Zen Seizure gets off the ground in his set at Sunday's Park Jam

Zen Seizure gets off the ground in his set at Sunday’s Park Jam (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Capitol Hill’s parks were busy this weekend. Saturday, the inaugural Lusio light art festival added its glow to Volunteer Park’s nighttime shadows. Sunday, Cal Anderson also hosted a first time ever event.

206 Zulu brought its Park Jams series to Capitol Hill for the first time and filled Cal Anderson Park’s meadow bowl with local DJs, musicians, and visual artists.

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CHS Pics | What the Lusio light art festival in Volunteer Park looked like

Kelly Fleek's Cephalopod-Chandelier (Images: CHS)

Kelly Fleek’s Cephalopod-Chandelier (Images: CHS)

Lusio, a first ever night of light art and music in Volunteer Park, made for an even more pleasant summer evening walk than usual through this corner of Capitol Hill Saturday night. Even the 83-year-old Seattle Asian Art Museum got in on the action, bathed in a projection that changed its skin for the night of artistic illumination. The iconic Volunteer Park water tower was similarly empowered, bathed in a glow of red. Continue reading

On the List | Woven art using human looms in Cal Anderson, Lusio light art in Volunteer Park


Get your weave on at Bonds. (Image: Mandy Greer via Instagram)

Yarn bombings have struck trees in Cal Anderson Park before, but human targets may be a first.

Fallow Collective, an art group organized by a trio of Seattle artists, is holding its inaugural performance of Bonds in the park Thursday evening. The project is not so much performed by the Fallow Collective artists, but on them. Any and all are invited to help “create weavings” on the bodies of artists from 5-8 PM in an undertaking with a”no-goal, no-skill, no-judgement framework.”

It’s a weekend of interesting art in the park around Capitol Hill. Saturday night brings the premier of the Lusio light art festival to Volunteer Park. Continue reading

Dog sickened after eating rat poison in Cal Anderson Park

A Capitol Hill dog was sickened Tuesday after eating what appears to be rat poison left near the playground in Cal Anderson Park.

Eva Gisellse tells CHS she was walking her dog Data in the park around 6 PM on Monday when the blue heeler ate an unknown substance. After Data became sick Tuesday morning, Gisellse retrieved the green substance and took her dog to Urban Animal at Broadway and E Thomas.

An Urban Animal spokesperson told CHS the substance was almost certainly rat poison, but veterinarians are awaiting final test results for confirmation. Thankfully, Data is recovering in her Capitol Hill apartment.

“We recommend that anyone walking a dog in the area makes sure it does not eat anything off the ground,” said Jen Pohlman, operations manager at Urban Animal. Of course, the same goes for humans.

UPDATE (7/20): After being notified of the incident, Seattle Parks had its pest control contractor check the roughly 20 rat poison traps that were set around Cal Anderson Park earlier this year. According to Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch, there was no evidence of tampering on the traps, which are designed to keep poison away from dogs and children. “All of the traps were locked and all of the traps have been regularly serviced,” she said.

Continue reading