How you can help shape the future of Broadway by helping shape the future of Seattle Central’s buildings

The view from SCC (Image: Seattle Central College)

The City of Seattle is looking for Capitol Hill community members to serve on a Citizen Advisory Committee to help develop a new Master Plan for Broadway’s Seattle Central to guide the school’s future development.

“Volunteers would serve on a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) which is made up of neighborhood residents with experience in neighborhood organizations and issues, land use and zoning, architecture, landscaping, economic development, building development or educational services who will work with the City and SCC,” the city announcement reads. Continue reading

Save the Broadway Performance Hall? You have a few years but Seattle Central planning major overhaul

(Image: Broadway Performance Hall)

If Kshama Sawant wants to save a Seattle performance venue, we’ve found one closer to Capitol Hill than the Showbox to work on. Time is gradually running out for the Broadway Performance Hall at Seattle Central College. College officials hope to overhaul the building and end its days as a venue for local plays and performances, but state budgeting priorities mean construction isn’t likely to start for at least five or six years.

The building is more than 100 years old though it was “modernized” in 1979 and rates the lowest on the campus in terms of facilities, said Barbara Childs, spokesperson for Seattle Central. While it met standards when it was built, it is no longer up to code in terms of energy efficiency or seismic standards. Additionally, the sandstone keeps absorbing water, causing more problems, Childs said.

Beyond the need for physical upgrades, the school is in need of more library space, and more space for open studying, in order to meet accreditation standards. The school hopes to meet all of those goals with one large project. Continue reading

More parking? How you can help answer Seattle Central’s next big development question

SCC also has hopes of expanding north (Image: CHS)

Anyone who wants a say in what will happen to the built environment along Broadway around Seattle Central College now has their chance. The community oversight committee which reviews proposed changes to the college is looking for a new member — or two. The school’s reach extends farther into the neighborhood than you might think. And there’s a massive decision on parking on the horizon.

Seattle has a master plan which governs land use on a large scale all around the city. Some places, generally hospitals and colleges, have their own separate plan which fits into the larger plan. Typically, these institutions are in what would otherwise be a residential area, and so need a degree of special treatment.

“We kind of give them a bubble,” said Maureen Sheehan, of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

Each of these institutions has a corresponding advisory committee, made up of people who live or work in the neighborhood. When the institution wants to make a change, for example, to build or demolish a building, the plan is presented to the committee. Continue reading

Two big items on Sound Transit’s agenda for lots of affordable housing on Broadway, First Hill — UPDATE

UPDATE 3:35 PM: The Sound Transit board approved both motions Thursday afternoon paving the way for a “no cost” transfer of two First Hill properties to nonprofit developers Bellwether Housing and Plymouth Housing and, in the second vote, putting in place a memorandum of understanding between the transit agency, Seattle Central, and Capitol Hill Housing for a swap of Capitol Hill properties. Details on the plans are below.

In public comments, Bellwether’s CEO Susan Boyd called the joint proposal with Plymouth “a bold plan” that will create much needed affordable housing on First Hill.

Board member and Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson called the First Hill proposal “very consistent with what the community asked for” and said the neighborhood’s “YIMBY” spirit was reflected in the plan.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said affordable housing is now central to Sound Transit’s mission as it also works to provide transit to the region’s growing population. Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, meanwhile, voted against the motion saying he was troubled by the “no cost” aspect of the plan as a “dangerous precedent.”

Additionally, the board also approved a motion on a plan for “Central Transit-Oriented Development” near the Roosevelt light rail station that will involve Bellwether and Mercy Housing Northwest.

Original report: Sound Transit’s board is scheduled to make two key decisions on property it owns across First Hill and Capitol Hill that will potentially open the way for big deals around affordable housing and and expanded Seattle Central.

The Sound Transit Board will vote Thursday whether to move forward with two land deals.

One motion paves the way negotiate with Plymouth Housing and Bellwether Housing in a purchase of Sound Transit land at 1014 Boylston Ave and 1400 Madison meant for high-rise affordable housing, up to 160 feet.

“We thought in viewing their proposal that their numbers were reasonable,” said Sarah Lovell from Sound Transit. “It is an expensive project. It’s expensive to build a high-rise. But stacking two housing project increases their ability to get subsidies. They’re trying to be really efficient with their design.” Continue reading

Seattle’s weekend of anti-Trump protests starts with Capitol Hill student rally — UPDATE

UPDATE 1/21/2017 8:00 AM: Police announced an arrest overnight in the UW shooting.

SPD also reported that a police vehicle suffered a busted window Friday morning:

Around 9:30 AM, an unidentified person threw a rock through the windshield of a Bellevue Police Department officer’s vehicle—which was assisting Seattle police in the Capitol Hill area.

“No other arrests were made during the day’s demonstrations,” SPD reports.

UPDATE 1/20/17 8:50 PM: Police and Seattle Fire have responded to a reported shooting that witnesses say happened in the crowds assembled outside the UW Yiannopoulos appearance. Seattle Fire says a male victim has been transported to the hospital with “possible life threatening injuries. Police are investigating and the protests continue.

UPDATE 1/20/17 7:30 PM: The marchers were last reported headed north on 10th Ave E toward the University of Washington where protesters have been blocking entrance to a planned appearance by right wing Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

UPDATE 1/20/17 7:00 PM: A portion of the Westlake crowd marched through downtown and eventually up Capitol Hill following the downtown rally. The marchers have been peaceful and there have been no reports of significant property damage or arrests. SPD says it seized several dangerous objects from people in the Westlake crowd but did not announce any arrests.

UPDATE 1/20/17 3:00 PM: There were surprises from the start of what is expected to be two days of marches and protests following the inauguration of Donald Trump. Student walkout supporters who rallied at Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central were expected to eventually meet up with El Comite immigrants rights marchers en route from the Central District to a large rally planned Friday night in Westlake. But people were ready to get moving earlier than expected and the student marchers set out for a Central District rendezvous with the immigrants rights march. They met on S Jackson before 3 PM and set a new course together for Westlake Park, about 600 strong.

Before the marchers hit the streets, District 3 representative and Socialist Alternative party leader Kshama Sawant warmed up the crowd of students from schools from across Seattle and their supporters. Continue reading

CHS Comics | Trading cards: Seattle Central Superstars

Seattle Central began its 50th year celebration last week with a day marking its legacy of social activism. With thousands of graduates over the years, the Central roster of distinguished alumni has some interesting names. We’ve honored the school with this special set of 50th anniversary collector cards. Happy birthday, Seattle Central.

CHS Pics | ‘Central to the Community’

It felt like a day of activism at Seattle Central right down to the contingent of bike cops called out to “protect your First Amendment fights” — and keep traffic moving. Seattle Central College professor Carl Livingston led a light hearted march of faculty and staff from the school’s Egyptian Theater across campus Thursday morning to start a yearlong celebration of the institution’s 50 years on Capitol Hill.

With a legacy of activism stretching from civil rights to labor to WTO to Occupy to anti-fascists, the school for 16,336* students in the heart of Capitol Hill chose to begin its celebration marking the college’s dedication to social justice. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Electoral College: New Capitol Hill ballot drop box in place at Seattle Central — UPDATE


UPDATE: This post was originally published in September but with the amount of interest in the box on Election Day, we’ve added new information and bumped it to the top of our Election 2016 coverage.

Donald Trump is surely quaking in his loafers — you won’t need a stamp to vote this November after King County Elections installed one of its new drop boxes on Broadway outside Seattle Central. County ballot drop box use went up significantly in the August primary, with 36% of all ballots returned at drop-off areas. In 2011, Washington shifted to all-mail elections but the percentage of eligible voters participating in the 2014 midterm election fell below 40%. According to the county, the ballot drop boxes are especially important for last-minute voters. Now if KCE can help out with the various inconsistencies, disenfranchisement, and hanging chads we’ll see in the rest of the country come November.

In the meantime, Monday night brings the first Trump vs. Hillary Clinton presidential debate on TV while the Washington gubernatorial debate follows right here on Capitol Hill at Seattle University. Our roster of seven debate watch parties plus more information on the Inslee-Bryant tilt are here.

UPDATE 11/8/2016 9:38 AM: With reports of a box overflowing with popularity, King County Elections officials say all is working well with the new ballot drop boxes including the newly installed blue and white metal container on Broadway.

Early on Election Day, the box was one of a handful in the city reported full and unusable but a King County Elections spokesperson said their driver teams were able to quickly pick up ballots and put the box back into action.

Starting at 9:30 AM, crews of election workers took up their posts at the 43 drop boxes across Seattle and the county to assist voters and take your ballot by hand if you want to drop off without waiting for the box or even if you want curbside service along Broadway. Look for the workers with the orange safety vests. If you aren’t comfortable with the handoff, you’re welcome to drop it in the box directly.

The elections rep tells us King County will also have sheriff deputies at each location through Election Day to help ensure a safe voting environment.

As for the expected crush around 8 PM, make sure you’re in line. The drop box crew will be on hand to take your ballot, organize the crowd, and determine an end to the voting on Broadway. “If you are in line at 8 PM, you are in good shape,” the county representative tells CHS. “Get there, get in line.”


Churches and parking garages: Capitol Hill’s reps in Olympia get creative in drive to create affordable housing in Seattle

Studios starting at $1500/month (Image: Coulter Architects)

Studios starting at $1500/month (Image: Coulter Architects)

(Image: City of Seattle)

(Image: City of Seattle)

Broad changes and new programs will be required to reach the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda goal of 20,000 new units of affordable housing in Seattle in the next decade. But there will also need to be surgical strikes and a few leaps of faith along the way.

It might be surprising to find Olympia at the source of some of the more creative leaps forward in finding new ways to create affordable housing, but House Speaker Frank Chopp tells CHS he is in the middle of discussions around several offbeat solutions to Seattle’s affordable housing crisis. One idea 43rd District rep is especially fond of is building on “under-utilized” land or on-top of structures, like publicly-owned parking garages and community centers.

“There’s a lot of innate support for this kind of thing,” Chopp said.

To bring help bring his creative housing visions to life, Chopp is now working with a group of legislators, officials, and nonprofits to identify places in Seattle that might be good candidates for development. As of now the group has identified seven potential parcels on Capitol Hill, including land owned by Seattle Central College and Sound Transit, and one parcel of land that belongs to a church that Chopp says has expressed an interest in affordable housing. Continue reading

On the List | HONK! Fest West brass band festival comes to Capitol Hill

Brass musicians march at a past HONK! Fest 4th of July show (Images: Mike Antares)

Brass musicians march at a past HONK! Fest 4th of July show (Images: Mike Antares)

HONK! Fest West is extending its reach to Capitol Hill.

The free outdoor music festival started in Seattle in 2008, and this year it runs from June 16 to 19 with a visit to Capitol Hill in the middle. Capitol Hill will have its day Friday with professional brass bands playing free live concerts at four locations on the Hill. Festival organizer Mike Antares estimates that about 26 bands will play on the Hill.

“HONK! Fest is about the accessibility of music, which is why they’re in parks, streets, and public spaces,” Antares said.

This is the first year that the festival has included Capitol Hill. Festival organizers were brainstorming earlier in the year about how to reach out to other communities in the Seattle area. “Capitol Hill was at the top of the list,” said Antares. Continue reading