CHS Pics | MLK 2018 the start of a week of activism on Capitol Hill

Thousands of people took to the streets Monday from 23rd and Jefferson’s Garfield High School, to the East Precinct at the corner of 12th and Pine on Capitol Hill, and on down Pine to Westlake as part of a day of rallies, seminars, and marching to mark the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bolstered by amazing January weather, the crowds filled multiple city blocks with groups representing indigenous communities, Black Lives Matter, and area labor organizations. Helicopters from local television stations — and the King County Sheriff — spun through the blue sky. At 12th and Pine, the march came to a stop as the marchers took a knee, echoing the ongoing pre-game protests in the NFL. Continue reading

Shaping Capitol Hill Housing’s affordable LGBTQ-focused senior housing project

Capitol Hill Housing hosted its first public discussion Tuesday night with the community it will house in preparation for shaping what it hopes will be the nation’s first LGBTQIA+-focused affordable senior housing at 14th and Union. It just might take a little longer to come up with the money to pay for it.

Walter Zisette, associate director for real estate at Capitol Hill Housing, told the crowd the first of its kind senior housing development was not among the projects selected this year by the city’s Office of Housing for some $100 million in affordable housing investments.

“That’s not stopping us at all,” Zisette said. “ It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”

Zisette estimated CHH will need another year to find more financing to cover the project’s $24 million budget. He still felt the new project would be ready for occupants in 2020.

Despite the disappointing news, attendees presented plenty of ideas. The most frequent request was that CHH consider intergenerational opportunities for its occupants as the project comes together.

“It’s important not to be cut off from other people,” said Ty Nolan, an LGBTQIA+ elder and attendee. “And it’d be nice to have something like a head start or daycare where people can volunteer as grandparents.”

78-year-old Brandy Sedron-Kelley said allowing LGBTQIA+ seniors to connect with the next generation can prevent a lot of hate and misconception. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Housing project at 14th and Union will create affordable LGBTQ-focused senior housing

True affordability means keeping rents in the city down for everybody. An effort to help Capitol Hill Housing shape “Seattle’s first LGBTQ-affirming affordable senior housing development” at 14th and Union will take another step forward next week with a Community Visioning Workshop:

LGBTQ-Affirming Affordable Senior Housing: Community Visioning Workshop

“We’ve heard consistently from the community about the need for a place where LGBTQ elders in the community could age,” said Ashwin Warrior, Capitol Hill Housing spokesperson. “LGBTQ seniors were also named a priority population for the 2016 Housing Levy which adds extra impetus to the efforts.” Continue reading

On 11th Ave, Semillon now living the Capitol Hill French bakery dream

Capitol Hill — land of dreams. Last week, CHS told you about two brothers living the Capitol Hill dream of owning their own neighborhood bar — Cure is under new ownership. Another Hill ownership change comes with another Hill dream — but this time, the happy thoughts are about leaving a life in tech behind for a new life of French pastries and breads.

“I’ve been baking all of my life. Eating some of it — but not all of it,” Debbie Nam tells CHS about her big leap in taking over a bakery and cafe space on Capitol Hill and starting her own business — Semillon.

“I’ve always enjoyed the process,” she says. Continue reading

Why neighbors are complaining about this Central District taco truck

(Image: Taqueria Sotelo)

Central District real estate investor and entrepreneur Ian Eisenberg has sounded the alarm — Taqueria Sotelo could lose its longtime home on E Union because of a complaint to the city.

The technical issue, according to Eisenberg, has to do with pedestrian zones and vehicular zones as marked in property plans. Eisenberg said there have also been complaints the Taqueria Sotelo food truck he’s let park on his 21st and Union property is aesthetically unappealing.

We are working to talk with the owner of the Taqueria Sotelo truck to learn more.

City of Seattle permit and complaint records show the property was also subject to a complaint in late October about advertising signage that went up on the old service station property a few blocks from Eisenberg’s Uncle Ike’s pot shop. “The 2 pole signs and 1 wall sign advertising Uncle Ike’s require permit(s) & inspections or removal,” the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections complaint entry reads. Continue reading

After plan went ‘sideways,’ SDOT says will find a way to build E Union protected bike lanes

Protected bike lanes on E Union won’t fall through the cracks. Seattle Department of Transportation officials say they are working on a plan for adding a protected area on the busy street for riders after the upgrade dropped out of the Madison Bus Rapid Transit plan and was also left off the drawing board for the city’s Bike Master Plan “five-year” projects.

The plan for E Union’s protected bike lane addition “very plainly went sideways,” SDOT chief of staff Genesee Adkins said at Tuesday’s meeting of the Seattle City Council’s transportation committee as she introduced a session reviewing the department’s bike plan projects (PDF). Continue reading

Capitol Retrospective | Dodge’s Triangle: Seattle’s smallest known piece of private property

1949-08-23 Sea Muni Archivces - Madison at Union and 12th (triangle)

Looking Northeast where 12th Ave E and E Union St intersect with E Madison St. Approximate dimensions of Dodge’s triangle highlighted in yellow. Image courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives

I want to say this Capitol Hill triangle spun me around in circles all week, but it’s a triangle, not a circle, so that won’t do. However, I can say that much like ships and planes are rumored to have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, historians and cartographers are rumored to have done the same trying to figure out what the hell the deal is with this triangle. What is it, how and why does it even exist? Well, you’re in luck, because after spending a harrowing week confined within its absurdly narrow boundaries, I’ve emerged to tell the tale.

It all started as a joke.

On April 16, 1916 Seattle Times broke the humorous story. They described it as a small triangular strip with about 6 feet on E Madison and about 5 and a half feet on E Union with a depth at the widest of approximately 4 feet. It baffled expert appraisers and architects alike who would dare attempt to price it or design a structure suitable to its size. Real estate mogul Henry Broderick claimed it was probably worth less than it would cost for him to properly appraise it and it would be hard to sell because a for sale sign would entirely obscure it from view. Someone suggested you could maybe install a gas pump, but the attendant would be obliged to rent the sidewalk from the city just so he could operate it. Jokes aside, things start to break down when you take a closer look at the matter. Continue reading

Seattle Academy’s ‘vertically-oriented middle school’ set to rise above 13th and Union

17202880_1428918773826074_1539814008439652710_nSchools remains a growth industry on Capitol Hill. With a live stream of the building-crunching action of the start of demolition on the school’s Facebook page, Seattle Academy began construction activity Tuesday on its new $48 million Cardinal Union building on E Union just up from 12th Ave.

The Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, a private school for grades 6-12, will be expanding its presence with what is being touted as the “first vertically-oriented middle school in Seattle.”

The school opened in 1983 and started out in space leased from Temple De Hirsch Sinai. Over the years, they’ve been raising funds to purchase and construct their own buildings. The new five-story building starting this week marks the last big project for the time being, said Doug Ambach, the school’s director of operations.

The school owns most of the block bounded by 12th and 13th avenues and Union and Spring streets, save for a warehouse space along 12th. The construction will largely be taking place along 13th Ave and around the corner onto Union, Ambach said. It will mean pedestrian blockages along those streets. The construction should not impact the school’s 12th Ave face. Plans call for the project to wrap up in time for the start of the 2018 school year. Continue reading

‘LOVE WINS’ — Neighbor’s quick work covers anti-semitic graffiti targeting Temple De Hirsch Sinai — UPDATE: Suspicious package

A Capitol Hill neighbor took things into his own hands after anti-semitic graffiti was found Friday morning near 14th and Union on the property of Temple De Hirsch Sinai.

UPDATE 2:30 PM: SPD’s Arson and Bomb Squad was called to the synagogue around 1 PM after a box was found outside the temple and reported to police. After photographing and investigating the item, police determined it was harmless and reopened the area around the temple’s 16th Ave entrance. The box, it turns out, contained a donation of old history books. Police said they were acting out of an “abundance of caution” following the graffiti found Friday morning and a string of threats against religious and community centers.

“I just met with the leadership of this temple a few days ago,” SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole said at the scene Friday during the investigation of the package. “With all that is happening nationally and with the graffiti issues here, we want all of the people in our communities to feel safe.”

O’Toole said she was attending the mayor’s proclamation of Irish week in Seattle when she heard about the suspicious package investigation. “I was out and about and said, gee, I’m going to head there myself and try to reassure them that we’re here with them and that we take these cases very seriously.”

Robert Merner, assistant chief in charge of investigations, said his department has been visiting with area groups including Temple De Hirsch Sinai over concerns about national threats. He also had some advice for anybody considering dropping off a box of old books – call ahead.

Original report: CHS arrived to find the neighbor covering the spray painted message with a message of his own painted on a bed sheet and taped to cover the wall. The neighbor told CHS he felt compelled to cover the graffiti because he didn’t want the message of one bad person to take on greater significance and reflect poorly on his new neighborhood.

An official at the scene declined to comment until he had an opportunity to talk with others at the temple about any messages the synagogue wanted to share about the incident. Continue reading

One year, 250,000 pints of Optimism

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Hakala and Gilmore, left, along with the Optimism crew (Images: CHS)

Happy birthday to brew, Optimism Brewery.

Optimism Brewery opened its doors at Broadway and Union in December 2015 and is celebrating one year of making beer on Capitol Hill this weekend.

Gay Gilmore, who founded the brewery with her husband Troy Hakala, said they always dreamed of opening the brewery in their home neighborhood on Capitol Hill, and the support they’ve received has been hugely rewarding.

“The response has been so awesome, we just want to say thank you,” Gilmore said.

In the first year, 61,000 people visited Optimism’s taproom, and the brewery has sold 1,000 barrels or 124,000 250,000 pints of beer. In addition to Capitol Hill-brewed beer, Optimism’s-16,000 square-foot brewery has become a popular space for politicians, city officials, nonprofits, and residents to hold parties and events. Continue reading