How would the District 3 candidates have voted on the Seattle public drug use and treatment legislation? Yes and No

Hudson and Hollingsworth

The candidates to serve District 3 on the Seattle City Council are divided on their support for the legislation passed last week that will open the way for a Seattle Police Department crackdown on public drug use on the city’s streets while doing more to emphasize diversion and treatment. One would have sided with current D3 rep Kshama Sawant in unsuccessfully opposing the bill, the other says her personal experience and family loss would make it impossible for her not to vote yes on the legislation. Continue reading

With renewed focus on equity and ‘Just Growth’ agenda, Capitol Hill EcoDistrict makes move to growing Seattle Urban League

A building acquired by Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle for affordable housing last fall

A REVIVAL market at Capitol Hill Station (Image: Capitol Hill EcoDistrict)

The Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, one of the closest organizations the neighborhood currently has to an independent community group representing the area’s neighborhoods in the city’s growth and development process, is moving under the wings of Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle with a renewed focus on equity.

“This next phase of partnership with the Urban League is an opportunity for the EcoDistrict to co-create a future for equitable community development at scale,” EcoDistrict executive director Donna Moodie said in the announcement.

The Capitol Hill EcoDistrict took shape more than a decade ago as it as formed by what was then known as Capitol Hill Housing. The developer and manager of affordable housing across Capitol Hill recognized its shifting focus to a larger citywide mandate with a change of its name to Community Roots Housing in the time since. Now the community-focused organization it helped create to address environmental and social concerns in the area’s development is ready for a larger mandate.

The Urban League is growing. Last week, it announced plans to move from its Central District headquarters at 14th and Yesler to Rainier Ave as part of a major development to create both a new hq and around 300 new affordable apartment units.

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Mayor says Seattle’s ‘third public safety department’ ready to join police and firefighters in protecting the city with ‘welfare checks’ and help for people suffering mental crisis

(Image: CHS)

A small, $1.5 million pilot program hoped to help be the start of bigger changes to how the city responds to mental health and drug crisis 911 calls is set to launch this month and Mayor Bruce Harrell is calling for more money so support the department behind the program next year.

Harrell marked the formation of what the administration is calling “Seattle’s third public safety department” saying the new organization will align “existing community-focused and non-police public safety investments and programs” as it joins the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department in protecting the city.

Community Assisted Response and Engagement — or, in the Harrell administration’s love for warm-sounding acronyms, CARE —  is part of the next step in what the city has been calling a “dual dispatch” approach to providing better social support and resources while freeing up police to handle higher priority calls.

Harrell says he is calling for a $6 million increase in the department’s funding as part of his proposed budget for next year.

The pilot launching this month will transition the former Community Safety and Communications Center to include the deployment of social workers and behavioral health specialists with Seattle Police Department officers for a limited set of circumstances when mental health expertise is needed and the situation is deemed safe for non-police intervention.

The launch comes amid increased criticism of Chief Adrian Diaz and skepticism around traditional policing in the city sparked by recent recorded comments from Seattle Police officers illustrating troubling biases and cynicism including the body cam video that captured a police union vice president making flippant remarks about Jaahnavi Kandula after she was struck and killed by a speeding police officer.

It also arrives as city leaders have signed the department up for a possible crackdown on public drug use in the city.

Backers hope CARE and efforts like “dual dispatch” will be the start of needed change and could help the city provide more substantial responses to the flood of so-called “welfare check” calls that come into 911 dispatchers from Capitol Hill and across the city every day.

Under the pilot, 911 calls dispatched involving someone suffering a mental crisis will include the specialists arriving with police at situations that don’t involve someone who is injured or sick, an “imminent danger,” weapons, or narcotics. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Rewind | Rubato Records: breaking the lease on Broadway

Helena Rogers in her Georgetown studio (Image: Todd Matthews)

Exploring the neighborhood’s record-shop history

Rubato Records & Espresso’s brief existence at the Broadway Alley began in 1982. Capitol Hill was one of a few locations—Wallingford and West Seattle stores opened later—for a record shop opened in downtown Bellevue in 1976 by John and Helena Rogers. The pair—who later married and separated but remain friends—also co-founded the New Wave/progressive rock/avant-garde band Student Nurse.

Helena remembers selling records to Bob Blackburn, the voice of the Seattle SuperSonics, and former Seattle Mariners ace Randy Johnson at the Bellevue shop. “[Randy] would come in and lowball us trying to sell crappy heavy metal records,” Helena told me during an interview this summer at Georgetown’s Equinox Studios, where she is also an artist who paints. “He would say, ‘That’s all you’re giving me?!’ It was, like, ‘Dude, you have millions of dollars, and we barely have enough money to buy a hamburger after work!’”

John recalled selling records to REM’s Peter Buck and basketball legend Bill Russell. “[Bill] would pull up [to the Bellevue store] in his Rolls-Royce with no backseat because his legs were so long,” John, 75, recalled during a recent phone interview. Continue reading

This week in CHS history | 2020 anti-police protests flare, Sitka and Spruce closes, CHS breaks the news on the Starbucks roastery

(Image: Matt Mitgang with permission to CHS)

Here are the top stories from this week in CHS history:



Design review: Eight stories, mass timber, and within view of Capitol Hill Station

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The Capitol Hill Station pigeon relocation program

By Cormac Wolf, CHS Intern

Serving around 7,000 boardings per day, busy Capitol Hill Station faces its fair share of urban challenges. But riders worried about the station’s solutions to one cold hard fact of city life can hopefully rest easier.

The Capitol Hill Station pigeons are not being shipped off to slaughter.

Concern about Sound Transit’s pigeon traps at the station rose in recent weeks. A Reddit post in r/Seattle and r/pigeon prompted readers to contact CHS, asking about the agency’s Transit’s best pigeon practices in their never-ending hygiene war.

John Gallagher, Sound Transit spokesperson, made it clear that Sound Transit and its crews do not euthanize trapped pigeons. They are released at a site away from the station, though Gallagher said he did not know where.

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After summer’s ‘unprecedented stretch of dry weather,’ Seattle residents urged to conserve 49 million gallons of water per day

With the Puget Sound about to be walloped by its first bout of true Pacific Northwest-level fall and winter rains, Seattle Public Utilities is putting out a call for help that shows just how close the region is cutting it in terms of water supply after an extremely dry summer.

Citing “an unprecedented stretch of dry weather” this summer, SPU is asking residents to cut down on things like showers, watering lawns and flowers, and more as drought conditions have taxed the city’s water supply. SPU says the goal is to drop the average water consumption for the region to 100 million gallons per day and “keep it at or below that level until we get enough rain to refill the mountain reservoirs sufficiently.”

The region is currently averaging use of about 149 million gallons per day, according to SPU. Continue reading

Seattle city workers march for better contract

(Image: @PTE17)

A coalition of unions is calling for better wages for City of Seattle workers. More than a thousand people marched on City Hall this week as contract negotiations continue.

A dozen unions represent more than 6,000 workers and are pushing back on what they say is a disrespectful offer of an inadequate boost in wages.

Union leaders say they city has finally raised is cost of living adjustment from 1% to 2.5% in the multi-year proposal — a number they say still falls too short of inflation.

The city employees have been working without a contract since the last deal expired last year. Continue reading

With limited seats, premium sushi, Ltd Edition wins spot on ‘America’s best restaurants’ list

Tsukasaki and Kobayashi “testing” the sake (Image: Ltd Edition Sushi)

Capitol Hill’s Nagle Place is home to one of “America’s best restaurants.” The New York Times has added to the buzz around Ltd Edition Sushi by naming the eight-seat sushi bar to this year’s roster of the 50 best food and drink places in the country, one of only two entries from Washington and the only Seattle venue on the list.

“The chef Keiji Tsukasaki came to the sushi craft somewhat later in life, after more than a decade in the nightlife world, and he presides over the eight-seat counter with an impresario’s charisma,” the New York Times says of the star behind the counter.

Ltd hasn’t been an overnight sensation. CHS reported here in the summer of 2021 as the venture launched across from Cal Anderson Park while the area was still in the grips of the COVID-19 crisis and its impacts on bars and restaurants. Keiji Tsukasaki’s restaurant found itself faced with building early business by selling premium omakase boxes while its plans for the sushi bar waited on standby. Later that year, those plans went fully into motion as Jun Kobayashi, former head sushi chef at Shiro’s, joined the Ltd team as executive chef. Continue reading

911 | Hate crime assault and armed robbery reported at Capitol Hill Station

Images from a witness of the reported white painter’s suit crew

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt/Signal (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS 911 coverage here. Hear sirens and wondering what’s going on? Check out Twitter reports from @jseattle or join and check in with neighbors in the CHS Facebook Group.

  • Capitol Hill Station bias assault and armed robbery: A man said he was hit in the head with a skateboard and robbed of his phone at gunpoint in an altercation early Tuesday morning at Capitol Hill Station. According to the SPD report and East Precinct radio, police were called to the station just before 12:30 AM and found the victim with an injury to his head. The victim said he was assaulted by a group of five suspects as he exited the light rail station. The group assaulted the victim and one suspect brandished a firearm and robbed the man of his phone after he had called 911. Police say the assault and ripoff may be a bias crime. “The victim reported the group used racist and homophobic slurs and he believed he was targeted due to his race and sexual orientation,” the SPD report reads. The suspects were last reported northbound on Broadway but could not be located. Seattle Fire was called to the scene to treat the victim.
  • White painter’s suit car prowls? A group of car prowlers in white painter’s suits has reportedly been making the rounds. This account recorded two days in September when the same crew was actively prowling the area. If you see the group, give 911 a call.

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