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Closed for renovation, Town Hall Seattle comes to Capitol Hill with neighborhood’s histories and ‘what we’ll build next’

With Town Hall’s more-than-100-year-old First Hill home closed for a year-long renovation, the community forum is distributing its effort to bring illuminating speakers and timely issues to the city into Seattle’s neighborhoods.

Next Monday night, Town Hall Seattle and its “Neighborhood Resident” representative Erik Molano will come to E Pike for a free gathering of “poets and storytellers celebrating the history of Capitol Hill” and “a panel discussion on how we can help navigate the future of the neighborhood.”

In Residence—Histories of Capitol Hill and What We’ll Build Next
Monday, April 16th — 7 PM
The Summit on Pike, 420 E Pike


Laura Da’ is a poet and teacher. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is Eastern Shawnee. Her first book, Tributaries, won a 2016 American Book Award. In 2015, Da’ was both a Made at Hugo House Fellow and a Jack Straw Fellow. Her next book, Instruments of the True Measure, is forthcoming in 2018.

Anastacia Renee is Civic Poet of Seattle and former 2015-2017 Poet-in-Residence at the Hugo House. She is the author of: Forget It, (v.)Answer(Me), and 26. Her poetry, prose and fiction have been published widely.

Sarah Galvin is the author of Ugly Time, The Three Einsteins and The Best Party of our Lives;contributor to The GuardianVice MagazineThe Stranger, and City Arts; and is also a human bottle rocket. She has an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington.


Ty Nolan is an American Indian Storyteller and Teacher who provides training and technical assistance in multicultural education and health. He is a leader among queer elders in Seattle, organizing them to advise the LGBTQ Capitol Hill Elder Housing project that is currently pending construction.

Alex Brennan is a Senior Planner at Capitol Hill Housing (CHH). Since 1976, CHH has worked alongside the community to build and preserve housing affordable to working families and promote the qualities that make Seattle a vibrant and engaged city.


Mary Anne Henderson is a humanities teacher at the Northwest School in Capitol Hill. She worked as a researcher and consultant for the Bezos Center for Innovation at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry. Throughout her education several wonderful teachers nurtured a growing interest in history and Mary Anne strives to bring the subject alive in similar ways for her students.

Tom Heuser is the president of the Capitol Hill Historical Society. As an historian, his primary focus is on historical buildings in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. He picks one and researches every possible detail he can on who had it built, and who lived and worked there, and the broader context in which they all came together. He is currently working on a historical Geographical Information System, to use 3D maps to discover Seattle spaces throughout history. The organization’s mission is to gather, preserve, and share the history of the communities that have shaped Capitol Hill.

Cynthia Brothers started the site Vanishing Seattle in 2016 to document the displaced and disappearing institutions, cultures, and communities of Seattle. She’s a nonprofit and philanthropic consultant who’s worked in the areas of immigrant rights, online organizing, and arts & culture. Cynthia is also a member of the Chinatown International District Coalition/Humbows Not Hotels and has contributed to The Seattle Globalist.

The program, organized by Molano and activist Bradley Horst, will feature poetry performances by Laura Da, Anastacia Renee, and Sarah Galvin, with a reading by Ty Nolan, and a presentation from Capitol Hill Housing’s Alex Brennan on the 12th Ave Arts development. Presenters will “convene to examine the impact that our strong Black and Jewish communities have had on the neighborhood, as well as explore factors in the neighborhood that are displacing members of the LGBTQ community.”

Town Hall Seattle’s renovation, meanwhile, will rebuild the old building and functionally rotate the structure’s orientation to create what the nonprofit hopes is a new presence for the structure as a connector between downtown and a rapidly growing First Hill neighborhood. The building’s block is also lined up for more change with a pair of twin 32-story apartment towers planned for the block — along with a new Town Hall adjacent plaza.

Capitol Hill also continues its growth in new and sometimes unexpected directions. With the neighborhood’s population pushing 34,000 and no sign of the city’s boom times ending, it’s not getting any cheaper. It’s less gay — probably. There is a push to upzone parts of Capitol Hill’s core to help — eventually — to create even more space for new residents. Who will they be?

“Poets, activists, and historians share the stage to weave a tapestry of time and culture, delving into Capitol Hill’s past and discussing critical topics such as the support of local businesses and the creation of affordable housing,” the organizers write of next Monday night’s Town Hall Seattle forum.

The event is presented by Town Hall Seattle with funding from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and sponsorship by The Cloud Room.

UPDATE: Don’t forget, Monday night is also a big night for the process to rezone parts of Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods across the city with a Mandatory Housing Affordability public hearing being held at Seattle Central:

District 3 and District 7 MHA Public Hearing

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