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Spokesperson: Mayor’s office meeting with Capitol Hill protest camp to address ‘significant nighttime public safety concerns and issues’ — UPDATE

Mayor Jenny Durkan and city officials are meeting Monday with representatives from the Capitol Hill protest camp at Cal Anderson Park after a weekend of gun violence in the area left a 19-year-old dead and injured two others, according to a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

“As many community groups are also urging, Mayor believes individuals can and should peacefully demonstrate, but the message cannot be lost in the violence,” a statement from the spokesperson reads. “Today, City departments and outreach services will be on site updating individuals on the shootings. Later today, we will also be sharing the City’s plans for addressing significant nighttime public safety concerns and issues.”

The effort could represent a shift in the mayor’s relationship to the protest zone after her public stance in recent weeks emphasizing the camp as a place for free speech and demonstration. “For as long as I can remember, Capitol Hill has been autonomous,” the mayor said in a June 12th tweet. “It’s always been a place where people go to express themselves freely.” She has also defended the zone in her social media jousting with the Trump administration over the growth of the camp and demonstration zone in the city.

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“Every day, thousands of individuals gather on Capitol Hill for peaceful demonstrations,” the mayor’s office spokesperson said in a statement released Monday morning. “After days of peaceful demonstrations, two nights of shootings have clearly escalated the situation on Capitol Hill. The Seattle Police Department is still conducting an investigation on the cause of the shootings and will be providing an update later today.”

The meetings could also cement a proposal within the camp to try to quiet and calm the scene at night. Sunday, CHOP volunteers posted a letter documenting a community effort at the camp to address safety concerns. “First, we would like to acknowledge that no organizations, protests, or revolutions are perfect,” it begins. “We must all be willing to collectively learn and react quickly to mistakes within our movement. We do not want to see what was started with the intention of lifting the BLM message destroy before us all. We want to learn and react now.”

Included in the community recommendations are efforts to reduce drug and alcohol use within CHOP, overnight quiet hours that focus camp activities between 8 AM and 8 PM, and improved communications for volunteer teams including medics and security within the camp.

Early Saturday, one man was killed and another person was critically wounded in a shooting at 10th and Pine. 19-year-old Renton High student Lorenzo Anderson died in an incident that has become a flashpoint of controversy with police restricting their presence in the area following the emptying of the East Precinct headquarters and Seattle Fire’s limited abilities to respond without police presence.

The spokesperson said that Sunday, city officials “worked with trusted messengers and de-escalators” led by Andre Taylor with Not This Time “to engage with many of the organizers.”

“This work will continue and the City will be meeting with some of the organizers today on next steps. We believe there can be a peaceful resolution,” the spokesperson writes.

Despite the effort, Sunday night brought another shooting on the edge of Cal Anderson that sent a 17-year-old to the hospital.

The official said Durkan’s staff has also been meeting with “small business owners, demonstrators, and residents on Capitol Hill.”

“Based on those conversations and reports from City staff on the ground, it’s clear that the experience in and around Cal Anderson differs greatly between daytime and nighttime,” the spokesperson said. “We have been meeting with residents and small business owners to address their safety and disorder concerns, including the ability of first responders to access emergencies in the area.”

In addition to the weekend shootings, Seattle Police are also investigating a sex assault at the camp reported Thursday.

With the protest camp as a center, the Seattle effort had marked a handful of gains and promises from Durkan and SPD Chief Carmen Best of ongoing talks with activists and community groups and a review of police crowd control tactics. Since its formation in the exit of police from the East Precinct building and the barriers at 12th and Pine on June 8th, the camp was celebrated as a center of protest and also for its art and community even as there were also reports of open-carry enthusiasts joining the crowds and a regular presence of armed sentries posted around the area as part of camp security. The city worked out a new layout plan with protesters to better open the area to traffic and emergency vehicles but there was also a growing unease about Seattle Police’s limited presence in the zone around 11th and Pine and Cal Anderson Park and growing criticism that the camp’s purpose of occupying the area and the “Seattle People’s Precinct” was overtaking greater Black Lives Matter goals.

Friday, thousands marched across the Central District to celebrate Juneteenth and rally for the Black Lives Matter movement and local demands to cut Seattle’s police budget and increase spending on social and community investment in the Central District.

UPDATE: Durkan’s office has announced a 4 PM news conference. “Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, Chief of Police Carmen Best, and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, will be joined by community leaders as they provide an update on gun violence in Rainier Beach and Capitol Hill following weekend shooting incidents,” the announcement reads.

UPDATE 5:30 PM: In an appearance in City Hall flanked by community leaders including Rev. Harriett Walden, activist Andre Taylor, First African Methodist Episcopal Church pastor Carey G. Anderson, and Louise Chernin from the GSBA and Capitol Hill Business Alliance but no representatives from the protest groups, Mayor Durkan said the city will no longer allow the Capitol Hill protest camp to continue overnight around Cal Anderson.

Durkan and Chief Carmen Best also said that SPD is preparing plans for reopening the East Precinct as quickly and as safely as possible but provided no specific timeline. Durkan said it would not be safe to reestablish the precinct by sending in police officers and that community partners are being asked for help to reduce the camp and the number of protesters at the site while efforts at larger “systemic change” come in the 2020 budget process to increase social spending in Black and “marginalized communities” and at the state level where the mayor said there will be legislative changes to address how the Seattle police union operates.

“It’s time for people to go home. It’s time for us to restore Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill,” Durkan said.

“Organizers of Capitol Hill have concluded that they should not gather overnight,” the mayor added. If people continue to remain at 8 PM, the city and police will look at “additional steps” to make area safe, Durkan said.

If that sounded like a threat, Best’s time at the microphone was more aggressive. “The Seattle City Council legislated away our tools to control these crowds and a life might have been saved if not for this legislation,” the chief said referring to SPD’s delayed response to the shooting scenes as officers donned riot gear to enter the area.

Earlier this month, the council responded to weeks of protest violence by placing restrictions on police use of tear gas, chokeholds, and badge coverings. That legislation has yet to go into effect. Best is calling for the council to reconsider the legislation saying it hinders the ability of officers to enter the protest area quickly and safely.

Though some groups in the camp have pushed for quieting the scene starting at 8 PM, it’s not clear what actions the organizers will take or if they will clear the park at night. Taylor said an attempt to broker a meeting between the mayor and the groups fell through when camp representatives did not show.

Durkan also said she is in talks with groups about creating a Black community space in Capitol Hill calling the neighborhood “the gateway to the Central District.” Pastor Anderson said he is offering up his 14th Ave church as a place for groups to meet to talk about the Black Lives Matter movement if needed.

Durkan acknowledged that the city regularly sees gun violence rise this time of year but said what happened on Capitol Hill this weekend “permeated an area that was supposed to be a peaceful collection of people whose voice was being raised against violence against Black people.”

“We don’t know what the outcome would have been for the young man that died or the person who is still in critical condition at Harborview. But it is our experience over years that the quickness of the response decides who lives and dies sometimes.”

Durkan’s message through the briefing was clear. City departments and community groups will work to reduce the size of the camps. Efforts including homelessness outreach will help move some people out while others will hopefully be convinced by community efforts and progress on movement issues, the mayor said. The weekend’s violence has ended her support for the protest zone and “SPD will be returning to the East Precinct.,” Durkan said. “They’ll do it peacefully and in the near future.”

UPDATE x2: Kshama Sawant has issued a statement calling for decisions on next steps for the camp to be decided “democratically.”

“This is a decision for the movement to make democratically,” a statement from her office reads. “It would make sense, in my view, for general assemblies to be scheduled during the coming days, announced in advance, so that activists in the movement can debate and discuss this issue.

In the statement, Sawant also walks back her earlier assertions that Saturday’s shooting had “indications” it was a “right-wing attack” —

Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), chair of the Council’s Sustainability and Renters Rights Committee, issued the following statement about the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), after consultation with community members and activists in Seattle’s movement against racism and police violence.

“There was, sadly, additional gun violence last night near the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP). As with the tragic incident on Saturday night, it is still unclear what happened. From the information available so far, the violence last night does not appear to have been politically motivated, and early reports that the Saturday incident was politically motivated appear to be incorrect.

UPDATE x3: The weekend’s gun violence around Cal Anderson should also be considered in context of past incidents reported around the busy central park.

Webber’s memorial after the 2019 slaying

Last July, 25-year-old Rayshauna Webber was stabbed and killed in Cal Anderson in a dispute with a man who took offense to a rejection of his offer to light a cigarette. David Nichols, 50, faces charges of second-degree murder and assault in the second degree in the killing.

The murder followed a familiar pattern for the Pike/Pine entertainment district as business and community leaders asked the city to address looming summer safety concerns after a March shooting in Cal Anderson when 21-year-old Hakeem Salahud-din was gunned down next to the park’s basketball court. There have been no arrests in that killing even as SPD put out a plea for help from the public later that summer.

Other Capitol Hill hotspots for gun violence have been the parking lot above the Harvard Market shopping center at Pike and Broadway where a 24-year-old was shot to death in January 2019 and parking areas of lower Pike/Pine where nightlife crowds congregate. One notorious parking lot won’t be the scene of gun violence again — a mixed-use development now rises on the property. Meanwhile, property owners added gates to the parking area above Harvard Market in what they said was an effort made in part to cut down crime in the lot. The parking lot also is now home to a “Lot Cop” camera system.

The latest SPD report (PDF) for the city as a whole show shots fired incidents in Seattle on about the same pace as 2019 with 92 incidents reported through March — five of them fatal.

UPDATE 9:00 PM: Mayor Durkan is facing growing business pressure to solve the CHOP issues. 13th Ave leather bar The Cuff Complex announced Monday night it will be opened as it had planned for Pride and won’t reopen “until we don’t hear gunshots outside our business or read about death and shootings around our neighborhood” —

As we enter Pride week, we wanted to keep space as a community center to be able to be together and support each other. Unfortunately, that isn’t our reality today.
Until we don’t hear gunshots outside our business or read about death and shootings around our neighborhood, we will close. Until we walk out our front door and don’t see assault rifles, we will close. Until we can guarantee the safety of our staff and patrons, we will close.
We can’t responsibly ask those we consider family – our staff and guests – to visit us at this time in light of recent violence in our neighborhood. The Cuff has proudly served our queer community for over 27 years, and we are steadfast in doing so for another 20 years. We will temporarily pause operations until we can safely come together again in the community and space that we all love so much. Thank you for your support, be well.

The LGBTQ+ bar on the eastern border of the protest zone joins ice cream shop Molly Moon’s in announcing temporary closures due to the situation around the camp. Saturday morning deadly shooting happened on the sidewalk right outside the local ice cream chain’s flagship shop. There would undoubtedly be more if it weren’t for the slow reopening of many businesses under COVID-19 restrictions. In January, CHS reported on the acquisition of the Cuff by nightlife entrepreneur Joey Burgess. The owner of Pike/Pine’s Queer/Bar talked with CHS about damage the 11th Ave gay bar suffered from the police response during the protests in our story on the local business community’s efforts to support CHOP — and survive it.

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55 thoughts on “Spokesperson: Mayor’s office meeting with Capitol Hill protest camp to address ‘significant nighttime public safety concerns and issues’ — UPDATE

  1. This blog, since it began, has written about the many crimes that have happened in the exact spots as the violence that occurred over the past few days. Neighbors have bemoaned an inadequate police response to crime in and around the park for years. Many victims have lost their lives in the same area as Lorenzo. It’s manipulative how the crimes happening now are being politicized and directly linked with the protests. What a spin!

      • Incorrect. Because of COVID-19, there is a credible argument to be made that the typical episodes of violence in the area wold not have occurred at all, due to the area and park being shuttered.

      • except for the fact that it WASN’T shuttered. The area was active before the protests and during the pandemic. The park was full of people daily and people were still out at night. The ONLY difference is the bars have been closed, hence less late night alcohol induced violence from the bar crowds.

    • I mean…sure.

      I, in particular, have complained about this for years. I really wanted to take my kids there. I eventually just gave up though. Too bad for me, because there are really limited visibly queer spaces, and this took one away from my family.

      So, umm, what’s the plan, since I assume it’s not increased police response?

    • There’s been two documented instances of attempted arson, multiple assaults caught on camera, and people walking around openly carrying guns in a way never seen in this area.

      Just since Thursday, three people have been shot and someone was sexually assaulted.

      It’s quite a bit of mental gymnastics to think that there’s no correlation between all of this and the current state of affairs in the area.

      Even if you’re the most ardent supporter of the CHAZ/CHOP, you have to recognize that several bad actors are using the chaos as cover for some bad stuff.

      • Every day it continues to exist (unless it magically transforms somehow), CHOP is a gift to police and right wing news media, a blow to people actually fighting for reform, and a danger to all the houseless people invited to camp there to hold space.

        It’s sad it turned out that way, but that’s the reality of the situation right now. It doesn’t seem like the folx trying to get it focused and back on track have much sway.

        I have a few friends who are super ardent CHOP supporters, and are really mentally digging in, it’s kind of crazy to see. The rest of us, who spent lots of energy trying to defend CHOP from the ridiculous right wing news coverage are… just kind of bewildered and silent now.

      • weird how everyone’s skipping the part about how the armed people walking around (cops are not people i guess) came AFTER widespread threats were made against the protesters and AFTER the brother of an east precinct cop drove his car into the crowd of protesters with a loaded gun and extra clip taped on sitting on the passenger seat and shot a medic.

        It’s sad how bad everyone wants to tack crime onto people protesting police brutality and injustice in the world. And it’s also fucking ironic in the worst way.

    • But is it not equally manipulative to deny any connection?

      I live across the street from Cal Anderson, and this is unlike anything we’ve seen on even the craziest of Capitol Hill evenings. And regardless of whether this is directly connected, the presence of Chop is providing the cover.

      • I’m not sure how long you’ve lived there but there have been a LOT of crazy things happening at that park and area for a VERY long time. “This” is like nothing you’ve seen? That’s a really unspecific statement. What specifically does the “this” you are talking about have to do with the shootings that happened?

        What do you think the connection is?

        Were those shootings different in some way than the shooting at the bball court last year or the stabbing on the steps by the skate area? How does the protest change the circumstances of Lorenzo’s death? All three instances I mentioned were fatal and there have been more.

      • Presumably by “this”, they mean CHOP. And I agree, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen here.

        It has become a big magnet for crime. We’ve had like an entire summer’s worth of violence and crime in a week. And likely no one will be held accountable (except likely with more violence).

        If you think night after night of drunk armed people walking around here is par for the course and good for the neighborhood, I don’t know what to tell you. It’ll lead to more firefights, and likely more deaths. There is significant momentum for serious police reform in Seattle now, and CHOP risks derailing that.

        When residents fear for their lives, and businesses are shutting down, it makes it difficult to have a conversation about defunding police.

      • What makes “this” different is that CHOP claims they can do a *better* job handling these crimes than the police. And the whole world is watching and waiting to see what CHOP’s solutions to “this” will look like….and whether it should be modeled after…or dismissed.

      • Just for context, in 2018 there were 10 “shots fired” incidents in all of Capitol Hill. In 2017 there were 12.

        Already in the area immediately around CHOP we’ve had… what, 4 or 5 over the course of a few days?

        People claiming this is somehow normal for this area need to get their head out of the sand.

    • Except now, CHOP claims it can do a better job than the police on these crimes. Nothing is stopping CHOP from investigating Lorenzo’s murder and bringing his killer to CHOP justice. What better way to show the pro-cop world what an adequate, cop-less, restorative-justice response looks like?

      • I think it’s pretty clear the cops don’t give a shit about allowing armed and dangerous people to come through the neighborhood because it helps their narrative. You would think they’d be on the lookout for cars without plates, and not lie about their response if they really cared about public safety. Not to mention the repeated lies spread by Carmen Best that have attracted white supremacists to the region.

  2. IMO the pictures don’t capture what’s going on in the park: you’re not showing the tent encampment/Hooverville/shanty town/whatever you want to call it that’s surrounding the newly “installed” garden. The dozen or so vehicles parked on the grass. The low-quality graffiti on the ground and on the stones everywhere.

    As a neighborhood Capitol Hill blog, I wish y’all would take an editorial direction here that the occupiers are absolutely destroying the biggest park in the heart of the Hill.

    From the occupiers enforcing the **publicly** funded playfield to be a segregated black-only space on Friday, to the homeless people who are camping in the park threatening anyone who’d take a photo of a public park that we all pay for – this blog has not captured a lot of the illegal and unethical behavior the occupiers have engaged it, perhaps with a goal of appeasing them.

    I’d like to ask that the blog writers look at these issues with a critical eye to how the occupiers are affecting people who actually live and work in the neighborhood – the people who are and will continue to read the blog long after they all go home.

    • TOTALLY AGREE but don’t go on any local facebook groups or boards and say this because you will be called a racist and privileged. They have completely destroyed the park and the city is just watching it happen while we all foot the bill.

      • Interesting. How successful is bullying ever really? There are vastly more people who agree with the important society issues but see right through the behavior of a small group of extremists who insist on rubbing everyone’s nose in highly unconstructive and anti-social conduct.

    • Gotta comment quick before they all get deleted as on the other stories :)

      Nothing is going to change until the rains return in October, Seattle has created a magnet for drifters to camp out. If it was me I’d want beach access and better shops – say Madison Park….

    • The writers at blogs like this, just like the mayor and the City Council, don’t care about the people who have to live through this chaos. They have their political viewpoint and they’re sticking to it no matter how awful things get.

    • “I’d like to ask that the blog writers look at these issues with a critical eye to how the occupiers are affecting people who actually live and work in the neighborhood – the people who are and will continue to read the blog long after they all go home.”

      lol who do you think the “blog writers” are – visitors from California? Where did all you headcases come from that think this is some kind of outside political spin? MyNorthwest?

    • @S: Agree completely! I am losing confidence in Durkan and Best, who seem to be sitting by, doing nothing, while Cal Anderson Park and surrounding areas are being destroyed by a bunch of outlaws. This occupation never should have been allowed in the first place….it should have been nipped in the bud, as happened in Portland.

  3. Withholding any judgement as to the existence of CHOP, I fear for those occupying. It is not their fault that media outlets such as Fox (with help from SPG’s apparent spokesperson Solan) are spinning this into something it isn’t. But they are and it’s drawing a lot of negative attention. The occupants are like fish in a barrel for anyone wanting to inflict harm and make a statement.

  4. Cal Anderson park and the streets of Capitol Hill belong to all of us. A functioning democracy doesn’t let any group unilaterally seize control of public space.

    • I don’t feel my ability to use the public space has been hindered at all since the SPD abandoned the E precinct. It’s definitely a different experience, but I have absolutely NOT been hindered in accessing the public space. And I don’t feel controlled while there or passing through. And big spoiler alert: crime still happens in life, because lots of people on this planet are still hurting and hurt people hurt people. So my level of perceived safety has not changed too much and my perception of the police being here to protect me (they aren’t) hasn’t changed either.

      On the other hand, the police unilaterally seized control of several PUBLIC blocks surrounding the east precinct for a week. They prevented businesses from opening and they prevented people from being able to move freely in the street. SPD fenced off and occupied 4 city blocks. They stood with their military riot gear, surveillance teams and the national guard and terrorized everyone with tear gas and explosives for several days before suddenly packing up their toys and soldiers and leaving the sandbox.

      There are dog owners who have tried to illegally “seize” control of the fields- AKA PUBLIC SPACE for the functioning democracy- who are never met with this level of animosity. Just admit you’re a cop loving, boot licking, knee on the neck loving racist already!

      • hey phil, my “handle” was simply mocking Robert’s comment. Sorry you didn’t pick up on that but at least you got your feelings out!

  5. Durkan is horrendous and Sawant is worse. They are destroying our city with their deranged ideology. When is Seattle going to scrape together some self-respect and kick them and their pals out of power?

    • Imagine celebrating the destruction of your own district your city’s oldest and densest neighborhood. Surreal and appalling.

  6. To me the CHAZ seemed to be a very happy place through the first week. The first weekend was crazy full and like a street fair. Week two was a slow decline with a lot more yelling and trash. But nothing I saw in the days gave me the sense that the decline would be so drastic. What were other people’s impressions?

    • Even in the days before East Precinct left, it seemed clear to me walking by at night that there was already an installation and infrastructure (food, toilets, other structures) with an intention to entrench there for some time. Given the vacuum of COVID + East Precinct leaving, it seemed inevitable that opportunistic and chaotic elements would come in to fill it.

      • By the time the police tear gassed the neighborhood and it caused more people to come back the next night it was clear that there was no easy way out. But I predicted the end was going to come slowly due to trash and homelessness rather than quickly by sexual assault and repeated gun fire.

    • Are you kidding? “Nothing I saw in the days gave me the sense that the decline would be so drastic.” Are you completely unaware of human nature? Less abstractly, how did you miss what was happening in various places during Occupy Wall Street?

    • That’s my impression as well. The first week, into the first weekend, seemed relatively hopeful. Although it kind of turned into a tourist curiosity/street fair during the day, there were still speeches and education happening.

      This past week there’s been so much infighting and drama. The different ideas about the barricades. The whole no-cop coop drama. When I’ve gone through during the daytime, I’ve seen some super heated arguments between organizers. Everyone seems at each other’s throats. The energy has been totally different.

  7. I live in the neighborhood and was an ardent supporter, and I was grateful when the police, along with their flash grenades, helicopters, and tear gas, left the neighborhood and allowed protests to go on peacefully. Now, I’m so over it. Shootings, sexual assault, sprawling drug use, property damage, graffiti, people openly carrying firearms…those occupying this publicly-funded park are destroying the neighborhood. The park has turned into a dump; how much is it going to cost taxpayers to clean this up? So much for the “summer of love”. The city needs to do its job, enforce the laws, and clean up this mess before someone else gets killed.

    • This sums it up perfectly. Some people seem to think you can’t have loved CHOP at first and despise it now, but that’s exactly the case for many people.

  8. Sawant says “This is a decision for the movement to make democratically” but what about residents outside the movement and the city as a whole? Kshama, YOU have already been democratically elected to represent District 3. YOU have to work with the mayor, the city council and the chiefs of SPD/SFD. This is a representative democracy so please represent the tens of thousands of District 3 voters and do the People’s work. Nobody said governing was going to be easy, but please, please, please do something more than grandstanding…

    • She can’t. Not “won’t,” _can’t_. She is incapable of DOING anything. She only has the ability to talk about how wonderful she is and how Amazon needs to pay her.

      I find it funny that the people who recognize Trump’s narcissism seem to be clueless to Sawant’s. Or maybe they see it, and, like Trump’s supporters, feel like they can profit from it – so they encourage her, even though she costs D3 more than she benefits them.

  9. Not sure what needs to be discussed. The occupants of CHAZ/CHOP want to handle things themselves without cops, so let them. I don’t want to pay taxes for cops to bother with them, so keep them away so they can handle the rest of the city – they’re undermanned as it is. Win-Win!

    Bonus idea for even better achievement of everyone’s goals:
    Build the barriers higher and install those one-way turnstiles like there are at the stadiums and such: Once you check in, you can’t check out. Everyone’s happy!

    • At the end of it all someone is paying for clean up, businesses will go after the city for not providing basic services, people shot will go after police for no response et etc. who pays ? Your property tax $$.

  10. Many people from deep within the African American community on Capitol Hill are now speaking at the mayor’s press conference this afternoon. Will the white anarchists/Occupy minded people and other radicals at or supporting CHOP listen to them at all? Or will it be like Malcom X has said regarding white liberals?

    • So if it’s only white anarchists, why do I only see black leaders being interviewed? it either tells me that your wrong and that this isn’t all “white people” or that the black people interviewed aren’t really the leaders. Either way I find that all of these protests, occupations, and demands to erase history are tearing the country apart and creating biases That weren’t their before. Right or wrong the black community is looking bad with the devastation to cities and with the data/ arguments now being forced to the surface to refute the inaccurate claims and outrages demands. As an immigrant and an American I do not agree that wide spread racism exists. I’d like those saying so to visit a few other countries in this world. Mostly I see a group that convinced themselves they are below another group, demanding the other group to agree and “give them things” thus enforcing the idea they are below them and ultimately looking for revenge against everyone and anyone.

      • Good post and many thanks for it. CHOP seems to be a combination of some young, black radicals and many whites. Most of whom are either former Occupy people or newly minted Marxist activists. My comment about in the portion regarding whites is mainly aimed at Durkan and city leaders. The group speaking at the press conference were finally some adults in the room.

  11. “In an appearance in City Hall flanked by community leaders including Rev. Harriett Walden, activist Andre Taylor, and First African Methodist Episcopal Church pastor Carey G. Anderson but no representatives from the protest groups…”

    there were also no representatives from people who actually live in the neighborhood. It is offencive that black folks with no ties to that area are somehow given more input than people who actually live in that area but are black.

    • Yes, they should have had one or two area business owners at least. But the people they had are from deep within the black community who have been committed to that community and the CD and Capitol Hill for far more than a year or two. It was an important message to young and difficult radicals from people in the actual black community.

    • True, I would have liked to have seen a community rep from our neighborhood. As a CH resident, I felt decently represented by Louise Chernin (GSBA) who spoke on behalf of the business owners / community here in general. And while not a resident/business owner, AME Pastor Carey is also firmly in the neighborhood (church at Pine/14th since 1866) which is significant and offered their space as a place to continue conversation. The energy in the neighborhood needs to shift and I found that to be a solid part of the solution.

      What I’d love to see happen now is the neighborhood be returned to residents/businesses by this weekend and have a bunch of fellow gays come out to support the businesses. Shift the energy, take it back.

  12. What did everyone think was going to happen in a lawless “society”? It sounds like people are actually surprised by all of this. Anyone with half a brain could have seen this coming.

    Seattle is a shithole. Has been for a while…yet people keep voting for the same leaders. I wouldn’t be surprised if their is a mass exodus in the next year.

  13. I live right on the park and IMO CHOP is a symptom, not the problem, and I put the violence squarely at the feet of the SPD and Jenny Durkan. CHOP wouldn’t exist if the SPD hadn’t used violence against protesters and treated us as the enemy. It wouldn’t exist if they hadn’t decided to abandon the precinct. It wouldn’t exist if we had good leadership in this city.

    I don’t enjoy the violence either, but Carmen Best has repeatedly spread lies about the zone that have brought us the attention of white supremacists across the country. Her words have increased the risk to all protesters and residents in the neighborhood. The SPD has also spread lies about their responses to violence, which has been inadequate at best. They have continued to do this despite video evidence to the contrary of many of their statements.

    Additionally the homeless in our city have been let down time and time again. The city needs to figure out ways to keep them fed and housed and end the housing sweeps. Of course the unhoused are going to come to a place where there is food, water, medical care, mental health care, and safety from the SPD! I don’t want to see them just moved to another part of the city, I want to see their needs met so they have no reason to camp out in Cal Anderson.

    The current situation isn’t good for anyone, but the root of all of this is the SPD and Mayor Durkan, not the protesters.