Another night of anti-police protest on Capitol Hill ends in ‘crowd control’ pepper bomb explosions, arrests

(Image: Matt Mitgang with permission to CHS)

Late Thursday night, the Seattle Police Department rolled into groups of protesters after demonstrators set fire to a roadblock ring of debris and trash blocking the 12th and Pine intersection in front of the department’s East Precinct. Live streams, protesters, and residents reported several arrests including at least one journalist.

Pepper bomb explosions echoed across Capitol Hill again like clockwork.

A second more aggressive volley of police crowd control explosives banged through the night beginning just after midnight as witnesses said police were responding to property damage to buildings in the area including busted windows at store and restaurant fronts near 12th and Pine. The property damage was not limited to anti-police protesters. The owner of a nearby brewery reported a police explosive’s blast heavily damaged the patio of the business as SPD pushed demonstrators north on 12th Ave and then pursued them into Cal Anderson.

SPD deployed such a volume of munitions that shrapnel could be seen littering 12th Ave after the melee as police locked down the perimeter around the precinct and at least one wholly intact bomb was found in the midst of the litter. Continue reading

Seattle Parks surveys thoughts on new community garden and ‘conversation circle’ in Cal Anderson

The process to add new features and resources to Cal Anderson continues with new community meetings coming in October and a new survey about your use of the park and your thoughts on “community initiatives that emerged during the CHOP/CHAZ.”

CHS reported earlier this month on the ongoing Seattle Parks community process to shape the upgrades and changes at Cal Anderson that city officials say can incorporate the ongoing need for human services and resources for the homeless community around the park.

As officials prepare for the last in a series of three community meeting sessions scheduled for next month, a new survey is collecting feedback on how people have used the park and how safe they feel there now and in the past.

The survey also “investigates the existing community initiatives that emerged during the CHOP/CHAZ.” — a community garden and a listening circle. Continue reading

A celebration of the ‘everyday apple,’ rapidly growing Locust Cider opens First Hill taproom

(Image: Locust Cider)

A new taproom on First Hill is the latest outpost for rapidly growing Woodinville-based Locust Cider.

The 16-tap cider bar and flatbread pizza joint opened earlier this month in new construction at Terry and Jefferson near Harborview.

Started by brothers Jason and Patrick Spears as a small cider brewery five years ago, the company has grown through partnerships with other cider makers and brewers and ramped up the new, larger Locust Cider in Woodinville in 2019. It has also added production facilities in Forth Worth, Texas and Boulder, Colorado while adding new taproom locations across Seattle on Alki, in Ballard, and both inside Pike Place Market and along Post Alley. The rapidly expanding Locust also has opened locations across the state in Tacoma, Spokane, Walla Walla, and Vancouver.

The secret to its Washington success? The everyday apple: Continue reading

Rage and frustration bring marches in Seattle and clash with police on Capitol Hill over Breonna Taylor injustice — UPDATE

(Image: Matt Mitgang via Twitter)

Rage and frustration over injustice in the police killing of Breonna Taylor brought hundreds into the streets of Seattle overnight in a wave of protests across the country.

In Seattle, the night included a vigil for Taylor on the steps of the city’s federal courthouse, marching, and a clash with police near Capitol Hill’s East Precinct that eventually ended in the declaration of an “unlawful assembly” and clouds of pepper bomb explosions, blaring sirens, and rubber bullets.

Seattle Police and activist organizers report at least 13 were arrested and several people were injured including officers and demonstrators, some posting pictures online of their injuries from the hard foam rounds fired by police to disperse crowds late in the night.

Earlier Wednesday, a vigil brought speakers and lit candles on a rainy, blustery night to the steps of Seattle’s federal courthouse after a grand jury in Kentucky declined to file homicide charges in the March 2020 killing of the 26-year-old Black woman.

On Capitol Hill as the vigil continued, groups of two to three hundred formed and marched, beginning a now familiar pattern of back and forth, slow motion pursuit with police vehicles blaring sirens and flashing lights to try to break up the marching crowds. Continue reading

Seattle ready to set minimum wage for Uber, Lyft drivers

A Seattle City Council committee Thursday is preparing to move legislation forward championed by Mayor Jenny Durkan that would set a minimum wage for drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft.

The “TNC Driver Minimum Compensation Ordinance” would set “Minimum compensation standards and other labor protections for Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers” starting January 1st.

The legislation could set a minimum wage as well as include “tip protection” ensuring gratuity is passed on to drivers. It is also being lined up to regulate use of personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies in the vehicles, and require companies like Uber to be transparent in their pricing. Money will also be earmarked for a study of the minimum wage and the companies’ presence in the city. Continue reading

Remember Lisa Vach

Lisa Vach (Image courtesy Sirena Ross)

She was kind, and funny, and an artist.

Lisa Vach died in Cal Anderson Park a week ago tonight, murdered by a man her life had become intertwined with. She was 38.

Remember Lisa Vach, please, friend and colleague Sirena Ross asks.

“She was extremely charming. One of those people who made you feel very at home as soon as you met her,” Ross tells CHS.

She and Vach met working together for Pioneer Square tourist institution Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour. There, Vach ran the gift shop. Ross said Vach put her creativity and energy into overhauling the shop. That kind of energy to create also showed in another job Vach held down doing housekeeping for the bed and breakfast above the Merchant Cafe where she went beyond cleaning the rooms and took on redecorating the place.

Vach was also a fighter with a strong sense of justice who once confronted another employee over his abuse of a homeless woman, Ross said.

It is difficult to connect that life to the one that ended last Wednesday in Cal Anderson. CHS reported here on the domestic violence murder-suicide in which Vach was found assaulted. choked, and dying in the park and the police standoff with suspect Travis Berge ended with him dead inside the park’s reservoir pumphouse. Continue reading

Override: Seattle City Council overcomes mayor’s veto of 2020 cuts to police budget — UPDATE

Note: Councilmember Juarez did not appear via video and spoke only during votes in Tuesday’s session

The Seattle City Council voted Tuesday to override Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of a 2020 budget rebalancing package that marked the immediate start of funding reductions for the police department with cuts of the salaries of 100 officers and the elimination of the Navigation Team that clears homeless encampments.

Going into the meeting, the council appeared likely to instead pass what it considered a compromise with the mayor’s office that scaled back the already modest reductions in the initial measure that council members had called a “down payment” on the way to deeper cuts to police funding. The move came as large-scale demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality dominated conversation in the city. Protest leaders have called for an at least 50% cut to the Seattle Police Department budget, which totaled $409 million in 2020. Seven of the nine council members indicated support for such a reduction.

While council members Kshama Sawant, Teresa Mosqueda, Andrew Lewis, Dan Strauss, Lisa Herbold, and Tammy Morales as well as Council President Lorena González voted to override the mayor’s veto, council members Debora Juarez and Alex Pedersen voted to sustain it.

Sawant was the only member to vote against the original bill in August, calling it an “austerity budget” and Juarez was absent.

Seven votes were needed to overcome the mayor’s vetoes.

“When I look back in this moment in time, I want to be able to tell my daughter, who I am currently holding in my arms, that I did the right thing and that I voted on the right side of history,” González said. “My vote today to override the mayor’s veto is one action to move our city toward a more just society.”

UPDATE: “At the end of the day, after previous promises of a 50 percent cut to SPD, the reductions to the SPD budget are almost exactly those proposed by the Mayor and former Chief Best, but none of the other issues Council admitted are problems have been addressed,” Kelsey Nyland, spokesperson for Durkan’s office, said in a statement after the vote. “For weeks, the Mayor has worked with Council and offered solutions in an attempt to find common ground. The Mayor thought they had built that consensus on many issues in the compromise legislation introduced yesterday. While councilmembers have publicly stated they wanted to work with Mayor Durkan to address issues in the 2020 budget, they chose a different path.”

Continue reading

OK, now The Redwood really is dead and gone forever from Capitol Hill

(Image: CHS)

You can finally give up on those rebirth of The Redwood hopes. Nearly two years after the never say die dive bar was finally demolished and erased from Capitol Hill, a permit just issued from the City of Seattle all but guarantees a new boozy offshoot will not rise from  the corner of Howell and Belmont

Developer Blueprint Capital has been approved for a change of plans to eliminate the mixed element of its seven-story mixed-use development rising at the corner. The new permit allows Blueprint to transition its plans for a ground floor food and drink space in the project to become two “live/work” units. Continue reading

Thursday’s Dining Out for Life 2020 will help Lifelong — but this year, the restaurants need help, too

Capitol Hill’s Plenty of Clouds has helped Dining Out for Life. This year, Dining Out for Life can help Plenty of Clouds (Image: Lifelong)

A restaurant tradition returns to Seattle and cities across the country this week as the annual Lifelong fundraiser Dining Out For Life takes place Thursday. But in a year like this one, the restaurants and bars that normally support the nonprofit also could use a hand.

Lifelong is asking for those who want to help to make a donation directly to the nonprofit and still order delivery or takeout from the neighborhood restaurants that have supported it with DOFL donations over the years: Continue reading

Override or compromise? Seattle City Council holds special meeting to respond to mayor’s #defundSPD veto

The Seattle City Council will take a swing Tuesday in the ongoing fight to redirect spending on policing to community programs and social services in the city by either overriding Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of its defunding legislation passed in August — or forging a compromise bill that will preserve only a few key #defundSPD planks. Either way, the step will make any road to changing the Seattle Police Department a longer journey.

The council has scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday afternoon starting at 3 PM to vote on the possible override of the mayoral veto of the council’s rebalanced 2020 budget package. To get there under the rules of budgetary legislation, that will mean seven of the nine council members will need to vote to override.

Council president Lorena González will lead the charge saying Monday she intends to vote to override the mayor’s vetoes but also acknowledging the compromise package waiting in the wings.

“We may not always agree or win every battle, but I believe many of us share the same vision of collective liberation that is (and will be) on the right side of history,” González said. “The work to divest from a broken model of policing will be a long road, and it will be full of challenges.”

Monday, community groups called for the council to side together to override Durkan and support the original cuts. Continue reading