Seattle City Council shows support for changes to allow poverty, addiction, and mental illness as defense for misdemeanor crimes — but legislation will probably have to wait

The City Council on Wednesday debated a budget proposal that would lead to making poverty, mental illness, and addiction possible defenses for people accused of misdemeanor crimes in Seattle.

The proposal from West Seattle representative Lisa Herbold would lead to the creation of new defenses allowed under the city’s code for misdemeanor crimes in an effort to keep more people out of incarceration to reduce the city’s costs utilizing the King County Jail and reduce so-called “poverty crime” in the city.

Herbold said Wednesday that the effort would give Seattle courts the authority to hear a defense with transparency about the conditions that led the defendants to the alleged crimes and would help reduce city jailing costs. Continue reading

Coming to 15th Ave E: Kobuta and Ookami Katsu and Sake House

Design renderings for the new restaurant (Image: Kobuta & Ookami Katsu and Sake House)

(Image: Kobuta and Ookami Katsu and Sake House)

A slice of Japan — in the form of traditional Japanese katsu — is on its way to Capitol Hill.

Kobuta and Ookami Katsu and Sake House is set to open this February in new construction on 15th Ave E and will feature chicken katsu, tonkatsu, cheese katsu, curry katsu and rice burger katsu along with premium sake and other liquors.

“Katsu is [a] very common meal in Japan,” owner Sue Phuksopha said. “We would love to create our place to be a casual street dining style and casual hang out spot with Japanese vibes like those restaurants in the small alley in Japan.”

Phuksopha, who has over 20 years of experience working in the food industry and owns Thai 65 Cafe in Redmond, will run the business alongside fellow food industry vet Don Tandavanitj and his family. Continue reading

No injuries reported as fire scorches 11th and John apartment building

A fire burned an apartment unit and did heavy damage to the Case Verde Apartments building at 11th and John on Capitol Hill late Wednesday night.

Seattle Fire said there were no reported injuries. Continue reading

Broadway’s Blade and Timber comes out swinging in fight over serving beer at Capitol Hill axe throwing venue

A battle from the ancient days before 2020 and the global pandemic has flared again on Capitol Hill. At the center of the fight is a question that goes to the very heart of humanity and what it means to be alive — Why shouldn’t a Seattle axe-tossing venue be allowed to serve alcohol?

Broadway’s location of the nationwide Blade and Timber chain has renewed its fight after the company says the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board indicated it will not approve the venue’s most recent application to begin serving beer and wine at the venue.

“We have a lot of research and historical data to back why beers and axe throwing does not risk the safety of our guests,” Blade and Timber managing director Jessie Poole tells CHS. “The city of Seattle expressed no concerns with our intentions, the issue is at the state level, despite the expansion of axe throwing bars across the nation.” Continue reading

Seattle marks 150 days of protest with march from Capitol Hill

“Seattle organizers are planning a protest against police brutality as clashes with cops and rioting in Minneapolis have continued in the fiery unrest following the killing of George Floyd,” CHS reported Friday, May 29th.

That May march was organized by Central District anti-police and gun violence group Not This Time and activist Andre Taylor. But by the end of the night as thousands moved through the streets of the city and across Capitol Hill, it was clear that something larger was taking place.

150 day later, organizers of the groups that have formed and galvanized in the months since that first night of protest in Seattle gathered smaller crowds Monday night in Cal Anderson Park. Still measuring in the hundreds, the demonstrators heard organizers plead for those who showed up to mark the milestone and recommit to bolster the ongoing demonstrations and Black Lives Matter cause. Some expressed surprise at the large turnout as smaller groups have been continuing to protest, march, and sometimes take direct action with property damage and vandalism in the weeks since the larger citywide protests have ended.

A CHS timeline of the “150 days” is below. Continue reading

Seattle will spend $2M through end of 2020 on team to provide homelessness outreach services — without police

(Image: CHS)

The Seattle City Council Monday voted 7 to 1 to spend more than $2 million through the end of 2020 on a homelessness outreach effort to replace the scuttled Navigation Team program.

The spending will fund an eight person team providing behavioral health services, case management, and assistance to help campers and those living outside find shelter — housing navigation services. But it won’t include police.

“There were folks in public comment who were stating their frustration about the city, having been bogged down and really important disagreements about the future direction of what our homelessness response is going to look like,” Andrew Lewis, chair of the council’s committee on homelessness and the bill’s sponsor said about the vote. “And this is the first step to all of us realizing our common interest in this and moving forward in a way that can hopefully finally bridge the divide and get people to the really critical resources that they need and that this council has appropriated money to address.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Lowell Elementary joins network of school clinics working to keep families healthy

The school-based health center at Rainier Beach High School (Image: Public Health)

With reporting by Jake Goldstein-Street

Though Seattle’s public schools will continue to focus on online education through at least January, many campuses are open to provide in-person health-care services. Thanks to a new partnership, two new school health centers are opening this fall in the Central District and on Capitol Hill.

The Seattle School Board approved $315,000 in funding earlier this month for a new school-based health center at Lowell Elementary in Capitol Hill aimed at providing quality care to the school’s population that is disproportionately made up of homeless and low-income students.

The project, a partnership between the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic and Country Doctor Community Health Center, with a total cost of about $615,000, is also being funded through a $300,000 “Distressed Schools Grant” from the state awarded earlier this year.

The money is being tapped from a nearly $700 million capital levy passed by over 70% of Seattle voters in 2013.

“I just want to say how excited I am to finally see this come forward, we’ve certainly been talking about it in community for a long time,” board President Zachary DeWolf, whose district includes the school, said about the plan as it was brought before the board last month. Continue reading

Hawaiian and Filipino BBQ, cocktails, and a probable goodbye to Cal Anderson — Cure expands with Remedium Island Grill at 15th and Pine

(Image: Remedium Island Grill)

An opportunity for expansion in a big, new space only blocks away on Capitol Hill will be a welcome change for Nagle Place cocktail and charcuterie bar Cure after a year of tear gas around Cal Anderson Park and business survival amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on bars.

Now at 15th and Pine, the brothers behind Cure have opened Remedium Island Grill, a Hawaiian and Filipino BBQ taking over the space formerly home to upscale Japanese joint Naka Adana. Cure will put the upper bar space into motion as a new home as it likely says goodbye to Nagle and Cal Anderson Park.

“Since March 15th and Inslee’s bar closure mandate – to the scattered phases, tear gas at Cal Anderson, the creation of CHOP and more, we’ve been pulling through as a family and small business as best we can,” owners Sean and Joe Sheffer say in their announcement.

Adana, from chef/owner Shota Nakajima, closed in March as the early waves of the pandemic slowdown hit the food and drink industry. Continue reading

Business and community group letter: ‘Spiraling public health and public safety crisis’ in Cal Anderson and Seattle’s parks

Cal Anderson still closed

A group led by the Downtown Seattle Association and including representatives from business and community groups across the city has joined the call for repairing Cal Anderson and a roster of Seattle public parks they say are “experiencing a spiraling public health and public safety crisis.”

In a letter sent to Mayor Jenny Durkan and city officials and shared with media Monday, the DSA and the roster of groups including the Alliance for Pioneer Square, Visit Seattle, and the West Seattle Junction Association joined with Hill-area organizations Seattle Central College, Freeway Park Association, and the 15th Ave E Merchants in calling for the creation of an “interagency team” and “an immediate action plan” to address disrepair and encampments in the parks. Continue reading

Latest batch of Office of Police Accountability findings includes dismissed East Precinct biased policing complaint

The process continues to play out for the Office of Police Accountability to make its way through thousands of complaints against the Seattle Police Department after months of protests and demonstrations in the city. The OPA last week released a second batch of decisions in protest-related cases including findings of police misconduct. The findings also illustrate the value of body worn video in monitoring police conduct.

Seattle City Council Insight examined the latest reports including one sustained finding that officer use of force in a June 7th protest was “reasonable and necessary, but it was not proportional given that the demonstrator was not physically resisting and was not a physical threat.” Continue reading