After longest stretch of unhealthy air we’ve seen in recent smoke seasons, Seattle forecast calls for Saturday relief


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The “Donut” sculpture at Volunteer Park last night. Through the thick smoke, you can barely make out the Space Needle!

A post shared by Jeff Green-Compass Washington (@jeffgreenseattle) on

Though the “super massive” smoke plume that covered the Pacific Northwest withstood the last bout of weather and kept Seattle socked in, forecasters say cleaner air is finally on the way after a run of unhealthy skies unlike anything we’ve seen in recent smoke seasons.

The state’s Washington Smoke Blog says the Seattle region should see significant clearing beginning early Saturday:

Encouraging reductions at Olympic Peninsula monitors today and smaller improvements since yesterday in the Puget Sound lowlands. But strong winds off the Pacific are MIA so we have take what the lighter, shifty winds with a little rain (minions!) dish out. These minions are bringing disorganized, mixed results. Some smoke from Oregon fires are now being transported to western WA due to a wind shift, and even though a lot of that smoke is still aloft, it delays the already slow scrubbing process. Expecting Good to Moderate air in much of western WA by Saturday.

In the meantime, Seattle’s air quality measures have improved to “unhealthy” levels Thursday with hoped for start of clearing Friday bringing further improvement. Continue reading

Capitol Hill cookie creator Hello Robin debuts new U Village shop

(Image: Hello Robin via Instagram)

In this season of closures, a Capitol Hill original is finally able to celebrate a new opening. 19th Ave E-born Hello Robin has debuted its first expansion, a new cookie shop in the University Village, a plan in the works since early last summer.

The new slightly larger shop and “cookie theater” where you can watch and mingle with the bakers in action will debut under ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. Cookie fans have continued to line up along the sidewalk of the 19th Ave E original since its socially-distanced reopening. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum centers 2020 Local Sightings festival on underrepresented BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists

From Danny Denial’s CONDITIONER

By Lena Mercer

Though its home screens at 12th Ave’s Northwest Film Forum remain dark, the Local Sightings Film Festival will feature over 135 short films from the Pacific Northwest from September 18th to the 27th. The ten-day event will be fully online this year to accommodate COVID-19 pandemic gathering restrictions. In an effort to maintain affordability during the economic woes of the pandemic all festival passes and programs are available on a sliding scale.

In 2020, Local Sightings has a theme that will resonate after a summer of protests and the nearby CHOP as it “centers BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists” and examines “how film and mediamakers traditionally underrepresented in mainstream media hold perspectives which are vital to furthering the important conversations of the current moment.”

Local filmmaker Danny Denial says that kind of space is something that BIPOC and LGBTQ+ have been fighting for.

“It feels like each movement or wave such as this gets us one step closer. I love that NWFF is committing to that initiative and elevating the artists in that ‘othered’ category.” Continue reading

Scooter-share finally rolls onto Seattle streets

The first provider of pay by the minute electric scooters has launched in Seattle with the green and white scooters already part of the Capitol Hill and Central District landscape.

Lime rolled out the first in its fleet Wednesday as part of Seattle’s newly launched scooter-share pilot program. Continue reading

Standoff reported in Cal Anderson after medical call becomes crime scene — UPDATE: Murder

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

Seattle Police filled Cal Anderson Wednesday night surrounding the Seattle Public Utilities pumphouse on the west side of the area where a suspect was reportedly holed up inside the fenced-off facility after a medical response in the park transitioned to a crime scene.

Seattle Fire was called to the park around 8 PM and a female was reported undergoing CPR as police were called to the scene. SPD summoned homicide detectives to the scene.

SFD reports its crews performed life saving efforts for an approximately 30-year-old woman who was in critical condition. SPD says the victim has died and that police are conducting an investigation. The death is considered suspicious but SPD could not yet provide further information. The woman was found near the SPU pumphouse.

UPDATE 10:25 PM: SPD says the situation is a homicide investigation and there is a barricade standoff with the suspect underway in the park.

UPDATE 9/17/2020 6:30 AM: SPD reports that the suspect has been found dead inside the building he was barricaded in:

SWAT officers used a variety of tools and techniques to get the man to surrender peacefully. He refused to come out of the building. At approximately 12:30 AM, SWAT entered the building and located the man unresponsive inside at the bottom of a 10 foot tank, which contained approximately 50 gallons of 12 percent bleach solution. The man was declared deceased at the scene. Seattle Fire responded back to the scene with a HAZMAT crew to assess the scene and assist the Medical Examiner with the body recovery. The recovery was processed and documented by Crime Scene Investigators and Force Investigation Team detectives. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause and manner of death.

Police were surrounding the pumphouse in a barricade situation with a suspect they reported via East Precinct radio updates was armed with with pepper spray and a taser inside. Continue reading

‘Recall Kshama Sawant’ — Court to decide if recall against District 3 leader can move forward — UPDATE: ‘Certified for election’

The homepage of the recall campaign’s site

UPDATE 4:44 PM: The recall campaign can move forward. Judge Rogers ruled Wednesday that the charges in the case are sufficient to certify the petition on the four allegations argued in the day’s hearing and that the matter can now move forward to the election process meaning signature gathering to place a vote on the ballot.

In the decision, Rogers outlined his role as gatekeeper and noted there is evidence to support both the recall effort and Sawant’s responses to some of the alleged improprieties. “(I)n this proceeding, this Court’s role is not to weigh factual disputes over allegations,” Rogers writes, “but to examine whether, if the the allegation, taken as true, are sufficient.”

Details on the four allegations that will move forward in the recall process are below. The full response from Rogers is embedded here..

Sawant was scheduled to make a speech to supporters following the decision. According to a Sawant representative, Sawant will launch an appeal supported by the City Attorney.

Judge Jim Rogers, top right, Iglitzin, top left, and McKay, bottom during the Wednesday morning videoconference hearing

UPDATE 12:30 PM: The closure of City Hall this summer due to the COVID-19 crisis and Kshama Sawant’s appearance at a protest outside Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Northeast Seattle home could be key factors in the decision on whether the recall effort against the District 3 councilmember should move forward.

In a Wednesday morning hearing, Judge Jim Rogers heard Sawant’s legal counter arguing against certifying the recall petition against her that would clear the way for a ballot decision on her recall next year.

In his presentation to the judge, Dmitri Iglitzin of the Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt law firm representing Sawant argued the recall effort lacks “specificity” and said the issues cited are political and not legally substantial. “This is not a campaign event,” Iglitzin said.

Meanwhile, Davis Wright Tremaine lawyer John McKay representing the recall campaign said Sawant’s acts including opening a COVID-closed City Hall to protesters and participating in a protest in front of the “confidential” location of the mayor’s residence are violations worthy of the recall being sent to the ballot. Continue reading

Seattle’s Black Lives Matter group calls for ethics investigation over City Council’s Black Lives Matter efforts

(Image: CHS)

Politically bombarded in its attempt to address protest demands with the start of a process to defund the Seattle Police Department, the Seattle City Council is now facing new criticism from the Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County organization.

The situation emerges in the midst of the confusing swirl of priorities from Seattle’s response to the summer’s protests and how public officials mix and match their use of “community” when it comes to policy and politics.

Also on display is the power of Black Lives Matter as a movement and its power for the organizations like the nonprofit that first formed here in 2018 and took the BLM name as it has fought for its versions of the cause.

The nonprofit is calling for a formal ethics investigation of the council’s actions related to the protests this summer including “potential pressure exerted on City employees and members of the public,” whether the council was “informed about safety issues around those protests,” and how the council was “influenced in recent budget and policing proposals.”

Its letter (PDF) to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission calls for an immediate investigation over a dozen points including “whether members of the City Council did question African American or other people or color employed within the City of Seattle about SPD response and actions towards protesters around the East Precinct” during CHOP. Continue reading

Aloha means goodbye: Capitol Hill’s Marination Station announces permanent closure as Seattle’s catering business dries up

(Image: Marination)

Marination Station, the first foothold in what may have been Capitol Hill’s most successful blossoming of a food truck into Seattle brick and mortar street food empire, is shutting down after nearly a decade of business above Pike and Broadway.

“Our team was small and mighty as was that store,” Kamala Saxton tells CHS about the decision to permanently close the longest running fixed-place location in the Marination food and drink family.

Saxton says the Station, while known to neighbors and weekend nightlife visitors as a place for fast Hawaiian-Korean style chow, also was the company’s catering core with the busy kitchen supplying lunches for Seattle’s voracious corporate appetites. As catering opportunity has all but disappeared in the city, Saxton said it didn’t make sense to keep the Station open. Continue reading

Council to decide if City of Seattle will pay legal costs in Sawant recall fight — UPDATE: Approved

UPDATE 9/15/20 3:10 PM: The council has voted to approve the expenditure to be supervised by the City Attorney’s office:

Pursuant to RCW 4.96.041, the necessary expenses of defending Councilmember Kshama Sawant in any and all judicial hearings to determine the sufficiency of a recall charge shall be paid by The City of Seattle, including all costs associated with an appeal of the decision rendered by the Superior Court concerning the sufficiency of the recall charge. The representation of Councilmember Sawant shall be supervised by the Seattle City Attorney.

ORIGINAL REPORT: The Seattle City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday afternoon over whether the city should pay the legal bills of District 3 representative Kshama Sawant as she fights the recall effort being organized against her by a group of Capitol Hill and Central District-area residents and business owners.

The proposed ordinance would cover “the legal representation of Councilmember Kshama Sawant in judicial proceedings concerning a recall charge; paying expenses necessary to defend Councilmember Sawant in those proceedings,” according to the text of the bill posted as part of the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting. Continue reading

The White Crows, a Nerf gun, and a machete — Woman charged in 12th Ave knife attack on security guard

A woman who appeared high and in crisis has been charged in the knife attack last week on a Capitol Hill apartment building security guard that took place during a late night protest outside the concrete wall of the nearby East Precinct.

Ernanda Bendtsen, 32, has been charged with first degree assault in the slashing that sent the guard to Harborview with non-life threatening injuries. CHS reported here on the early details on the Tuesday night assault at the 12th Ave Arts building.

According to prosecutors and police, though Bendtsen made a reference to Black Lives Matter during her arrest and initially engaged with the security guard victim because she thought he was a cop, she was not part of the protest as the demonstrators threw trash over the precinct fence.

Prosecutors say Bendsten has been living on the streets, traveling the West Coast, and performing music as “The White Crows” with her boyfriend before he was arrested and charged early last month for a deadly July arson fire at the Hillside Motel on Seattle’s Aurora. Continue reading