While Seattle joined the nation in a subdued but joyous celebration of Inauguration Day, a few people on our Capitol Hill exorcised some Trumpian demons with a small ceremonial bonfire at 11th and Pike. Continue reading →
Supervised drug consumption sites have been a bone of contention in the city for years, but could Seattle see progress this year?
The Seattle City Council included in its 2021 budget $1.12 million specifically for health services for drug users after approving funding earmarked for facilities meant to give space to use opioids or other drugs with medical supervision multiple times in recent years, but that was never spent.
Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the council’s Public Safety & Human Services Committee, noted that while the council can allocate these funds, it has no power to spend them, a power reserved for the mayor.
“This is really in the hands of the mayor’s office right now,” Herbold told CHS earlier this month. Herbold said she has been involved in conversations with Mayor Jenny Durkan on consumption sites — most recently in December — but Durkan has not made commitments to move forward. At the same time, Durkan has not expressed she wants to reallocate this money against the council’s wishes, so Herbold “remain[s] optimistic.”
Kelsey Nyland, a spokesperson for the mayor, said that the mayor’s office and representatives from the city’s Human Services Department planned to meet with Public Health — Seattle & King County.
“HSD will continue to work with Public Health – Seattle & King County to implement a proposal to expand access to drug treatment and increased services for people experiencing substance use disorders,” Nyland said in an email. She did not have specifics yet on what this might look like, saying that would likely come out of the meeting.
City Councilmember Kshama Sawant says City Hall says a series of threatening emails targeting her from a Seattle Fire Department account needs to be taken more seriously.
In an announcement coinciding with Inauguration Day festivities for President Joe Biden, Sawant criticized city officials for failing to act on the series of emails that began in December. Continue reading →
In a time for new beginnings, a longtime neighborhood retailer is bringing change to a Pike/Pine store space in need of a fresh start.
Throwbacks Northwest, the E Pike vintage shop that has kept the neighborhood in vintage fashion and sports gear for more than a decade, is moving into the Pike/Pine core taking over an empty retail space on 11th Ave at E Pike.
Rialto “Rio” Estolas tells CHS the move gives Throwbacks a larger space more solidly in the middle of the Pike/Pine scene that will put the vintage shop just across the street from legendary Capitol Hill skateshop35th North.
Meanwhile, just around the corner the former No Parking shop is lined up to become a Big Little News, a new era newsstand with a bottleshop and newspapers and periodicals.
The move and the new space on 11th Ave gives Throwbacks the platform it needs for some changes in its brand and an expansion of offerings including vintage goods like denim and tees.
The move is also a much needed new chapter for the retail space that has stood empty since fashion shop Rove was busted into and trashed during the summer’s unrest and protests.
“Every day we had a line out the door,” says Makoto Kimoto, owner of Broadway’s Rondo, as he described the first couple of months of regular business in 2020.
Now, a year later, the lines have changed. Delivery drivers line up to pick up to-go orders instead of customers waiting to dine in.
The restaurant opened last January as a Broadway “daytime” counterpart in the Suika Capitol Hill restaurant family has instead become the center of Kimoto’s efforts in the neighborhood as restaurants and bars do what they can to keep employees and patrons safe while trying to outlast months of COVID-19 restrictions.
A year after its debut, Rondo still has a patio, and you can still sit down and eat and drink there, but the indoor tables are now mostly used to prepare to-go orders. Kimoto tells CHS that he “can’t complain, because everyone is experiencing the same issues” but notes his sales have dropped but take out “doesn’t compare”. Like most restaurants, alcohol sales are a primary contributor to profit, and although Rondo sells to-go drinks, they can’t compete with people drinking while eating at the restaurant.
“I’m not depending on alcohol sales right now” Kimoto says, “We’re concentrating on making customers happy.”
With news that new estimates show light rail to Ballard and West Seattle will cost billions more than expected, Sound Transit will hold a public workshop this week to bring its board of directors up to date on the cost challenges:
The Sound Transit Board of Directors will convene a workshop on Jan. 21 as part of work toward planned July decisions on long-range capital program adjustments in response to revenue impacts and cost pressures. The 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. workshop will take place as a videoconference due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions and can be watched at the below link. Information on the realignment process and the revenue and cost challenges is available at soundtransit.org
“Sound Transit is facing an unprecedented and extremely challenging financial environment caused by two major, simultaneous factors: (1) a pandemic-driven recession that has severely reduced consumer spending and government agency tax revenues; and (2) unrelenting pressures in the real estate and construction sectors of the economy that are continuing to drive costs to levels significantly beyond those foreseen in our plans,” the agency’s “Realignment Overview” reads.
“With greatly depleted revenues and higher construction costs, Sound Transit will not be able to deliver many expansion projects on their original timelines unless we receive alternative revenue from federal or state sources,” the overview says. Continue reading →
Twelve years ago, Capitol Hill marked the inauguration of Barack Obama with a celebration of change and bars and cafes open early to show the ceremonies. They wheeled a huge, heavy, 2000s-era TV into Victrola and Cafe Presse was so packed some had to listen to the proceedings outside on a portable boombox, while Central Cinema put it on the big screen.
In 2017, we chose another route for marking the inauguration as tens of thousands slowly stretched out through the streets from the Central District to the Seattle Center in the city’s firstWomen’s March. Continue reading →
A Capitol Hill, Seattle man captured on video wearing paramilitary style clothing, carrying an “assault type rifle,” and threatening media — and other pro-Trump rioters — during an attempt to enter the Washington governor’s residence the same day as the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol in D.C. earlier this month has been arrested on the eve of Inauguration Day and faces charges for threats and assaults against reporters during the day’s unrest.
The Washington State Patrol says Damon Huseman, 26, hit at least two members of media with bear spray and threatened to kill a third “within the next year” during his day of rage January 6th on the state’s Capitol campus grounds.
Huseman has been the subject of social media efforts attempting to identify people captured on video during the deadly D.C. actions and the attempted assault on Gov. Jay Inslee’s Olympia residence.
The Summit Ave resident faces charges of two counts of second degree assault for the alleged bear spray attacks and one count of felony harassment.
Charges were filed January 11th and a warrant was issued for his arrest but Huseman wasn’t taken into custody until Tuesday afternoon and was to be booked into jail in Thurston County.
It’s not clear what Huseman’s whereabouts were in the week and a half since the charges were filed and the warrant was issued.
According to the State Patrol report on the January 6th incident, Huseman threatened one media member as she struggled to keep him from taking her phone, telling the state government reporter and the crowd of media he was going to “shoot them dead” within the coming year. Continue reading →
Seattle’s MLK Day 2021 celebrations Monday were a reflection of the times with marchers stepping off from the Central District socially spaced and masked and a protest effort that branched off and brought traffic to a stop on I-5 generating headlines across the country.
“BLM protesters arrested, cited with blocking Seattle freeway on MLK Day,” Fox News reported, wringing its hands with concern over “the acronym for Black Lives Matter” being painted across the traffic-snarled freeway.
There were 12 people arrested and at least two cars impounded, the Washington State Patrol reported. UPDATE: None of the dozen were booked into jail, the WSP tells CHS. The King County Jail refused the bookings, according to a state trooper spokesperson. We have not yet confirmed why they were not accepted. UPDATE x2: The refusals fall under current restrictions to reduce the number of people being held at the King County Jail during the ongoing pandemic.
Thousands more marched from 23rd Ave’s Garfield High to downtown in the city’s annual showing in respect to the slain civil rights leader. Continue reading →
Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Seattle University (Image: Swedish)
Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday an effort to speed the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine across Washington that includes lowering the current threshold for those eligible to people 65 years old and up. There will also be a major new push from Washington’s department of health to coordinate statewide vaccinations — especially in a “high throughput” core across Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties.
The changes come amid hope of a nationwide acceleration with the National Guard and FEMA deploying across the country to establish clinics. The federal government says it has distributed more than 31 million doses of vaccine around the country but so far only about 12 million doses have been administered. The Biden administration will also invoke the Defense Production Act to “maximize the manufacture of vaccine and vaccine supplies for the country.”
Washington’s vaccinations have reached around 201,000 people — around 41% of the prioritized population in the state’s first tiers focused on health system workers and high-risk seniors — but far fewer than had been planned by this point and a pace that officials said must be ramped up given worries of increasing spread of COVID-19 and variants.
The state’s new goal is to reach 45,000 people a day — nearly twice as many as are being vaccinated against the virus now.