Central District’s ‘Soul Pole’ to be taken down and, hopefully, restored

(Image: City of Seattle)

Another landmark of public art is set for work officials hope will help to keep it part of its neighborhood. The Soul Pole, a 21-foot wooden sculpture that has stood outside the Central District’s Douglass-Truth Branch of the Seattle Public Library for nearly 50 years, must come down for work to figure out how best to save the creation:

The 21-foot wooden sculpture, gifted to the Library in 1972 by the Seattle Rotary Boys Club, was carved by six young community artists in the late 1960s to honor 400 years of African American history and the struggle for justice in the United States. The Library will work with Artech Fine Art Services, an organization with extensive experience in the restoration and preservation of artwork, to deinstall the piece and transport it to an art storage facility, where an extensive assessment will be performed.

The library is also trying to learn more about the creation of the 23rd at Yesler pole: Continue reading

Midnight I-5 crash leaves semi dangling over Colonnade Park

A late night crash on I-5 echoed across lower Capitol Hill with the sound of screeching metal as a semi truck and trailer was left dangling above Eastlake’s Colonnade Park between the northbound and southbound decks of the freeway early Thursday morning. Continue reading

Hurray for the PPP! Here’s a look at which Capitol Hill area restaurants, breweries, bars, design firms, and schools took federal loans to survive the COVID-19 crisis

As Capitol Hill restaurants have stretched into the streets, many have also joined companies across the area to reach out for the federal PPP (Image: Oddfellows)

By Ben Adlin

Oddfellows has watched one hell of a year unfold from its historic building at 10th and Pine. After a record 2019, the pandemic brought an abrupt shutdown in March followed by a takeout-only reopening in May. After the police killing of George Floyd, Seattle’s ensuing Black Lives Matter protests — and the rise and fall of CHOP– unfolded more or less outside the cafe’s door.

Blocks away, at Broadway and Union, Optimism Brewing Company saw sales plummet 75% during the first year of the pandemic, said co-founder Gay Gilmore. “The good news is that things are looking up,” she told CHS: February’s revenue was only about 60% lower than the year before. The company doesn’t anticipate breaking even again until the end of the year.

Both businesses credit their survival, or at least the bulk of it, to loans received through the federal government’s $953 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), meant to help businesses and other organizations continue to pay their workers during the pandemic.

For Oddfellows, “It made all the difference in the world,” said Adam Szafranski, brand manager for the cafe’s parent company. “We would not have been able to stay open without it.”

Very Oddfellows LLC was approved for more than $1.1 million in total PPP loans over the past year, according to public data. “There were a few grants we applied for that were offered by the city and different organizations,” Szafranski said, “but the amounts were minimal compared to the PPP.”

Optimism Brewing LLC, meanwhile, was approved for two loans totaling about $418,000. “Even if you count the PPP Loans as income, we are still down by 40% over the last year,” Gilmore said in an email. “We continue to operate at a loss every month, but if it wasn’t for the PPP we wouldn’t be able to pay our staff and we would most likely be closed.”

All told, the federal government approved more than $284 million to businesses based in Capitol Hill or adjacent neighborhoods from April 2020 through the end of February 2021, according to a database of approved PPP loans published by ProPublica. That amount comprises more than 2,600 loans made across three zip codes—98102, 98112, and 98122—that encompass Capitol Hill and its surroundings, stretching from Eastlake to Mt. Baker.

Heavy Restaurant Group, which operates six area restaurants, including Barrio on Capitol Hill, was approved for more total PPP loan money than any other recipient, at more than $6.9 million between two loans. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Among the sectors most heavily represented on the list were restaurants and bars, schools, and professional services such as architecture, design, and software programming. A few local property management companies also made the list.

Thanks to the ProPublica PPP database, here’s a roster of the top recipients in the Capitol Hill and Central District area and a look at some of the stories behind the loans. Continue reading

With firefighters and social workers, not cops, Seattle expands Health One to respond to homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues

(Image: City of Seattle)

After more than a year providing aid for homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues across downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill, Seattle Fire’s Health One is adding a second unit to expand its reach across new parts of the city.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and SFD Chief Harold Scoggins announced the expansion of the innovative program Tuesday.

“Seattle has pioneered community safety initiatives like Health One. As we continue to reimagine public safety, we will expand civilian public safety alternatives like Health One that sends a firefighter and social worker to a 9-1-1 call,” Durkan said. Continue reading

The Capitol Hill Farmers Market is moving to Capitol Hill Station — Here’s what it will look like

(Image: CHS)

Sunday, the Capitol Hill Farmers Market will realize community hopes more than a decade in the making as it moves to its new home in the middle of the Capitol Hill Station plaza and along the E Barbara Bailey Way “festival street.”

Here’s how it will look with the new layout including E Denny/Barbara Bailey closed to cars during the market every Sunday, vendors lined up along the street, and a cluster of more vendor tents and tables inside the plaza. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s U District connection: Sound Transit announces October opening for 4.3-mile Northgate light rail expansion

The U District Station under construction in 2020 (Image: Sound Transit)

Sound Transit has announced an opening date for its Northgate Link light rail expansion that will open up the great northlands of Seattle including the University District, Roosevelt, and Northgate to riders from Capitol Hill Station and beyond:

Today, we are officially announcing the opening date for passenger service on Northgate Link. Mark your calendars for October 2 and get ready to ride! The 4.3 mile light rail extension has three stations: two underground serving the U District and Roosevelt neighborhoods, and one elevated station at Northgate. The opening will coincide with service changes on ST Express, King County Metro Transit and Community Transit bus routes that will be modified to allow riders to connect with congestion-free Link service. Voters approved the Northgate Link extension in 2008 as part of the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure. Construction on the project began in 2012 following six years of planning. Twin boring machines began tunneling in 2014, completing the 3.5-mile twin tunnels in 2016.

Continue reading

Seattle Fire fights apartment blaze in new development above Capitol Hill Station

Seattle Fire responded Sunday afternoon to an apartment fire in the newly opened mixed-use developments above Capitol Hill Station.

There were no reported injuries.

The fire reported just before 12:30 PM at the address of the development’s Ander South building adjacent Cal Anderson Park scorched a second floor unit in the project and filled the building with smoke, according to Seattle Fire updates. Continue reading

This week in CHS history | COVID-19: Restrictions extended, grocery store changes, 2018: 30 years of Vivace, 2011: Block Party adds third day

Here are the top stories from this week in CHS history:



Washington extends COVID-19 restrictions another month

More COVID-19 tweaks to Capitol Hill grocery shopping: lines to get in, one-way aisles, U-Scan bottlenecks, and $2/hour ‘hero’ pay

Continue reading

SDOT: E Union will finally get its protected bike lanes this month

(Image: 2020 Cycle)

The Central District’s 2020 Cycle is surely geared up for the occasion. Construction is set to begin for the remarkably speedy installation of new protected bike lanes running by the shop serving E Union between Capitol Hill and MLK.

Here is the latest from the Seattle Department of Transportation on the project:

We’re scheduled to construct the E Union St Protected Bike Lane on the weekend of April 24 – 25*! Our crews will begin site preparation work as soon as April 19. We will be installing a protected bike lane on both sides of E Union St between 14th Ave and 26th Ave and an uphill protected bike lane with downhill sharrow (permanent marking on the road to indicate shared lane between vehicles and bicycles) between 26th Ave and MLK Jr Way.

SDOT has distributed a construction notification, embedded below, in the area around the route. Continue reading

CHS photographer honored for rendering aid — and getting the picture — in 11th and Pine protest shooting

Photographer Alex Garland chats with Daniel Gregory at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in January (Image courtesy: Michael Barkin)

Seattle photographer Alex Garland has added a lot to CHS news coverage of Capitol Hill over the years. Last summer, Garland, as usual, found himself in the middle of an important neighborhood news story and, as usual, he got the picture.

But as gunfire rang out in a crowd of hundreds of people and dozens of police and National Guard troops in a June protest at 11th and Pine, Garland’s role became much more than photojournalist as he moved to quickly render aid to Dan Gregory, an unarmed Black Lives Matter protester shot as he tried to disarm Nikolas Fernandez, the brother of an East Precinct officer, after Fernandez drove into a demonstration crowd at 11th and Pine.

This week, the National Press Photographers Association recognized Garland with its Humanitarian Award as part of its 2020 honors:

On June 7, 2020, Garland, a freelance photographer, reporter and writer, was photographing a protest against police brutality and racism in Seattle. Garland was closeby when Dan Gregory was shot in the arm as he attempted to stop the driver of a vehicle that appeared to be heading towards a throng of protesters.

“I care deeply about documenting the moment, but ultimately I see myself as a community member as much as a journalist,” Garland writes about the moment at 11th and Pine when he decided he needed to put aside his camera and act. Continue reading