About jseattle

Justin is publisher of CHS. You can reach him at chs@capitolhillseattle.com or call/txt (206) 399-5959. Follow @jseattle on Twitter or be best pals on Facebook.

How is COVID-19 spreading in Seattle? Households, workplaces, and gatherings most likely for exposure

Customers stand in a socially distanced line wrapping around the block Thursday to pick up their vegan Thanksgiving orders from 12th Ave’s Plum (Image: CHS)

With officials fearing new momentum in the fall wave of COVID-19 from Thanksgiving gatherings, Public Health has provided the clearest information yet in this “third phase” of the pandemic about how King County and Seattle residents are becoming sick. The answers won’t allay Thanksgiving and holiday fears — and they won’t be easy to address under current restrictrictions and mandates.

In a new report released before the holiday weekend, county health officials said contact tracing shows that most people becoming infected by the virus here since late September are being exposed within their own household. How it is being introduced into the household is a larger, more complicated answer. Officials Wednesday said they don’t have a clear view of how “household” exposures are starting because people are reporting a wide range of contact environments, and often report multiple possible exposures. Contact tracing here has also been complicated by those becoming ill either intentionally or unintentionally providing incomplete tracing information. Continue reading

Happy 80th birthday to Bruce Lee, Capitol Hill’s most legendary eternal resident

(Image: CHS)

Martial arts legend Bruce Lee rests today atop Capitol HIll in Lake View Cemetery. Friday would have been his 80th birthday.

CHS visited the site earlier this week. Resting next to the grave of his son Brandon Lee, Bruce’s headstone was covered as usual with its mix of flowers and coins. The grave sites atop a hill with an eastern view are a popular place to visit to pay respect to the masters.

Hours at Lake View are currently limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The non-profit managed facility is also undertaking a small construction project around the graves. We checked in with the management about the project multiple times but Lake View’s office never got back to us. The organization has faced a challenging year with the ongoing pandemic and controversy surrounding the removal of a Confederate monument from the cemetery.

The construction fencing, meanwhile, will serve as an unfortunate background on what will likely be a busy weekend for visitors. Continue reading

Whulshootseed — crossing over in Cal Anderson Park

The memorial totem pole for John T. Williams carved by his brother and family and raised at Seattle Center in 2012 (Image: City of Seattle)

“Woods thronged with Indians” — the USS Decatur’s map of Seattle

A recent essay on the ongoing demonstrations in Seattle and the summer of the Capitol Hill occupied protest attempted to frame the activism as microcosm of the upheaval seen this year across the county. It’s a good read:

It was a raw experience felt physically by those who attended the CHOP. This complicated blend of hope and despair, and the busy organizing that went into managing each, ended after shots rang out in the night, two were killed, and the SPD swept the protesters out.

But the essay also strings the physical core of Seattle’s protests — Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park — to a history of oppression and conquest: Continue reading

Driver busted for DUI in five-car E Pike collision

(Image: SPD)

Police say a driver was busted for DUI and taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries in an incident Tuesday night that left cars scattered across the street and sidewalk along E Pike at Bellevue.

SPD and Seattle Fire were called to the scene of multiple crashed vehicles just before 8:30 PM and found one of the smashed up cars on the sidewalk resting against the wall of the First Covenant Church. Cars including a silver Subaru SUV were scattered across the area but other occupants reported only minor injuries, police said. There were no reported injuries to pedestrians or bikers in the busy area. Continue reading

Is the Capitol Hill protest season over?

With reporting by Renee Raketty

The marches, rallies, and actions have once again shifted and there have been more nights than not lately with quiet streets around Capitol Hill’s walled-off East Precinct. Some might think Seattle protest season has ended just as the drizzle season has arrived.

“The protest community is feeling the strain of almost 180 days of continuous action. Increasing COVID numbers, a change in Seattle police tactics, factionalization, and the logical progression of a protest into political activity have reduced daily turnout,” David Obelcz, a frequent protest live streamer and publisher of Malcontentment.com said. “It is worth noting the 150-day march and the November 4 march had more than 1,000 people. Anyone who is pouring one out for Black Lives Matter in Seattle is doing so prematurely.”

But the night of the 150-day march did seem to mark a turning point. In the weeks since, demonstrations have been spread out across the city including the International District, Northgate, and West Seattle, plus a tangle with some Proud Boys in Mill Creek, along with a couple nights of protest activity starting as it has for months in Cal Anderson. But groups on the Hill have been smaller and reports of vandalism at the East Precinct and business property damage have quieted since October. Even the E Olive Way Starbucks has reopened though the neighborhood’s parking meters remain busted.

For larger rallies and marches, the changes seem to be a focus on a wider area of the city and a push toward quality over quantity. There are fewer events but a more robust deployment of resources including the safety of the “Car Brigade” and sometimes a split of marchers into two or more groups to stretch Seattle Police resources and limit law enforcement interference.

SPD also has new tactics and new equipment — though its deployment in the East Precinct has also become a relative rarity.

The causes of the Black Lives Matter groups and the anti-police “direct action” activists don’t cleave to a legislative schedule but another season has also passed. Continue reading

Local Bigger Burger: A new burger joint takes over in the Broadway mixed-use building with the most Broadway mix of mixed-use

The unwinding of one local Seattle burger chain during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has led to the growth of a new one with a new location already open on Broadway.

Local Bigger Burger, a brand name that screams concept and aspirations for major growth, is anything but a bland franchise, food and drink veteran and entrepreneur Nate Rey tells CHS.

The Green Lake-born burger joint has expanded onto Capitol Hill with a quiet takeover of the former Blue Moon Burgers location on Broadway. The change happened quickly enough that Rey says you can still order from the Blue Moon menu for a little while. But, soon enough, the kitchen will be switched over to the flame broiled style of LBB. Continue reading

Seattle budget set for 2021: a new tax on big businesses, a new approach to encampments, and a 20% cut to $400M in annual police spending

An unprecedented budget in unprecedented times — Monday’s vote was conducted, like most proceedings during the COVID-19 crisis, virtually

Budget chair Mosqueda took issue with Sawant’s time with the mic and her characterization of how the city’s tax on big businesses came to be. “A really robust effort. I don’t want their effort to be erased by one person’s words and a revision of history,” Mosqueda said.

Challenged and inspired by months of Black Lives Matter protests — including a last minute Sunday night push, the Seattle City Council Monday approved an unprecedented new budget for a major American city including key revenue from a new tax on big businesses, tens of millions of dollars shifted to community and social services, an end to the city’s recent history of encampment sweeps, and a near 20% cut to the city’s police force spending including a last minute $2 million slice to further rein in the department’s growth — all while in the grip of a global pandemic.

“There are aspects of this Budget which are of critical importance, that a year ago we couldn’t have imagined as necessary as they are today,” citywide councilmember and the chair of the budget committee Teresa Mosqueda said in a statement. “I imagine we will have to continue to make tough choices next year, and ensure our Budget is fiscally responsible while providing funding that serves our most vulnerable residents.”

But it was also a day for the familiar. Kshama Sawant, council member for District 3 representing Capitol Hill and the Central District, voted against the massive $6.5 billion package as she has on every annual budget during her three terms of office.

“In the middle of a pandemic and a spike in COVID infections, in the context of the worst recession for working people since the Great Depression, Democratic Councilmembers will be carrying out brutal austerity,” Sawant said in a statement following the vote.

As usual, Sawant stood alone.

Approved 8-1, the 2021 budget will bring a cut of around a fifth of the city’s more than $400 million annual outlay in police spending along with important changes to reduce the size and power of the department by moving 911 and traffic enforcement operations outside of SPD and spending more money on social, community, and BIPOC services and programs. While a larger “No New Cops” bid was voted down in committee, Monday’s final budget package included another $2 million reduction to SPD designed to curtail the department’s hiring in the new year.

The compromises between the calls from months of Black Lives Matter protests and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s push to maintain SPD staffing levels have apparently resulted in a budget the administration can live with. Monday night, the mayor said she would sign the newly approved legislation. Continue reading

Redfin says 30% want to live ‘somewhere else’ because of protests

In a new study, Seattle-based real estate service Redfin really gets to the heart of the matter of the summer’s Capitol Hill occupied protest zone — condo prices:

“Seattle’s condo market has really struggled in general during the pandemic, but the units that are closest to the CHOP have typically been selling even more slowly than other condos in Capitol Hill,” said local Redfin real estate agent Forrest Moody.

“I had one listing that was a block away from the CHOP and across the street from a Ferrari dealership that had its windows smashed,” Moody goes on to say. “The condo actually sold within five days, but that’s likely because we listed it for $25,000 less than we had planned to back in February.” Continue reading

Council rejects ‘No New Cops’ bid in 2021 budget, adding to Seattle’s list of #defundSPD compromises

After months of protest and activism for Black Lives Matter causes and defunding the police, the political accomplishments for the movements in Seattle continue to be a work in progress.

Thursday, a bid to freeze any new hiring at the Seattle Police Department next year grown out of the activist-backed “Solidarity Budget” effort and championed by Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales failed as the council wrapped up a marathon two days of amendments to pound out the city’s final 2021 budget.

A final vote on the budget comes Monday when the hiring issue is unlikely to again hit the table.

The “No New Cops” proposal would have redirected $9 million in officer salaries to social and community service spending Inspired by the Solidarity Budget, a slate of spending proposals from a coalition of community and activist groups, only Morales and Sawant backed the proposed budget amendment Thursday as council president Lorena González and others argued that attrition fears pushed forward by Mayor Jenny Durkan and budget cuts to the department could hinder SPD’s public safety efforts. Continue reading

Who ordered the abandonment of the East Precinct? — UPDATE

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

KING 5 is reporting new details of text messages and emails from city officials this summer as the CHOP occupied protest took shape on Capitol Hill including bizarre exchanges like this reported between Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and hip hop artist Raz Simone who had been part of the chaotic, exciting, and growing demonstrations and was asked to try to do something to help protect the abandoned East Precinct:

“Raz, I just got word that 4 people just broke the door at SPD and entered the building,” said a Scoggins text to Simone.

“A way to keep SPD out of the space is secure that building during the protest. Can you guys work with us on that?” Scoggins asked.

But despite former Chief Carmen Best’s new job with NBC, KING did not add much to the question at the center of how CHOP formed and grew on Capitol Hill in the first place — who ordered the abandonment of the East Precinct?

On Friday, May 29th, protests begin in Seattle after the police killing of George Floyd as thousands marched and demonstrated. Windows were smashed at Capitol Hill’s Amazon grocery and Ferrari dealership and seven arrests were reported. As the protests grew through the city, on Wednesday, June 3rd a “Defund Seattle Police” rally began in Cal Anderson after a battle of tear gas and blast balls as police moved on demonstrators and National Guard troops joined the lines with police outside the East Precinct. The next day, the city began bowing to protest demands, lifting its curfew as demonstrations continued. Cal Anderson continued to grow as a center of the ongoing protests and a battle line of sorts emerges at 11th and Pine. Clashes continued and on Saturday, June 6th Seattle City Council members joined the protest. Sunday, after the mayor’s speech on deescalation of the ongoing protest clashes between demonstrators and police, SPD responds with its strongest show of force yet in the “standoff” at 11th and Pine. That Sunday night, a man drives into the crowd at 11th and Pine and shoots a demonstrator. Nikolas Fernandez, the brother of an East Precinct cop, will be arrested and charged with one count of first degree assault. On Monday, June 8th, moving trucks arrived at the East Precinct as city officials said there were credible threats of arson targeting the building identified by the FBI. On Tuesday, June 9th, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone forms around an emptied East Precinct

The KING 5 report provides some color behind the chaos of the situation: Continue reading