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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.

Here’s what happened when Recall Sawant asked off-duty cops to join its campaign efforts on Broadway

A recall supporter sent CHS this photo of reported anti-recall vandalism

Campaign organizers working to recall the Capitol Hill and Central District representative on the Seattle City Council asked for some unusual assistance last week for its efforts to get the issue on the ballot.

“The Recall Sawant Campaign will be sign waiving (sic) and signature gathering this weekend and would love any off-duty SPOG members (and friends and family) to join them,” campaign manager Henry Bridger wrote in an email last Friday.

The full invitation is below.

The call for Seattle Police union members to join the campaigning and information table efforts didn’t break any rules. But the call was more than a request for volunteers.

Bridger tells CHS he is also asking for law enforcement support because of safety concerns.

Opponents of the recall effort, meanwhile, say the email is yet another sign that the recall campaign is backed by political forces from outside District 3.

Bryan Koulouris of Kshama Solidarity says the effort to bring out off-duty police to be part of the recall is one of the many “signs of Astroturf” around the campaign.

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June 30: The pandemic isn’t over but Washington marks a date for reopening

The state of Washington will move all counties into the final Phase 3 of reopening starting May 18th with a plan to fully lift COVID-19 restrictions by June 30th, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday.

The restrictions on businesses and social gathering could be lifted even earlier, the governor said, if the state can reach 70% of eligible residents initiating the vaccination process. That total currently stands at a little more than 57% after just under five months since the vaccine distribution began. CORRECTION: We’ve updated the state total to accurately reflect the current estimate for percent of eligible population that has initiated the vaccine process. The percentage of the total state population beginning vaccination is 46%. Continue reading

Seattle’s police accountability office said order to use blast balls and gas at Capitol Hill protest was a mistake — Its police chief just reversed the decision — UPDATE

June 1, 2020 on Capitol Hill (Image: Matt Mitgang with permission to CHS)

Chief Adrian Diaz has overruled the findings of the city’s Office of Police Accountability and announced he will not discipline the officer who improperly ordered the deployment of crowd control tactics in “the pink umbrella incident” — the moment the night of June 1st that set off a riot on Capitol Hill as police reacted to a umbrella thrust over the barrier outside the East Precinct at 11th and Pine with a barrage of pepper spray and blast grenades that led to a night filled with clouds of tear gas throughout Pike/Pine and a major clash with protesters.

“Decisions were made at levels of command above the Named Employee that bore directly on the Named Employee’s actions and thus actions taken by officers in the field. As a simple matter of fairness, I cannot hold the Named Employee responsible for circumstances that were created at a higher level of command authority and for carrying out decisions made at a higher rank,” the interim chief wrote in his letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Council President M. Lorena González explaining his decision to reverse the OPA finding.

The office had previously ruled that a complaint against the officer who gave the order should be sustained and that the decision to deploy the tactics was in error because “the large majority of the crowd was not acting violently at the time.” Continue reading

Broadway Hill sweep: Two referrals to a ‘shelter surge’ hotel, five ‘voluntarily relocated,’ and a bin of personal belongings

City crews are at work in Capitol Hill’s tiny Broadway Hill Park after Wednesday morning’s deadline for removing personal property from the public greenspace.

Seattle Parks and the Human Services Department say two people living in the park were referred to shelter at the Executive Hotel Pacific, one of the city-leased in a “shelter surge” effort to move more people out of camps as COVID-19 slows. One of the referrals came Wednesday morning, the city says, while five others “voluntarily relocated out of the park.” Continue reading

Fore! Five Iron virtual golf bar teeing up plans for Capitol Hill

The Chicago Five Iron (Image: Five Iron Golf)

Capitol Hill is getting a new “golf simulator” hangout in the heart of Pike/Pine from a fast growing chain bringing a “high-tech, inclusive urban golf experience for golfers and non-golfers alike” to the nation’s major party and nightlife districts.

Plans for Five Iron Golf call for a new Seattle expansion to take over the northern berth of the street level commercial space in the Pike/Pine preservation-boosted Kelly Springfield building on 11th Ave neighboring the Rhino Room. Continue reading

Plans for Acer House, Seattle’s ‘first truly anti-racist private sector development,’ rising in the Central District

Early design concept for the project’s massing

Legislation to allow a rezoning of the corner of 23rd and Cherry could allow a five story, mixed-use building to rise at the corner, connecting a wave of redevelopment across the 23rd Ave corridor through the Central District where major new developments have already risen at 23rd and Union and 23rd and Jackson.

But developers of the project say the surgical rezone would bring more than an extra story of height to the corner across from the Garfield Community Center and the Garfield High School campus. Acer House, they say, can be an example of a different recipe for equitable development beyond dependence on public funding.

“We believe in the power of housing,” Ben Maritz, the Capitol Hill developer of affordable housing behind the project says.

Acer House, Maritz said, could be the “first truly anti-racist private sector development here in Seattle.” Continue reading

911 | Bellevue Ave problem property burns again, reported airgun assault on Melrose

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS 911 coverage here. Hear sirens and wondering what’s going on? Check out Twitter reports from @jseattle or tune into the CHS Scanner page.

  • Bellevue Ave building fire: A Bellevue Ave problem property burned again Wednesday morning and Seattle Fire responded to put out the blaze. Fire at the 318 Bellevue Ave E address was reported just after 6 AM. Fire crews arrived and were able to knock down the fire. A search of the building showed nobody was inside. The same 20-unit lowrise was charred in a fire in April. There were also no reported injuries in that incident. A neighbor said that squatters were removed from the building prior to the April fire. The 1950s-built apartment building is planned to be demolished and replaced by a six-story, 20-unit development from West Freeman Properties and Capitol Hill architecture firm Board and Vellum. A master use permit for the project that has been under planning since 2018 was issued in March. A demolition permit was issued in early April. Seattle has increased fees for developers who let properties sit empty and go derelict.
  • Melrose shooting: A man shot early Wednesday near Denny and Melrose was not seriously injured. Police believe he was shot with an airgun in an assault reported just before 2 AM, according to East Precinct radio updates. Seattle Fire was called to treat the victim at Olive Place and Melrose as police searched for the reported assailant last reported leaving the scene westbound. There were no immediate arrests and no details about what led to the assault.
  • Lake Wa Blvd car prowler: Police were unable to apprehend a suspect reportedly caught in the act of busting into a car in one of the frequently prowled lots along Lake Washington Blvd near the Arboretum:
    On 05-10-2021 at 1500 hours, officers responded to the 2300 block of Lake Washington Blvd to a reported car prowl and harassment. Officer contacted the victim, who stated that they returned to their vehicle to find an unknown suspect reaching into their vehicle through a recently broken window. When the victim approached the suspect, the suspect shoved the victim back and implied that he had a gun, stating, “you’ll be sorry when I shoot you.” The suspect got into a vehicle a left the scene. Officers found that at least seven vehicles were broken into at that location and recovered stolen luggage.
    The stolen luggage was later returned to the owners, who were victims of a car prowl from a different lot, SPD says.

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‘Temporarily Closed’ no more, Coastal Kitchen ready to join Capitol Hill’s reopening

Coastal Kitchen has been shuttered since the start of the pandemic (Image: King County)

Coastal Kitchen is getting ready to welcome customers again on a Capitol Hill business strip that could use some good news after its retail core was washed away during the COVID-19 crisis.

The restaurant, serving 15th Ave E for nearly 30 years, has taken a different path to reopening with no rush to reinvent itself as a mercantile, or surviving on takeout alone.

Coastal Kitchen sat the pandemic out. Now, it is one of the first Capitol Hill food and drink venues to go completely dark for the past year to make a comeback. The planned reopening is Wednesday.

“We’re lucky in our ability to do that,” Coastal’s Jonathan Tweten tells CHS. “For us, it was about trying to be safe.” Continue reading

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is here — but it won’t help Capitol Hill restaurants that went out of business

Bill’s off Broadway was an early pandemic casualty on Capitol Hill. Pelicana Chicken will soon take its place at Harvard and Pine.

A rescue plan, indeed. Two of the best things about living on Capitol Hill are hoped to get a boost from federal COVID-19 relief dollars. CHS reported here about how the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program could aid the recovery of Capitol Hill clubs and stages.

Now, after starting the process to help save venues like Neumos, the American Rescue Plan Act is back to help save the day for the hundreds of restaurants across the Central District and Capitol Hill that have seen the food and drink economy turned upside, backwards, and inside out over the course of the pandemic.

The application process opened up last week for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, Washington D.C.’s $28.6 billion stabilization effort.

In addition to bringing a much needed financial boost for the neighborhood’s restaurants, the milestone might also reveal more about which Capitol Hill venues are on a temporary hiatus and which have truly permanently closed.

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Broadway Hill Park next in ongoing Seattle homeless encampment sweeps — UPDATE

Broadway Hill Park is slated to be the next public space on Capitol Hill to be cleared of homeless encampments.

Advocates say the park at Federal and Republican amid townhomes, apartment buildings, and single family homes is one of a handful of spaces across Seattle set for sweeps this week.

A Seattle Parks representative said more information was coming including information from the Human Services Department regarding shelter referrals.

UPDATE 5:08 PM: Seattle Parks says the sweep is needed because of concerns about recent fires.

“After a series of fires in the park, the City has requested that outreach efforts at Broadway Hill Park intensify this week with the goal of getting all who are onsite situated into shelter and on a path towards a permanent housing solution,” the parks department statement reads.

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