As much as we all would like to point at outbreaks at medical facilities and among college students, we can only blame ourselves when it comes to a steady, troubling rise in COVID-19 cases underway around Seattle.
And we have company. Washington health officials said this week that a “fall surge” in the virus can be seen in case totals across the United States and Europe.
“It started with the smoke event and the turn in the weather that we think brought a lot of people indoors,” Seattle-King County health officer Jeff Duchin said in this KUOW report on the surge. This week, more than 83,000 new U.S. cases were reported in a single day — a new record and a step toward what officials predict will bring more than 100,000 new cases every day in the country.
Despite the surge, there are better signs of hope than the first two peaks seen this spring and then again in summer. Hospitalizations and deaths have slowed. And we know much more about how to stamp down the spread. Continue reading
Thursday, just after 8 PM, a low flying squadron of military helicopters roared across Capitol Hill, shaking apartment buildings and rattling a few nerves along the way. Some counted up to four aircraft, flying low and fast and loud. Thanks to smart phone apps, a few identified the choppers as UH-60 Black Hawks.
No, the anarchist jurisdiction of Seattle hadn’t finally gone too far.
“We have 400 pilots and 150 craft to fly, sometimes over populated areas. Routine training,” Gary Dangerfield, Chief of External Communications for Joint Base Lewis-McChord, told CHS Friday morning. Continue reading
Charges against two friends police say were responsible for Molotov cocktail attacks at the East Precinct, fires in the streets of Pike/Pine, and the bat attack on a riot officer during a September clash with police that made national headlines provide a glimpse into the ongoing black bloc demonstrations on Capitol Hill and across Seattle and reveal the simple clues that allowed detectives to track down the suspects.
Seattle Police and the King County Prosecutor announced the arrests in the most high profile recent protest incidents and charges against Jacob Greenburg, 19, and Danielle McMillan, 29, this week.
Greenburg, a Kirkland resident, is charged with first degree attempted arson, reckless burning, and first degree assault for the September bat attack on an officer after police moved in on a large crowd of protesters demonstrating against injustice in the Breonna Taylor case as a grand jury in Kentucky declined to file homicide charges in the March 2020 killing of the 26-year-old Black woman. Greenburg also faces a charge of being armed with a deadly weapon in the attack. Police say the teen has no known criminal history.
McMillan, who lists an Everett address, is charged with first degree arson and also has a limited criminal record. In 2018, she was busted for reckless driving, and was charged with obstruction in 2011. She also faced minor drug charges in 2009, the court records state.
Both are scheduled to enter pleas on the charges next week.
The prosecutor’s office says the case is one of around 20 it is handling from arrests made during months of protest across the city. “The overwhelming majority of protest-related arrests are never referred to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office,” the office said in a statement.
In the court documents, police describe the baseball bat attack that left the officer stunned but not seriously injured, and a series of Molotov cocktail attacks and arsons around the East Precinct that Greenburg and McMillan are alleged to have planned and taken part in. Following the attack on the officer, police asked for the public’s help tracking down the suspect and began searching for more information about the person seen striking the officer in video of the assault circulating online. Police say the duo also made incriminating statements to each other via text. “can we like pls slit every spd throat,” the 19-year-old is alleged to have texted. Continue reading
Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City of Seattle are rolling out changes that might be the biggest boost struggling Capitol Hill food and drink venues can get as we head into the wet and cold Seattle winter and what seems likely to be many more months of COVID-19 restrictions.
The mayor announced Wednesday afternoon that the city will extend temporary street permits that allow outdoor seating though Halloween of 2021 and that the Seattle Fire Department is stepping up its process to allow free tent and heating permits to venues that comply with fire codes and strict inspection requirements. Continue reading
The COVID-19 crisis has sickened more than 25,000 and claimed nearly 800 lives in King County. The economic toll has included dozens of Capitol Hill businesses including restaurants and independent retail shops.
You can add a Capitol Hill private school community to the sad tally.
Waldorf-focused Bright Water School has announced that it will close after the 2020-2021 school year.
“The pandemic has painted the school into a financial corner from which we can find no escape,” the board said in its announcement to parents and guardians of the independent school that calls Saint Mark’s North Capitol Hill campus home.
Board chair John Healy said the closure stems from a downturn in enrollment during the crisis as families face new choices and challenges with ongoing distance learning and work from home requirements. Continue reading
A lawsuit brought by a collection of 12th Ave real estate developers, small businesses, and residents against the City of Seattle and Mayor Jenny Durkan over the handling of this summer’s CHOP Capitol Hill occupied protest zone can move forward, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Judge Thomas S. Zilly of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington denied the city’s motion to dismiss the case, ruling in favor of three of the four claims against City Hall alleging that city leaders violated property rights by allowing a dangerous protest and encampment to continue for weeks.
“Plaintiffs plausibly allege that the City’s actions — encouraging CHOP participants to wall off the area and agreeing to a ‘no response’ zone within and near CHOP’s borders — foreseeably placed Plaintiffs in a worse position,” the judge wrote in his decision. The full decision can be found at the end of this post. Continue reading
A protest bolstered by “a very large patio umbrella” and marchers from Portland joining Seattle demonstrators ended in a flurry of arrests Saturday night in the Central District.
Seattle Police and participants in the demonstration posting to social media reported multiple arrests around 10:30 PM after bike officers moved on the crowd as it moved through the area near 15th and Spring.
SPD said the demonstration began around 8 PM on Capitol Hill with marchers leaving Seattle Central and traveling through neighborhood streets. Police reported a small fire was set near 12th and Remington and rocks were thrown as “some demonstrators were also spray-painting parking signs and buildings as they went” using “a very large patio umbrella to obscure officers’ view of these acts of property damage.” Continue reading
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis and better career prospects outside the Seattle Police Department might achieve what anti-police demonstrators, funding cuts, and hiring freezes could not — fewer cops in Seattle.
Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office says City Budget Office and Seattle Police Department reporting shows an unprecedented spike in cops leaving the department last month and trends that could put the total number of 911 patrol officers on the streets of Seattle back at numbers last seen in the 1990s when the city’s population was around 30% smaller.
The mayor’s release of the information comes amid ongoing 2021 budget deliberations and increasing criticism from policing advocates including the Seattle Police Officers Guild, the union Durkan is destined to tangle with as contract negotiations come to a head in 2021.
According to the analysis prepared for the “Seattle Police Department Year-to-Date Attrition Levels” report, posted below, if Seattle continues an SPD hiring freeze in 2021, the department’s number of officers available for 911 response could drop to 1,139 by 2022, down 154 officers 2020, a 12% drop to nearly the same number of officers SPD says it had available for patrol 30 years ago. SPD says it employed 1,271 sworn officers in 1990. Continue reading
The battle at 23rd and Union between landlord and pot shop owner Ian Eisenberg and former tenant the Neighbor Lady bar turns out to be more than a war of words. Behind the scenes, CHS has learned Eisenberg is suing the bar owners for more than $300,000 over removed furniture and what the retail marijuana entrepreneur claims is a campaign of disparagement against him including the ultimate insult — urinal cakes bearing his likeness in use at Neighbor Lady’s sister bar, The Twilight Exit.
Lawyers for Stephan Mollman and Thomas Vivian have denied the allegation.
The lawsuit, filed in April and amended to include allegations including the urinal cake episode this summer, continues with the latest filing earlier this month moving the case forward. In it, lawyers for Eisenberg say they are seeking $200,000 over the removal of “light fixtures, neon signs, bar sinks, hooks, speakers, table tops, a bar, and a foot bar” from the bar adjacent the 23rd and Union Uncle Ike’s, as well as $50,000 each in damages from Mollman and Vivian over the disparagement allegations, as well as an additional $50,000 from the Neighbor Lady business, plus “indirect and consequential damages,” and legal costs. Continue reading