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.

With vote to make big changes at Central District middle school, board starts long process of addressing race problems in Seattle’s gifted education

The Seattle School Board Wednesday night approved a 10-year deal that will bring in the third party Technology Access Foundation to help run a Central District middle school in what officials hope will be the start of addressing racial disparity and phasing out a gifted student program across the district.

From KUOW: The Seattle School Board voted on Wednesday in favor of co-operating a STEM-focused secondary school with the nonprofit Technology Access Foundation at what is presently the Washington Middle School campus. Wrapped into the vote is the stipulation that the school must phase out its highly capable cohort, or HCC, an advanced learning model in which students who would traditionally be considered “gifted” are instructed in self-contained classrooms.

The move comes after months of debate over how best to address racial inequity in Seattle Public Schools where statistics have shown that the racial makeup of Highly Capable education students does not mirror the general student population despite decades of efforts. In December, a parent and community group called on state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to intervene in the debate over reshaping advanced learning and said it will consider legal remedies to stop the dismantling of Highly Capable instruction at only the Central District school. Continue reading

Pine mixed-use project pivoting from office space to lodging

Rendering of the Pivot (Image: Tiscareno Associates)

The direction for one mixed-use development under construction at the base of Capitol Hill might show the appetite for new office space in the neighborhood isn’t as strong as the downtown lodging market.

Pivot, the eight-story, 65-unit apartment and mixed-use building rising on the land where a surface parking lot once spread out on Pine just above downtown, is again, well, pivoting — this time, office space is out and a new era hotel service is in.

Developer Vibrant Cities CEO Ming Fung confirmed the new direction for the project with CHS and says two stories of planned commercial office space will be redeployed as lodging operated by Sonder, a startup dedicated to creating a network of tech and business worker appropriate short and longer term stay options in large cities around the world. Continue reading

Sawant committee to hold hearing on moratorium on ‘cruel winter evictions’

The Seattle City Council’s Sustainability and Renters’ Rights Committee will hold a public hearing Thursday night on District 3 representative Kshama Sawant’s proposal to ban winter evictions in the city.

The council member representing Capitol Hill and the Central District is urging constituents to “pack City Hall to demand a halt to cruel winter evictions.” Continue reading

Cafe to become Love + Flour as Essential Bakery exits Madison Valley

(Image: CHS)

The dreaded paper sign in the window has gone up at the Essential Bakery Cafe in Madison Valley but in this case, the message is not about a closure on E Madison.

Or, at least, it won’t be a long one.

The Seattle baking company has sold its cafe to a new owner who is ready to keep the comfortable hangout full of soups and sandwiches, baked treats, and fresh Essential bread.

“We’re just looking to keep our little family here,” Jenny Finau told CHS Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s St. Mark’s responds to ‘MARXIST IDIOTS’ vandalism with contemplation — and a laugh

(Image: St. Mark’s)

A Capitol Hill faith community is responding to a bout of vandalism targeting its social beliefs with contemplation, a chuckle, and, of course, clean-up.

“I find myself grateful that their message did not target a group of individuals based on race, orientation, or identity, using derogatory terms for injurious purposes,” The Very Reverend Steven L. Thomason, Dean and Rector at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral writes about the MLK Day graffiti vandalism. Continue reading

For $1.7M, you could be the next owner of the Volunteer Park Cafe (and live upstairs at 17th and Galer)

Will you be the next cafe owner at 17th and Galer? (Image: NWMLS)

It probably really is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” The 1904-built, two-story market and apartment these days known as the Volunteer Park Cafe is for sale. And, yes, the popular neighborhood cafe in the middle of some of Seattle’s most expensive residential real estate is part of the $1.7 million package.

“It’s a very, very unique deal. It’s so unique for the owner of the business to own the building as well in a location like this,” co-broker and Seattle commercial real estate expert Laura Miller tells CHS.

“The neighborhood should be really happy about the opportunity. It’s a great building,” Dustin Van Wyck, the other broker working on nailing down a deal for the property said.

“We’d love nothing more than to pass the torch along.” Continue reading

King County rolling out Democracy Live ‘mobile voting’ for February election

Washington is already leading the way with mail only voting since 2011, now King County is ready to help blaze some new trails in democracy with a project to test mobile voting in the February special election:

King Conservation District (KCD) will join Democracy Live and Tusk Philanthropies (TP) announcing that KCD is implementing mobile voting in their upcoming Conservation District Board of Supervisors election. This will be the first time in the country that mobile voting is available to all eligible registered voters.

The county says voters will be able to participate in the election by opting in to vote online with their smartphones through a partnership with Democracy Live and Tusk Philanthropies.

“Previous pilots in other jurisdictions were limited to overseas military voters and/or voters with disabilities,” the county announcement reads. King County Elections says the 1.2 million registered voters residing in the conservation district’s service area will be “eligible to vote on their mobile device using the Democracy Live platform.” Continue reading

911 | Cops make quick bust in Pike/Pine gold chain robbery

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.

  • Gold chain robbery bust: Police made a quick arrest of an armed suspect after a victim said his gold chain was snapped from his neck amidst the nightlife crowds of Pike/Pine early Saturday morning. According to the SPD brief on the incident, police were called to a fight disturbance in the area of 10th and Pike just after 1 AM to the reported ripoff:
    Officers were working an East Precinct Nightlife Emphasis Patrol shortly after 1:00 am Saturday when they observed a disturbance outside of a club at 10th Avenue and East Pike Street. A man told police someone had approached him and ripped the gold chain from his neck before disappearing into a crowd. Witnesses were able to point out the suspect to officers, who took him into custody.
    Police say they found a stolen handgun and five grams of suspected cocaine on the suspect. The necklace was not located. The 25-year-old was booked into King County Jail.
  • E Pike ice cream shop DUI crash: There were fortunately no serious injuries and the driver was taken into custody for DUI after smashing a car into the side of the Salt and Straw ice cream shop on E Pike last Wednesday morning. The 9:30 AM incident brought a large Seattle Fire response to help extricate the driver whose door was smashed against the building’s brick corner. Damage to the shop was minimal and pedestrians and bicyclists on the busy street managed to avoid the collision. Police say the driver was taken to Harborview and cleared and then taken into custody for investigation of driving under the influence.
  • Lakeview/Belmont false alarm: A reported Monday morning stabbing near the trail below Lakeview Blvd and Belmont turned out to be a false alarm. Police and Seattle Fire were called to the scene by a passerby just before 11 AM Monday to a report of a person who had been stabbed. Arriving officers found that the victim said they had been, indeed, suffering from injuries suffered in a stabbing — but that the incident happened last year. Police cleared the scene and Seattle Fire made sure the victim got the necessary treatment.

Batch Baking Company and its nostalgia-filled Squareos now open on 12th Ave

With batches of fresh from the oven, nostalgia-inspired caramel chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter brownie, palmiers, and Oreo-style Squareos, Batch Baking Company is now open on 12th Ave.

Business partners and co-bakers Scot Partlow and Jared Watson called Batch a “dessert focused, small batch” bakery paying “special attention to cookies” with “a bit of a nostalgic bent to it” when CHS talked to them about the new project last fall. Continue reading

Central District’s Grocery Outlet isn’t going anywhere (In fact, it’s getting a facelift)


The impending arrival of PCC Community Markets in the Central District probably won’t do much to change business at the neighborhood’s popular low cost, overstock, and closeout-filled Grocery Outlet.

But the 1962-era supermarket building at MLK and Union it calls home was due for some exterior work and a new sign or two.

“It’s a little bit of a facelift,” owner Steve Mullen tells CHS.

Mullen says the recent $400,000+ overhaul of the store’s freezer and refrigeration system was probably a bigger deal.

The upgrades, facelift, and changes to the MLK Way facing entrance to the market are part of continued commitment to the store. It’s good news for fans after the SoDo location’s closure was held up by some as another sign “Seattle is Dying.”

The SoDo store had a different local owner, Mullen said. But Mullen says he understand about deciding to close a grocery store due to crime and disorder. The problem isn’t new — he shut down his Rainier Valley store years ago due to theft. “A lot of it is driven by drug problems,” Mullen said.

The MLK store also has its issues with theft, Mullen said, but he plans to stay invested in the community for the long haul. His current lease on the 17,000-square-foot grocery runs through 2032. Continue reading