About Lena Friedman -- CHS Intern

Lena Friedman was born and raised in Capitol Hill and studies psychology at Whitman College. She covers news for Whitman’s student paper, The Wire, during the school year and enjoys singing a cappella, running a food instagram @sweetnseattle and reading memoirs during her free time. Find her on Twitter @LenaSFriedman or email her at friedmls@whitman.edu.

Now open on 10th Ave E: Gyro House

Owner Akram Bouman Ali (Image: Lena Friedman)

Just before COVID-19 restrictions set in, Gyro House moved into a new 10th Ave E location bordering Capitol Hill. The Iraqi-style mediterranean restaurant is now adjusting to business in a new neighborhood and new coronavirus age of serving customers.

Owner Akram Bouman Ali arrived with his family in the United States as Iraqi refugees in 2009 and achieved his dream of starting a restaurant in 2018 when Gyro House opened at its first location on 5th Ave S between downtown and the International District.

“My dad always inspires me — he’s hard of hearing, he has a lot of health issues going on but he never gave up on his dream,” said his daughter Amal Bouman Ali, who helps manage the business. Continue reading

Seattle school board members address ‘excessive force’ incident at Capitol Hill elementary school

Stevens Elementary School parents, teachers and district board directors gathered over Zoom last week in light of an incident during the just completed school year that raised concerns about racial bias and force used to restrain students. Some school board directors are looking into policy prohibiting physical restraint methods altogether.

“Director Rankin and I are exploring, along with staff, what are the impacts and what is the possibility of an outright ban on isolation and restraints especially in our district and focusing solely on de-escalation methods,” school board member Brandon Hersey said over Zoom. “That way we remove the ability for harm to be done to our students physically yet we still have an opportunity to reevaluate and recenter ourselves in de-escalation.”

The district’s physical intervention policy allows restraint and isolation methods to be used on students “when reasonably necessary to control spontaneous behavior that poses an ‘imminent likelihood of serious harm,’ as defined by WAC 392-172A- 01092 and WAC 392-172A-01109,” to oneself, peers or property. Continue reading

August Primary election endorsement round-up: 36(!) candidates for governor, the most ‘contentious’ race on your ballot, and help making your choice for things like ‘Insurance Commissioner’

There are lots of names to choose from on the ballot for the governor’s race but probably only one you should really choose

Ballots have been sent out for August’s primary election giving Capitol Hill voters the opportunity to cast a ballot and help set the course for races for a handful of seats in the state legislature, the governor’s office, and one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

ENDORSEMENTS: 43rd District Democrats, King County Young Democrats, The Urbanist, The Seattle Times, The Stranger

  • Position 1, 43rd Legislative District: Two-term Democratic incumbent Nicole Macri is up against Republican Leslie Klein and independent Brandon Franklin. She has received widespread endorsements from 43rd District Democrats, King County Young Democrats, The Stranger, the Seattle Times and The Urbanist, with the latter pointing to her healthcare initiatives and efforts against Washington’s rent control ban.
  • Position 2, 43rd Legislative District: This race is a bit more contentious with longtime Democratic incumbent Frank Chopp running for reelection against newcomers Sherae Lascelles of the Seattle People’s Party and Democrat Jessi Murray. The Seattle Times recommends Chopp, given his 25 years of experience and prominent initiatives like affordable housing, and King County Young Democrats endorse Murray. The Urbanist and The Stranger both endorse Lascelles, citing their experience in forming organizations to help sex workers and their firsthand experience dealing with institutional racism and living as a sex worker.  CHS took an in-depth look at the race here.
  • UPDATE: 37th Legislative District: In the race for Position 1, incumbent Sharon Tomiko Santos gets the nod across the board. In the race for Position 2, you can almost feel the endorsement editors struggling over two worthy candidates. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington executive director Kirsten Harris-Talley gets the pick from the Young Democrats, the Stranger, and The Urbanist, while the Times backs city employee and activist Chukundi Salisbury for his “thoughtful, informed” approach.
  • Governor: Somehow, there are 36 candidates running for governor, including “anti-tax” activist Tim Eyman and community organizer Omari Tahir Garrett. King County Young Democrats, 43rd District Democrats, The Urbanist and The Stranger all endorse two-time incumbent Jay Inslee, with the latter pointing to his climate change action promises and that he has “done a good job steering the state through the pandemic.”

Continue reading

On Capitol Hill, one in five — and in the CD, one in four — filed for unemployment in months since COVID-19 closures set in

Merchants board their windows for the impending COVID-19 zombie apocalypse

Since the start of widespread closures of businesses across Capitol Hill, the Central District, Seattle, and the state to mitigate COVID-19, thousands have been temporarily or permanently laid off. With rising COVID-19 numbers across King County and the halting of phased reopening, economic recovery remains uncertain.

In the Capitol Hill neighborhood, more than one out of five working age adults filed an unemployment claim over this spring and early summer, and in the Central District the number is even higher with more than one in four working age adults filing for unemployment. Continue reading

Canon bar reinventing itself as online emporium and walk-in mercantile

House made cherries for sale at Canon (Image: Canon)

Walking into Canon is surely a different experience than before. As 12th Ave’s food and drink scene slowly reopens, the bar has taken a more retail-oriented approach, transforming into a walk-in general store and online “Whiskey and Bitters Emporium.”

In early May, Washington’s liquor and cannabis board temporarily legalized takeout cocktails, when purchased with food, in addition to allowing sealed bottleservice. As per the state’s reopening plan, King County restaurants and bars began opening at limited capacity in June (now allowed 50% indoor and outdoor occupancy in Phase 2), but Gov. Inslee recently tightened restaurant and tavern guidelines, prohibiting bar seating and live music.

Canon owner Jamie Boudreau made the decision not to reopen at limited capacity based on the bar’s smaller size combined with the uncertainty of the coming months.

“I’ve been told by pretty much everyone across the nation that take-out was difficult and not profitable, but I had to give it a try in order to hope to outlast the shutdowns and our government’s bungled response to the pandemic,” Boudreau said over email. “With the 6′ rule in place, we can’t have more than 12 people inside, and I’m not sure how to make that work without losing more money than just being closed.” Continue reading

What really happened at The Neighbor Lady: A non-disparagement agreement, an alleged political feud, and a new home at 23rd and Union

(Image: CHS)

Central District dive bar The Neighbor Lady has plans to open in a new location across the street from its longtime home as part of the Midtown: Public Square development.

The vegetarian-friendly comfort food bar has officially moved out of its 23rd and Union spot after its lease was not renewed — and there appears to be two sides to the story including pot shop offices worried about odors from a dive bar, a dispute over Egan Orion campaign posters, and an alleged District 3 political feud playing out among business neighbors at 23rd and Union.

In January, CHS first reported on The Neighbor Lady losing its lease inside the building connected to the Uncle Ike’s pot shop complex at this key corner in the Central District.

Neighbor Lady co-owner Stephan Mollmann tells CHS the bar was “kicked out,” while landlord and Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg cites a new use for the space as the reason behind his decision to replace the bar. Continue reading

From short term rentals to coronavirus, how Roy Street Commons briefly became Capitol Hill’s only ‘COVID-19 Test Center’ — UPDATE: Back open

(Image: CHS)

12 Ave’s Roy Street Commons stands out among Capitol Hill apartment buildings as the only building of its size on the Hill allowed to be fully dedicated to short-term rentals;. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the building’s owners have again proven unusually innovative.

As the outbreak spread and rental business dried up, Roy Street became 12th Ave’s only COVID-19 Test Center.

Dr. Eric Friedland, an emergency medicine physician at Overlake Medical Center, opened the Covid Test Center out of the Roy Street Commons building that he and his wife own.

“I work in a hospital, so I don’t have a clinic to do this. I had an empty building and I thought ‘this is a reasonable goal,’ Friedland said. “A lot of people couldn’t get tested in March when the epidemic was really here so they want to know if they have antibodies or if they don’t. That was my whole goal, to try and provide the ability for people who didn’t have access to PCR testing who were sick in March to be able to figure out if they had the virus or not.” Continue reading

Reopening: Terra Plata has a patio table for you under open skies but future of dining-in on Capitol Hill remains cloudy

(Image: Terra Plata)

Chef Tamara Murphy designed Terra Plata’s business model around sit-down, full capacity dining. With COVID-19’s looming presence, the stability of this model is now shaky and Murphy is looking into new ways the Capitol Hill “Earth to Plate” concept restaurant can stay afloat.

“The thing about Terra Plata is we have something that so many people don’t have: an open air, beautiful space,” Murphy said. “Honestly people don’t look at us as a take-out place, so we have to work really hard at putting that together and we’re going to because I assume that we’re going to have to shut down at some point again.” Continue reading

Independence Day in Seattle: A 4th of YouLie rally in the Central District as coalition marks win vs. ‘predatory development’

Africatown’s Joy (Image: CHS)

On Saturday afternoon, organizers of the Africatown-led King County Equity Now Coalition are holding a “4th of YouLie” rally event at 23rd and Union to shift the narrative surrounding the Fourth of July.

“Fourth of July depicts the independence of the United States — not everybody was free. Our people of African descent weren’t free, were still slaves in that time,” organizer and Africatown ambassador Fynniecko Glover Jr. said. “So the July 4th, the Fourth of YouLie, is just saying that not all of us were free.”

The event will center around a teach-in with a series of speakers discussing the history and gentrification of the Central District neighborhood, according to Glover Jr., and there will also be a teen resource area and Black-owned businesses for people to shop at.

“23rd and Union historically is a significant intersection in the Black community,” Africatown Community Land Trust member Isaac Joy told CHS. “That intersection has been transformed, I think at really all four corners, in the negative with huge gentrification projects.”


Friday, the coalition announced it had halted a “predatory” development of the former Keiro Care Center at 17th and Yesler. This coalition of ‘Black-led, community-based” organizations has plans to turn the property into a space that will “honor Indigenous and Pan-Asian communities.”

Continue reading

Reopening: Capitol Hill salons old and new return, adjusting to ‘new norm’ of masked haircutting

New colors at 19th Ave Salon by Brandon Madsen (Image: 19th Ave Salon)

Capitol Hill beauty businesses are adjusting to cutting and styling hair under state-mandated changes, including wearing PPE, issuing temperature checks and maintaining six feet of distance when possible.

For 19th Avenue Salon owner Jamie De Maria, implementing these safety requirements has been an important part of opening the new business. The salon had only been open for a week when COVID-19 restrictions shut the business down.

To his surprise, De Maria said the shop has not struggled with customers since reopening.

“We’ve been so beyond busy and turning clients away and working 12 hour days — it’s been insane,” De Maria said. “I would say 80-90% of our new customers are neighbors and residents of the community that have been walking by the salon seeing the construction happening and waiting for it to open and reading our reviews online.”

Salons got the go-ahead to reopen at 25% capacity under Phase 1.5 restrictions in early June and now have the option to expand to 50% capacity as part of Phase 2. Continue reading