Scenes from Capitol Hill arts walk November

Artist ELITE, whose work was featured at Throwbacks NW this month, spotted at Featherston Gallery admiring the works of fellow artist Elizabeth Jameson (Photo: Lucas Anderson/

Observing “Post-Bellum” by Elizabeth Jameson at the Featherston Gallery (Photo: Lucas Anderson/

Guitarist Reji LeFleuer plays on the steps at Retail Therapy, adding sound to the paintings by featured artist Jenna Colby (Photo: Lucas Anderson/

Babeland’s Plastic Porn (Photo: Lucas Anderson/










Listeners in Steampunk attire listen to Cherie Priest read her similarly themed Sci-Fi novel, “Boneshaker” at 15th Ave Coffee & Tea (Photo: Lucas Anderson/

Looking for a new model? Co-op workshop Saturday at Hugo House

From the progressive minds of the Central Co-op and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies comes the very first SLICE (Strengthening Local Independent Co-ops Everywhere) conference, a day long event covering everything from the roots of the co-op mindset to what it takes to be a co-op proprietor. All that co-operation goes down Saturday at Richard Hugo House. You may have noticed the banner ads on CHS — the event is a paid advertiser but the event is worthy of note here on the site regardless of the ad buy.

The workshop, according to Caple Melton of Central Co-op, will have three themes: So you want to start a co-op, Cooperative Development, and Cooperation in Community, each of which deal with different levels of involvement into co-op culture. The first two follow a business path, covering legal issues, financing and taking your co-op to the next level. The third is more community focused, bringing the concepts of a co-op into community building and exploring the powers of those concepts.

While the fee for the workshop is $30, Melton is trying to make sure anyone can participate by offering other ways to enjoy the information (as well as the food and beverages) at a lower cost through a scholarship program, or through volunteering on site. For more information, check out

Melton said she is hopeful this workshop will be the start of more opportunities for groups to work together to further co-op culture in Seattle.

What happened to the Satellite — and what’s next for 1118 E. Pike

CHS had little information last week when we first reported that the Satellite Lounge had been evicted . Turns out, who we thought was the owner, Sylvia Kane, actually owns 1110 E. Pike, not 1118 where Satellite called home — the King County Records for the 1118 address were grouped under Kane’s name. Kane had been on vacation for the last week or so, so the eviction was news to her when CHS reached her this week. Kane helped CHS contact the owner of 1118 E. Pike, Steven Holman of Holman Real Estate.

Eviction notice posted on the Satellite’s front door

According to Holman, the Satellite was not paying rent, and his company had asked them to leave. The Satellite’s owner, The Real Comet Inc., declared bankruptcy, Holman said, which allowed the lounge to stay in the building until the court finally had the business evicted last Monday.

Harold Burton, listed as the ‘registered agent’ for The Real Comet in state records, could not be reached for comment. Kane told CHS she had heard that Burton had shown interest in another area building, but hadn’t spoken to him for awhile.

As for the future of the Satellite space, Holman said he hopes to find a tenant that will incorporate the unused 5,000 sqft basement in a similar food and drink establishment. While it needs a safety and code update, Holman said the basement could serve as a dance floor, small theater, or music performance space. Craig and Laura Baker of Issaquah jazz club Bake’s Place have looked at the space, Holman said, but it is still on the market. With prices in the neighborhood varying from around $25/sqft for street level to $15/sqft for below-ground space, the complete Satellite package including the basement could run somewhere around $12,000/month.

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King of the Lot: Park(ing) Day and the People’s Parking Lot

500 E. Pine is ugly. It’s empty. It’s useless. For some, it represents the development powers that be, and their plot to destroy any ounce of historical culture that flows through Capitol Hill streets. These feelings have been shared by many that walk by the mound of dust and dirt now dubbed the People’s Parking Lot. But for structural engineer and urban planning enthusiast Keith Harris, the frustration became innovation. This April, he made this video, this site, and a baby, all while losing his job in the midst of the poor economic climate. Bad for Harris, but great for the community as he has had time to explore his passions and make something out of the empty lot that plagues Pine. With his job creating commercial big box buildings behind him, Harris thought this project would be more suited to what he believes in.

But the website had few visitors, and Harris had no idea how, or even what he hoped to do with the empty lot. After failing to attract accidental visitors to his cause by posting random parking-lot related tid-bits, Harris said that help from CHS was what finally got the ball rolling. Putting the normal developer-aimed anger aside, Harris called the owner of the lot and got his blessing to feature it as the main area of the the Capitol Hill Garage sale. With the success and enthusiasm surrounding the sale, Harris worked quickly to start the next project, Park(ing) Day 2009. Three months of research, marketing and planning will culminate this Friday into what Harris hopes will become a very memorable day.

According to the Park(ing) day website, the event originally started in San Francisco in 2005 when an art collective dressed up a public space around a parking meter. For his part of the Park(ing) Day event in Seattle, Harris is coordinating with Feet First, an organization who helped promote and support the event last year, the Capitol Hill Community Council and other community groups. 

With the People’s Parking Lot as a “Central Park”, Harris created twenty-four 20×10 ft. spots for people, businesses, and organizations to create mini parks. The parks will be judged by our own jseattle along with architecture professionals, and compete for a $200 prize on top of a gift cards and other local business gifts. Despite business support and involvement, Harris said, following Park(ing) day rules, no promotional material or advertisement can be included in parks. According to Harris, the cost of the event, mostly for insurance, was covered by the Seattle Art Commission’s Smart Ventures Grant, with the prizes covered by an optional $20 entry fee and donations from local businesses.

As we reported earlier, there is still room for more parks. Harris said that 12 spots are definitely taken, with 5 more hopefully on the way. These parks aren’t just thrown down sod, Harris explained, saying one group requested a second space and made a structure of 12 feet was not breaking any height limits. While anyone can participate, landscape architects and urban planners are coming out in full force for what Harris said was “just for fun.”

For Harris, who is designing a park himself, this is just a beginning for both his career and the People’s Parking Lot. Entering into the Ph.D program at the University of Washington in Built Environments, Harris, his wife and his 5-month old child are chugging along. Harris, wants to continue working with the PPL, but is taking it one step at a time with classes just around the corner. “If it is going to sit empty, why not do something that [people] can come out and use.” The future of the PPL, Harris hopes, will be focused around regular use, not just big events. According to Harris, the owner of the land still has no plans for it, but Harris sees it as an “Important space geographically and emotionally,” and it needs something to fill the dead zone. Following the model of a parks organization in Burien, one of Harris’ ideas is licensing the space from the owner as a temporary space for a garden, art space or an outdoor movie area.

For now, Harris is focusing on this Friday. Although the dozen parks will only be a 12-hour cure for the emptiness at 500 E. Pine, Harris is confident in the event’s effect beyond the 18th.

“All you can do is remember it,” Harris said. “Make it memorable.”

Seattle schools prepare for H1N1: Plan is to hold off on closures

Health officials say it is only a matter of time before Seattle’s elementary schools face outbreaks of illness from the H1N1 flu virus. Last year’s outbreaks that closed multiple Seattle schools including Capitol Hill’s Stevens Elementary are still on the minds of Public School officials as the new school year begins. This school year, according to Seattle Public School’s David Tucker, prevention is the priority.

Over the Summer, King County Public Health, in coordination with the Center for Disease Control, finalized a plan continuing and strengthening current school programs that are already in place, such as weekly absentee rate reports, every-day monitoring, and extra attention for at risk students that are “medically fragile.” Tucker said that families are the first line of defense. “If a child is sick, then the parents need to make sure the child stays home,” said Tucker.

Cases of H1N1 have been reported in the area through summer but officials are bracing for an increase as school begins. King County Health spokesperson Hilary Karasz said symptoms for those already sickened by the virus appear to be mild and on the scale of the typical seasonal flu. The big difference with H1N1, though, is the level of immunity in the community. Because it’s a new virus, fewer of us have developed immunities to it and so, Karasz explained, more of us are going to get it. “It’s a strong reminder to wash our hands and stay home if we’re feeling sick,” Karasz said.

When school began last week, schools sent home notes to parents informing them of the risks and things to look out for. Part of a CDC provided “Toolkit” for H1N1, it also included fact sheets for parents, teachers, students, and a FAQ. Also, the county health department recommended that a sick note from a doctor for teachers or students with flu-like symptoms not be required for students or staff to be able to remain at home until they are healthy.

As for school closures this year, Tucker reiterated the CDC guidance of “keeping schools open to the greatest extent possible.” He added that the process will be different than last year, with closures at the bottom of the check list.

Seattle’s school plan includes two different strategies for approaching an outbreak depending on the severity compared to last spring.

For same severity as Spring 2009:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Separate ill students and staff until they can be sent home
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • More frequent cleaning using regular products
  • Early treatment for high risk students and staff
  • Consider selective school dismissal

For increased severity compared to Spring 2009:

  • Active screening
  • High-risk students and staff stay home
  • Students with ill household members stay home
  • Increase distance between people at schools
  • Extend the period ill persons stay home
  • School dismissals

Candidate McGinn picks a fight over First Hill/Cap Hill streetcar – UPDATE

Mallahan campaign spokesperson Charla Neuman said her camp’s position hasn’t changed following the McGinn conference. She said Joe Mallahan will continue to oppose the First Hill/Cap Hill streetcar. “He’s going to keep looking for wise investments. We can get more done with less dollars if we invest in bus routes,” Neuman said.

Neuman said McGinn’s bid to drag Mallahan into a fight on the streetcar issue is a desperate ploy to create a new campaign issue. “He says the streetcar is already paid for,” Neuman said. “He’s trying to politicize the issue. We don’t know what this is going to cost yet.”

“Joe knows that there are better ways to spend transportation dollars than on empty streetcars,” Neuman said. “He also knows that voters approved this. If the project ends up being more expensive or is not feasible, the city should renegotiate.”

“McGinn is very smooth at talking about and covering what he doesn’t know,” Neuman said. “He doesn”t have anything else to talk about other than the Viaduct. He’s a one issue candidate.”

UPDATE 12:30 PM: 
In today’s conference in First Hill Park, McGinn said, “I believe that when the voters vote for something, and approve something, we should build it.” In an attempt to connect the streetcar issue with the planned Viaduct replacement tunnel, McGinn said that Mallahan supports an issue that “70% of voters disapprove of” yet does not support the street car with “70% voter approval.”

“It shows a difference in values and a difference in vision for the city of Seattle,” McGinn said.

More coverage can be found at CDNews.

Original Report
A spat over a streetcar that will run from First Hill to Capitol Hill has caused one of the first punches to be thrown in the fall election phase of Seattle’s fight for mayor. Candidate Mike McGinn is holding a conference Tuesday morning in First Hill Park to show his support for the line and call on his opponent to drop opposition to the new streetcar route.

One issue with this first salvo: It’s not clear Joe Mallahan will punch back or that he even opposes the streetcar coming to Capitol Hill.

UPDATE 10:15 AM:
According to campaign spokesperon Charla Neuman, Mallahan’s opposition to the First Hill streetcar is based on his belief that streetcars are an inefficient use of taxpayer money. “And that’s just something we can’t have right now,” Neuman said. “This is about all streetcars.”

This weekend CHS noted a Seattle Times article that pointed out that both Seattle mayoral candidates oppose a streetcar extension along 1st Ave through downtown and Belltown. But the Times article reported that Capitol Hill’s streetcar plans, too, were being scrutinized by candidate Mallahan. Mallahan has not yet issued a statement clarifying his position.

The First Hill/Capitol Hill streetcar project is being paid for by Sound Transit as part of an agreement reached when the original plans for light rail in the area had to be scrapped. Area community groups are already busy advocating for where the line should be built with Boren, Broadway, 12th Ave and even a Broadway-12th Ave loop concept being considered by city planners.

CHS will be at the conference and is also working to get a statement from the Mallahan camp to clarify their position on the First Hill/Cap Hill streetcar line.

Neighborhood planning meeting draws 15 — more than 300 take online survey

The Miller Park Community Center played host to the “second chance” neighborhood planning gathering Thursday night for the Pike/Pine, Central Area, and Capitol Hill Neighborhoods. A very small turnout in June prompted the city to give Pike/Pine and Capitol Hill citizens another chance to participate in process. Not many took the city up on the offer. About 40 people attended Thursday night’s session, with about 15 coming from Capitol Hill and Pike/Pine to discuss and gain community feedback on the 10-year-old neighborhood plans. More than 300 Capitol Hill area residents took the online survey.

The meeting was an effort to confirm the community’s involvement but David Goldberg from DPD explained that this is only a step to a plan update, as only a few neighborhood plans will qualify under the undetermined criteria for updating.

Each neighborhood group was tasked with answering four questions, moderated by a volunteer from the community with knowledge of their respective plans:

  1. Most of the neighborhood plans were adopted about 10 years ago and are in their midlife. How has your neighborhood changed in the last decade since the plan was adopted, (or since you’ve been there)?
  2. What changes or aspects of your neighborhood are you most pleased about? Most dissatisfied about?
  3. How well are your neighborhood plan vision and key strategies being achieved? Are they still the priority?
  4. The city is completing neighborhood plan status reports focusing on demographics, development patters, housing affordability, public amenities, and transportation networks. What should there be more focus on (or less) as the neighborhood status reports are completed in the coming months? Are there any important gaps in the draft status report?

Those of you who took the city’s online neighborhood survey might recognize those they’re the same questions the city asked on the Internet.

Here were the concerns, questions and ideas raised in Thursday night’s Capitol Hill session:

How has your neighborhood changed in the last decade?

  • Visual/development changes.
  • Character suffering east of Broadway from townhouse development.
  • Affordability of housing.

  • Better design of the townhouses.
  • Number 8 bus.

What changes or aspects of your neighborhood are you most pleased about? Most dissatisfied about?

  • Families don’t necessarily want to live in multifamily housing.
  • “Clothing that is practical to wear for normal people.” Disappearance of stores for real life living: Hardware, baked goods etc.
  • “15th is the street that time forgot”: Nothing for families. No quick togo resturants…3 new ice cream shops…none on 15th?

How well are your neighborhood plan vision and key strategies being achieved?

  • Broadway revitalization: maintain it’s identity while still increasing desirability.
  • Balancing staying in Capitol Hill against increasing pricing of housing with more demand.
  • Make it so you truly don’t need a car.

What should there be more focus on (or less) as the neighborhood status reports are completed in the coming months? Are there any important gaps in the draft status report?

  • Breaking the plan down into smaller areas. “15th is where I live, Broadway isn’t part my neighborhood”
  • What is City Council doing to facilitate the implementation of the plan?
  • Ongoing relationship, not just every 10 years.
  • More influence from local councils to elected officials.
  • Lack of civic involvement. Need more interest from citizens.

We’ll cut through the bureaucracy here on CHS and get right to the point. Let us know what you think. In the meantime, take a look at details of Capitol Hill’s neighborhood plan status update for a look at where this city planning process is heading.

Activist and Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee Representative Dennis Saxman provided CHS with his notes from the meeting. The PDF file is attached to this post.

Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce holding first benefit dinner

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is holding its first annual benefit dinner on October 5th to support its efforts to provide resources, advocacy and networking opportunities for businesses operating on the Hill. The Chamber is faced with becoming self-sustaining as a 3-year grant from the city has come to an end in 2009.

The event will be held at Poppy on Broadway and will recognize the efforts of businesses and organization across the Hill. Also, Poppy’s owner Jerry Traunfeld and Poppy’s wine steward will give talks about the business and affordable wine combinations.

Plates are $75 per person, including dinner and wine. Tickets can be purchased online here. For more information, email the CHCC at [email protected]

While not every business on the Hill is a member of the CHCC, nearly 200 are — including CHS. You can check out the 2009 roster in the attached PDF.

Metro cuts coming: Budget shortfall, cutbacks detailed at public hearing

In a special public hearing at City Hall, the City Council’s transportation subcommittee met on Wednesday to discuss the 2010-2011 King County Metro budget, and the plan for overcoming a $700 million revenue shortfall.

In front of a chamber full of transit riders, drivers and concerned citizens, King County Executive Kurt Triplett and King County Metro General Manger Kevin Desmond presented their proposal: a four-year plan to offset the projected $546 million deficit including service cuts, fare increases, and improvement program deferrals. Despite an increase in ridership for the last three years, Desmond stressed the significance of 12-13% drop in sales tax collection which is a main revenue source for Metro.

Alongside Desmond and Triplett were two other panelists: Rob Johnson and John Scholes of Transportation choices and the Downtown Seattle Association respectively. Johnson informed the public in attendance that transit cuts were not a King County exclusive issue, citing that 90% of public transit systems nation wide have raised fares and/or cut service hours. Scholes, representing downtown businesses and citizens, applauded the ride free area, but wanted the idea of a new revenue source for Metro outside of sales tax to be on the table. “We need another source that is stable in good times and stable in bad times,” he said.

Representatives from South Seattle and the Rainier Valley area dominated the public comment portion of the haring. Concerned about service cuts to routes 42, 48, 106, and 107, sign-holding audience members and a parade of citizens came up to the microphone protesting bus stop removal and frequency reductions.  Citizens called those routes their “lifeline,” and added that the cuts have a disproportional effect on people with low income and people of color.

Other concerns from public comment:

  • Labor costs
  • Connections between ferries and buses.
  • Against scheduled maintenance cuts, stressing the quality of service rather than the span.
  • Moving away from the politics of universal service cuts and run Metro like a business. Executive Triplett responded, saying it would have been more difficult to go route by route, and that Metro wanted to “balance the needs of the transit dependent as well as the people just getting to work every day.”

While the $20 vehicle license fee suggested by Washington State Legislature was vetoed by the governor, Desmond provided two other options to aid the falling revenue: $50 million in already allocated stimulus money, and reappropriating property taxes. However, he said that the ferries will continue to be maintained and expanded for the next four years under this proposal.

As expected, cuts to the Metro system were the focus of the proposal. These cuts include:

  • Deferring bus expansion: While the new RapidRide(link) services will continue full force, taking 4.5 cents of the total 5.5 cents from property taxes, Transit Now service investments are being deferred as well as investments in scheduled maintenance. Desmond noted that this does not mean Metro is favoring the specific RapidRide routes while cutting overall service.
  • Capital program cuts: Metro will greatly reduce the number of buses it purchases, and speed, reliability and asset maintenance programs will be cut.
  • Non-service related cuts: 10% reduction in complementary programs like security enhancements, customer information and park and ride landscaping and cleaning.
  • Operating reserves: The proposal is reducing its reserve fund, which it uses in case of an emergency, as well as its fleet replacement reserve. The latter will go into funding and maintaining the current buses.
  • Fare Increase: The proposal includes the already approved $.25 fare increase in January 2010, but calls for another $.25 increase in 2011. This would move the base fare rate to $2.25. Desmond added that the projected 1% ridership decrease with fair increases was already factored into the budget deficit.
  • Bus Service Suspensions: 310,000 hours cut by 2011, with a possible total of 585,000 by 2013. This amounts to a 9% cut in service that will be spread out over all service lines. The first 50k in 2010 will be administrative, and will bypass the normal service change process that will be applied to the rest of the cuts. Desmond stressed that no routes will be removed, but cuts will be administered through reduced frequency, reduction or elimination of weekend routes, and earlier final stop times; all of which depend on the size and popularity of the route. “If you see a line on a Metro map today, that line will stay there,” said Desmond.