Neighborhood and Central Seattle Greenways activists volunteered their weekend to survey the merchant community along the Pike and Pine corridor from Broadway west toward Downtown. A $10 million protected bike lane route through the busy thoroughfare is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019.
Brie Gyncild of Central Seattle Greenways says the outreach campaign is simple. “Our entire goal is to ensure that the design works for everyone, including businesses. Understanding their needs, whether they be loading or parking or pedestrian safety or even aesthetics, lets us advocate for a design that accommodates their needs,” Gyncild said. UPDATE: We have updated Gyncild’s comments and removed a quote that was mis-reported by CHS. We apologize for the error. Continue reading
With $54M worth of structural and design upgrades underway, the Seattle Asian Art Museum renovation is just one of several ongoing projects in Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park. Nearly 120 years after the ridgeland was shaped by an Olmsted design, a passionate cohort of minders advocate, volunteer, and fundraise in order to preserve function and maximize recreation for the community. Sunday, some of these caretakers invite you to get your hands dirty along with them as they spruce up the park.
This Sunday is Fall Restoration Day at the park from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM when volunteers of all ages are invited to meet at the southeast entrance at Prospect and 15th Ave E to help with weeding, mulching and more. There will be free donuts and coffee.
Fall Restoration Day in Volunteer Park
“One of the positives of the park is that it hasn’t changed a whole lot in over 100 years,” said Parks and Recreation project manager Kelly Goold.
Closure of Capitol Hill’s Hilltop Service Station seemed inevitable this year after CHS first reported that after 48 years, the family-owned 15th Ave E property was officially promised to developer Cadence Capital for sale in July. Two months later, Hilltop is still a busy garage and there is a new but familiar owner.
“It’s the same great service that everybody is used to, just a little bit scaled down,” said Jim Peters, master mechanical technician who took over the service station this month.
Peters says even after 20 years at the station, people ask if he’s new to the garage. Usually the one under the hood, now he’s the only one left and doing it all himself with the occasional hand from the well known station crew who have gone on to seek their own fresh start when the sale was first announced. Continue reading
Vero Berrera-Kolb at work
Students at Seattle Central College got what they’ve been asking for this school year when the campus inaugurated a degree emphasis in Equity and Social Justice (ESJ).
“Students wanted to get credit for emphasizing on these issues,” said faculty member Vero Barrera-Kolb, who helped create the program. According to the SCC, achieving the emphasis will give students a demonstrated interest in subjects surrounding “human diversity, including race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, and more – with a focus on social justice and change.”
Clarissa Lunday, who was enrolled in LGBTQ studies class taught by Barrera-Kolb, was eager to be part of the new program. “One of my biggest goals is to become a lobbyist for women’s and sexual orientation rights and this emphasis will help with that,” she said. Continue reading
Wednesday, activists are planning to protest outside the opening of New Seasons in Ballard to bring attention, they say, to the private equity investment firm-owned grocery chain’s anti-labor, anti-union activities. In Madison Valley, another grocery chain is facing pushback but the circumstances are much different. A land development deal to build a six-story, mixed-use apartment building, anchored by a new PCC grocery store in the heart of Madison Valley is about to close but opposition from a neighborhood group, if successful, could stop construction from breaking ground any time soon.
Community group Save Madison Valley has opposed the scale of the project since Velmeir Companies agreed to purchased the property currently home to City People’s in 2016. Velmeir expects to receive final approval from the city in the next few weeks to begin work where the garden store currently resides. But a Save Madison Valley appeal could gum up the “master use permit” process.
“The area is ripe for development, but it’s been a development on steroids,” said Melissa Stoker, SMV spokesperson. Continue reading
Ross Kling owner of Rainbow Remedies considers issues of bulk and scale on 15th Ave (Images: CHS)
If 15th Ave E business owners and neighbors really can get their community priorities out in front a coming wave of redevelopment, these are the people who will help get it done.
The scene at Saturday’s design workshop and community input session for 15th Ave E was a veritable cast party of the neighborhood’s major players. Organized by the street’s resident designers at Board and Vellum and Environmental Works, neighbors, business owners, and quite a few architects assembled at the Summit on E Pike — maybe another community priority for 15th Ave E should be a large community meeting space — over the weekend to start the process of making their preferences known and documenting the design priorities ahead of planned development on 15th Ave E.
Board and Vellum’s Brian Baker said a vibrant and active streetscape will help keep the neighborhood safe, but measures should be taken to ensure small businesses won’t be left in the dust of large commercial development.
“I’m working on the Capitol Hill design guidelines and one of the things we are writing is to encourage flexible floorplans at ground level that can be reused, that can be adaptable and allow for smaller spaces for unique businesses to exist,” he said. Baker is also part of the design review guideline program for Capitol Hill. Continue reading
Durkan on 15th Ave E doing a little Saturday afternoon shopping (Images: CHS)
Following a low-profile tour of are businesses along the quieter side of Capitol Hill, Mayor Jenny Durkan met a small gathering of the public at the Miller Community Center on Saturday for a community conversation. Introduced as the city’s first female mayor in nearly 100 years, Seattle native Durkan gave a short address and fielded questions from the audience around homelessness, mental health, zoning laws, and the future of public transportation during the hour long event.
Though the Mayor announced millions in investments to reduce homelessness this year with affordable housing and addiction mitigation and City Hall under her watch is pursuing a $75 million-plus plan to create a new employee tax for big businesses, she said Saturday the city is only a cog in a wheel when it comes to its ability to fortify behavioral health services and facilities in within city limits.
“We are trying to get to a point where we can offer services on demand because we have had defunding of mental health services,” she said. “Right now most of the mental health and treatment dollars go from the state to the county, so if we don’t have a regional solution including both, we’ll never get to the point where we’ll have more mental health facilities, short term and long term in the community or state wide. “
Sara Galvin (Images: CHS)
Community thought leaders, activists and performers are organizing events around the city as part of Town Hall’s a year-long artists in residence event series. Designer Erik Molano brought together passionate activists for an ambitious undertaking with his first event, Histories of Capitol Hill and What We’ll Build Next. Before an audience at the Summit on E Pike last week they explored the challenge of maintaining the heritage of a community through growth and development.
“A lot of these buildings are being erased and with them the memories and people who inhabited them or gathered in and expressed themselves in those buildings,” said Molano, co-founder of brand agency Photon Factory. For Molano, who moved to Seattle five years ago to work at Microsoft, the demolition of old buildings “is a loss of history.”
Following individual poetry readings and a presentation from Capitol Hill Housing at the Summit on Pike, a group of community advocates responded to prompts from Molano in an effort to determine what preserving heritage in a developing city means. The group spoke on a wide range of intersectional issues related to the affordable housing crisis. Continue reading
It should come as no surprise that Seattle’s recycling game is among the top 10 of major United States cities but it might be a good time for a refresher considering 15 tons of material put in the recycling bin is rejected each day from the sorting plant.
“The Pacific Northwest is pretty good at recycling overall but it’s important to note, just because you recycle something, doesn’t mean it will be recycled,” said general manager of the local Recology/CleanScapes sorting facility Kevin Kelly. Taking the time to learn and properly stow materials will decrease the risk of those carefully sorted items ending up in the trash.
The stakes for getting the sorting done in your home have risen. The demand for Seattle materials has dropped hugely since 2017, Kelly said, due to losing China’s business which accounted for 50% of sales. China withdrew from international mixed-paper and glass markets with no sign of return after deeming the level of contaminants in recycling exports too high. The ban went into effect January 2018 and has impacted markets all over the world. In a few cases, without a buyer, tons of ready to be recycled goods around King County are being sent to the landfill. Continue reading
Council member Mike O’Brien (right) views a model of the planned convention center expansion (Image: CHS)
Fine tuning some $83 million in public benefits — and how quickly the cash to pay for them will be delivered — was the theme of the night as neighborhood, transit, and public space advocates came to City Hall Wednesday.
“The sooner we can get more money for affordable housing the better,” said Seattle City Council sustainability and transportation committee chair Mike O’Brien.
Wednesday’s hearing featured mostly speakers in support of the Community Package Coalition formed to create a shared platform of community priorities for a roster of public benefits to be exchanged for the vacation of “Block 33, Block 43, Block 44, Olive Way & Terry Avenue.” The city land is planned to be part of the construction of the estimated $1.6 billion Washington State Convention Center addition and development that will create a massive new exhibition facility across I-5 between Pike and Olive Way.
“Equity and equitable outcomes should be at the forefront of discussions around large real estate projects such as this one,” said McCaela Daffern from Capitol Hill Housing. “I ask that you make note of the significant contributions toward affordable housing secured thanks to advocacy of Capitol Hill housing and the rest of the coalition.” Continue reading