True Hope Village, a tiny piece of Seattle’s big homelessness and affordability problem, moves forward in the Central District

Employees of Vulcan gathered for a day of community service to construct the 30 homes destined for the Central District’s True Hope Village (Image: Vulcan)

Monday afternoon, the Seattle City Council is set to approve the legislative underpinning to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s “bridge housing” plan creating a $9.5 million a year program for shelter and “tiny house” encampments. So-called bridge housing is the rare cog in Seattle City Hall’s engine that still seems spinning forward for solutions to the city’s intertwined homelessness and affordability crisis. And, despite pushback from within and from beyond the neighborhood, a new tiny house village planned for the Central District might be the most solid effort at this point to build something new to help put more people in shelter.

CHS reported earlier on plans for the encampment and a set of community meetings about the project. The vision has withstood the process. True Hope Village is being constructed at 18th Ave and E Yesler Way.

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), which is leading the project, has learned from past skepticism and opposition to the village projects, organizing community meetings earlier in the process to give a space for nearby residents to voice their concerns and create transparency, Josh Castle, director of advocacy and community engagement for LIHI, said. Continue reading

Doghouse’s leather and kink retail project set to kick new life into 107-year-old Pike/Pine building with a (probably) racy past

A Capitol Hill leather and kink shop is set to be at the heart of an overhaul of an overlooked but history-packed 107-year-old building on a key E Pike block.

Doghouse Leathers is starting in on design planning for a new home at 715 E Pike in the 1911-built building sandwiched by Saint John’s and Stitches and Babeland that is one of the few auto row-era structures still standing that has not yet been transformed for the new Pike/Pine.

“In my 35+ years dealing with Pike/Pine, I have never seen anything in that location other than the construction office for Pike Motorworks,” Doghouse owner Jeff Henness tells CHS. Continue reading

Street Critic | The Audacity of Volunteers — an I-5 lid update

Riisa Conklin and Alex Zeilier of the Freeway Park Association presenting design principles (Image: Scott Bonjukian)

Tuesday, June 5th saw the second gathering of the faithful for the Central Hills Triangle Collaborative (CHTC), a partnership between PPUNC (the Pike|Pine Urban Neighborhood Council) and Lid I-5. An all-volunteer effort, the goal of the CHTC is to provide visionary urban designs to inspire Seattleites to advocate for covering Interstate 5 with parks, housing, and neighborhood centers. While no public agency has committed to our vision, Lid I-5 was recently successful in securing a $1.5M grant for the City of Seattle to begin a year-long feasibility study. In addition, Lid I-5 continues to have promising discussions with civic leaders and WSDOT and we have been invited by the DOT to a work group that is studying I-5’s future in the Puget Sound Region. With the CHTC’s results in hand we are confident we can capture the public’s imagination and convince leaders to transform Seattle by re-imagining its largest publicly-owned asset.

Spirits were high and the results of the seven teams’ efforts were remarkable. Beginning with the Connections Team (infrastructure, mobility, and branding) and progressing through the South (recreation), Central (commerce), and North (housing) Teams, it was apparent that each team was excited in presenting their work and in the work of their fellow designers. Scott B, Sony P, and I were excited too, not only by the goodwill and cheer exuded by the teams but also by our recent success in the $1.5M grant. The work of the CHTC will help the city visualize and define the scope of work for their RFQ scheduled for later this year. Continue reading

Pikes/Pines | Let the mystery… bee

During my life as a naturalist, I’ve been thrown into fits of excitement. Maybe I saw a new bird I’d been lusting after, or connected the dots between a plant’s niche in a landscape and the adaptations that define its appearance. Rarely though, does it involve bursting my bubble about a whole family of creatures. This past week, I had that experience with native bees.

Now, I’d never call myself an expert on pollinators, let alone bees. However, I’ve previously felt I had a broad enough grasp on entomology, and even the Order Hymenoptera which encompasses ants, wasps, and bees. I even know a thing or two about the natural histories of bumblebees and the European honey bee. Yet, when I sat down to listen to naturalist and native bee expert Dr. Don Rolfs, my mind was truly blown.

First off, raise your hand if you knew that there are at least 600 or so native species of bees in Washington? Next, tell me if you knew that around 95% of those species are solitary and don’t live in colonies, And then, tell me, how many are smaller than the length of your pinky finger nail? In fact, at least half are so tiny you’d hardly notice them. Continue reading

CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

Just tryin to solve this black hood nonsense. #whodunnit ?¿ 👻🧐

A post shared by O L I V I A F R A N C E S ✨ (@oliviafrances143) on

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 36,000 photographs — most of Capitol Hill images, many glorious, some technically amazing. The pool is a mix of contributions from Capitol Hill — and nearby — shutterbugs. Interested in being part of it? If we like your photo and it helps us tell the story, we may feature it on CHS so please include your name and/or a link to your website so we can properly credit you. Interested in working as a paid CHS contributor for scheduled assignments? Drop us a line.

We also keep our eyes on the #capitolhillseattle Instagram tag —- you should, too! Below are this week’s best Capitol Hill shots. Thanks for sharing! Continue reading

Video shows reported racial harassment at Capitol Hill QFC

Here is the video of a confrontation between a manager and two black customers inside Capitol Hill’s Harvard Market QFC that, the Seattle Times reports, resulted in the employee’s suspension and an apology from the company.

The posted video begins with the men at the Pike and Broadway store’s self-checkout as they are being told to leave the grocery by the manager and security.

“You’re harassing me. I’m paying for this shit and you’re harassing us,” complains one man in the video. The manager, with the name “Brian” on his employee tag, responds to accusations of racism, telling the men,  “I don’t want you back in my store. It’s private property.”

The Seattle Times reports that QFC President Suzy Monford apologized for Tuesday’s incident — “As president of QFC, I apologize on behalf of our entire team to the customers involved” — and that the manager was being suspended “until we have all the facts.”

The incident comes amid increased efforts around bias training for big companies following Seattle-based Starbucks’s decision to close its thousands of stores for a day of training last month after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia location of the coffee chain.

Design board settles on big new mural to solve Capitol Hill building’s color problem

The mural is planned to cover this giant blank cement wall currently facing the FAME Church parking lot

Murals solve everything. The fix for this Capitol Hill building forced to return to design review this week because it has the wrong color siding will be a giant mural running the length of the western wall below the Broadcast Apartments. No matter the solution, the situation is going to be a challenging and potentially expensive outcome for the developer.

The East Design Review Board settled on the solution Wednesday night in an extraordinary session for the body that had it questioning the very essence of its own existence. “Should we accept a $5,000 mural vs. a $50,000 fix?” one board member asked.

At issue was the bronze-colored siding used across the entirety of the completed and occupied Broadcast building, the champagne-colored siding that was supposed to be used on the structure’s vertical “fins” but wasn’t because the developer says the material was not available, and, of course, what to do about it. Continue reading

The Belmont debuts as Capitol Hill wine bar transforms to add cocktails to the mix

A quick change at E Pike and Belmont (Image: The Belmont)

The revolution is over. It’s time for a cocktail.

Owner Mark Brown tells CHS that the closing of his Capitol Hill wine lounge and bottle shop Revolution Wine is also the opening for a project with a new twist.

The Belmont opens Thursday night as “a wine and cocktail lounge inspired by the eccentric London social clubs like The Groucho, Soho House and Blacks Club.”

“We want to create an adult hangout spot on Capitol Hill, a comfortable space to meet with light fare, an excellent wine program, and well-made craft cocktails,” Brown writes.

Continue reading

20 years of community engagement set to pay off as ground breaks on Capitol Hill Station’s ‘transit oriented development’

The future view of “Building A” from Broadway (Image: Hewitt)

On Tuesday, June 19th, a celebration for the groundbreaking of the new development at Capitol Hill Station will be held at the Broadway site. The event will include live music, the Capitol Hill Neighborhood Farmers Market, and food and drinks from local businesses. The festivities, organizers say, are a way of giving back to a community that has done so much over the past two decades to make the project a reality.

Capitol Hill Station Development Groundbreaking

The idea for the development on Sound Transit’s surplus land surrounding the station first began to shape in the late 1990s when light rail was first being pitched and developed. The community didn’t want a simple brick plaza to lay in the empty space created by the station, and saw this as a way of revitalizing the Broadway corridor that had lost much of its vibrancy.

“The goal was to restore the heart of Broadway,” Cathy Hillenbrand, a longtime community advocate of the undertaking said. Continue reading