Explosions reported as fire scorches St. Mark’s greenbelt

Flames burned below St. Mark’s Cathedral Wednesday night as Seattle Fire battled a stubborn brush fire in the nearby greenbelt on the western edge of Capitol Hill above I-5.

Seattle Fire units were called to the scene along the 1300 block of Lakeview Ave E just after 8:30 PM as the fire spread and explosions were reported at an encampment in the brushy area. Continue reading

One dead in 18th Ave house fire — UPDATE

Thanks to @tygraham for the picture from the scene

One person was found dead as firefighters battled an early evening fire in a house near 18th and Madison Wednesday.

Seattle Fire confirmed a person was found dead inside the two-story house as crews continued to battle the blaze first reported in the 1600 block of 18th Ave just before 5:30 PM.

Neighbors reported a non-ambulatory elderly male lived at the residence with pets. Continue reading

30,000 doses — Biggest COVID vax week ever in Seattle as 4/15 ‘Phase Everybody’ approaches

Vaccinations underway at the Lumen Event Center (Image: City of Seattle)

The “largest allocation the city has received in a single week thus far” of COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Seattle and the city’s megasite is gearing up to serve thousands of patients:

The City of Seattle and its partners received over 30,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, which is the largest allocation the City has received in a single week thus far. This week, the Community Vaccination Site at the Lumen Field Event Center will administer its largest single day allocation to-date, and the Community Vaccination Hub in West Seattle will administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine all week, with a focus on critical workers.

UPDATE: Officials report 7,615 residents received vaccine Wednesday at Lumen.

The increase in supply comes just as demand is set to jump on April 15th when eligibility will be opened to all 6.3 million in the state 16 and older.

Wednesday, the city opened its list for the sites it operates for registration in preparation for the April 15th milestone, allowing those not yet eligible to add their names to the notification process:

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Add your name and contact information to this notification list. We will notify you via email when appointments become available. If you’re receiving Moderna or Pfizer, you will schedule your second dose during the process of scheduling your first dose. You should not expect to be notified every week.

“We encourage you to pursue multiple strategies for securing a vaccination appointment,” the city says. Continue reading

New salon and spa suite rental space on Broadway has its first customer — Pike/Pine’s Emerson Salon moving in

(Image: Emerson Salon)

A new hair and beauty venture set to open on Capitol Hill is already shaking up the neighborhood salon scene.

Emerson Salon, one of the first new Capitol Hill business CHS reported on when it opened more than a decade ago in Pike/Pine, is undergoing a shift in ownership and making a big change — leaving its longtime E Pike shopfront to be part of the new Mosaic Salon and Spa Studios on Broadway.

“Lancer and I are VERY excited to continue serving hair clients as individual service businesses on Capitol Hill inside Emerson Salon. It will stay a SAFE SPACE for LGBTQIA & BIPOC in Seattle,” D’Arcy Harrison said in the announcement of the change.

As part of the changes, Harrison said she is taking over full ownership with former co-owner Lancer Forney-McMahon staying on as a stylist with the new Emerson. Continue reading

Some in Seattle want to recall Seattle School Board members — Let’s talk about how to elect them

Seattle Public School kids are headed back to the classroom — and that’s something to celebrate (Image: Seattle Public Schools)

Capitol Hill’s school board seat will have a vacancy this year, and the incumbent has some thoughts for anyone interested in running. Board member Zachary DeWolf will not be running for re-election to the seat representing District 5, which covers the bulk of Capitol Hill, the Central District, downtown and the area near the stadiums.

It’s a tumultuous time for Seattle and the city’s relationship with its public schools is part of the choppy waters. Some are hoping to recall Seattle’s each and every school board member. Let’s talk about how to elect them.

The school board has a hybrid district/at-large system for elections. Only residents of a given district may vote in the August primary, but in the November General Election, the vote is citywide. And yes, the City Council districts and the School Board districts are different. Capitol Hill is in District 3 in the City Council, but 5 in the School Board.

The Board itself is in a time of transition, but then that’s pretty typical. It’s rare for a board member, formally called a director, to serve two terms; of the seven board members, only one, Leslie Harris, is in her second term. Two of the board’s seven seats are filled by people appointed to fill out the terms of directors who resigned. Of the remaining four, three were elected in 2019.

Capitol Hill’s DeWolf was elected in 2017 with 64% of the vote. He ran for City Council in 2019 and finished fourth in the primary with 12.6%.

DeWolf cautions anyone considering running that the school board is not an easy job. Board duties would typically take up 20-25 hours per week, and board members receive an annual stipend of less than $5,000.

“This is public service,” DeWolf said. “It is not meant to be our paid job. However, it is a $1 billion organization. There’s issues that come up a lot.”

So far one person, Michelle Sarju, a longtime Central District resident, Seattle school parent, and manager at King County Public Health, has formally announced her intention to run for DeWolf’s seat, and she has earned his endorsement. Continue reading

To protect those living in cars, Sawant calls for end of Seattle’s ’72-hour rule’

District 3 City Council representative Kshama Sawant is calling for the city’s to reinstate its suspension of restrictions that prohibit motor vehicles from being parked on streets for more than 72 hours.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and SDOT officials reinstated the rule this month after a year of pandemic moratoriums.

“For people forced to live in their cars – many of them working people – Durkan’s move could be catastrophic, costing them not only their vehicle, but also their only shelter and all their possessions,” Sawant writes. “The pandemic has worsened the severe housing crisis. We need affordable, social housing – not harassment of neighbors struggling to survive.”

The easing of Seattle parking restrictions last March including the city’s “72-hour rule” was positioned as a way to help residents get through stay at home restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis. Many on Capitol Hill celebrated the temporary end of having to shuffle their cars around the neighborhood’s high demand street parking every three days to avoid a ticket. Continue reading

Remember that f#!cking plane flying over Capitol Hill during last summer’s protest? Here’s what it was up to

In early June in the first days of Seattle’s summer of Black Lives Matter protests and the formation of CHOP, a strange, noisy, seemingly endlessly circling airplane added to the peculiar tension building on Capitol Hill.

Thanks to Seattle criminal defense attorney Nacim Bouchtia, we can now get a look at what that Cessna 206 was up to in the air above the neighborhood.

Bouchtia filed a public records request with the Washington State Patrol for video surveillance recorded by the plane this summer including its long, droning loops above Capitol Hill. Those videos have now been uploaded to Youtube here.

CHS reported on the plane and WSP’s assistance to law enforcement on the ground during early June protest activity around the East Precinct: Continue reading

Seattle Police Department says East Precinct wall can finally come down — if threats of ‘arson and property damage’ have passed

After only a couple hours of forklift work and a day or two more for the fencing, a barrier wall went up in August around the East Precinct headquarters.

It is taking much, much longer to take it down.

Three months after Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office said Seattle Police was beginning the process of removing the 12th and Pine barrier that has cut the building off from the neighborhood since late summer, the department announced this week it is… beginning the process.

“The Seattle Police Department has been actively engaging with Capitol Hill residents, business owners and community leaders and hears their concerns about the barriers at the East Precinct,” a statement released by SPD reads. “As a result of those discussions, work has begun. Broken windows are being replaced and will be covered temporarily with plywood. The concrete barrier will also be removed and replaced temporarily with a fence.”

SPD is “taking these steps,” it says, “to reduce obstacles between officers and the people we serve.”

Those steps to remove the bolted cement blocks and fencing have been taken with an abundance of caution. Continue reading

City honors outgoing chief librarian after ten years of Seattle Public Library service

(Image: Seattle Public Library)

The City of Seattle is honoring a decade of service from the Seattle Public Library’s chief librarian and executive director Marcellus Turner as he is stepping down from the position.

The Seattle City Council honored Turner on Monday with a proclamation recognizing his contributions to the city’s literary culture.

“Turner led the Seattle Public Library during two successful levies in 2012 and 2019. He prioritized equality by eliminating overdue fines and allowing people without proof of residence access to library materials,” the announcement of the proclamation reads. “Additionally, Turner led pioneering programs such as adding wi-fi hotspots to circulation so more households have access to the internet, and installing a social worker at the Central Library to better serve Seattle’s homelessness communities.” Continue reading

Thanks, Mayor Pete: E Madison bus rapid transit project gets $60M in federal funding — Here’s a block by block look at the planned changes to the street

Mayor Pete has come through. Monday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $187 million in federal funding for four bus rapid transit projects — San Bernardino, California, Ogden, Utah, Everett, Washington, and right here on E Madison in Seattle:

The City of Seattle Department of Transportation will receive a $59.9 million allocation for the Madison Street BRT project, a 2.3-mile east-west BRT line operating diesel-electric buses along Madison Street spanning from downtown Seattle in the west to the Madison Valley neighborhood in the east, with connections in First Hill, Capitol Hill, and the Central Area. It will connect people to hospitals, schools, businesses, and other destinations as well as to dozens of bus routes, the First Hill Streetcar, and ferry service at the Colman Dock Ferry Terminal.

The federal money helps put the $134 million Madison bus rapid transit project on path for its planned 2024 start of service of the Metro RapidRide G line, a 2.3-mile, 10-station route connecting the waterfront through First Hill and Capitol Hill to Madison Valley.

The final designs for the BRT route’s major overhaul to the Madison corridor’s streetscape were finalized last year. You can check out a block by block look at the changes below.

Continue reading