Breaking news: About a year ago, Capitol Hill lost a Starbucks

(Image: Redside Partners)

The Starbucks at Broadway and Pike is permanently closed, the company says. Now there are only 13 across Capitol Hill and the Central District.

Masked by pandemic plywood and temporary closures of other Capitol Hill locations of the Seattle coffee giant during ongoing protests, the permanent exit of the Starbucks in Broadway’s old State Bank building came last July, a spokesperson for the company told CHS this week.

“As part of Starbucks standard course of business, we continually evaluate our business to ensure a healthy store portfolio,” the spokesperson said.

The closure joins a long list of Capitol Hill venues that went out of business during the pandemic and will likely be part of another long roster of closures we find out about only as the economy more fully reopens after months of COVID-19 restrictions. Continue reading

City says won’t permit Juneteenth celebration in Cal Anderson on anniversary of CHOP formation — UPDATE

Seattle Parks and the city’s Office of Economic Development have issued last-minute denials of permits for an event in Cal Anderson on the one-year anniversary of the formation of the occupied protest on Capitol Hill.

CHS reported on the June 11th to June 13th celebration planned for months by a CHOP Art group amid a call from the city for proposals for events and activities to activate the park and help the area recover from a year of protests, encampments, and pandemic.

In denying the permit, Seattle Parks and Recreation said it is holding Cal Anderson area events to “higher-than-usual safety and security standards” due to the protests and two homicides around the occupied zone last summer:

SPR is committed to creating spaces for community members to gather while also preserving the public safety and public health of the area. However, because of the extensive protest activity and the lacts (sic) of violence that occurred at the park and the surrounding area last summer and fall, as well as the significant restoration and cleanup efforts that were needed to restore the park, SPR is using higher-than-usual safety and security standards to evaluate all permit requests at Cal Anderson and Bobby Morris Playfield.

The parks department also said community backlash shaped its decisions. Continue reading

Nature is healing: Seattle bumps up parking rates but Capitol Hill still far from $4.50/hour pre-pandemic levels

(Image: Ryan Packer)

By Ryan Packer

Capitol Hill’s on-street parking rates are going to stay pretty affordable, at least for the foreseeable future.

Last week, the latest adjustment to citywide metered parking rates took effect, as the Seattle Department of Transportation says it is trying to match demand as vaccination rates increase and businesses welcome more customers. But unlike other cities that have reinstated their old, pre-COVID parking meter rates, Seattle is keeping a base rate of 50 cents per hour and adjusting that based on demand. As a result, parking a car in Pike/Pine will actually be cheaper than it was when SDOT adjusted rates back in February.

Will you be paying early 2020 rates to park a car in any on-street spaces on the Hill anytime soon? Not likely. Pre-pandemic rates hit as high as $4.50 per hour during evening hours in the heart of Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, rates in First Hill are inching just a bit closer to their former peak rate of $5 per hour, with $2 per hour morning rate and $1.50 at mid-day.

Here are the new hourly rates as of June 1st: Continue reading

Sawant celebrates Renters’ Bill of Rights progress, says earlier rent increase notification and relocation cost legislation next

Sawant office volunteers and staff collecting signatures in support of her Renters’ Bill of Rights (Image: Office of Kshama Sawant)

The District 3 representative for Capitol Hill and the Central District celebrated a suite of renter protections passed by the Seattle City Council Monday with a call for more.

“Today’s bills put people before profits. They put the rights of renters above the interests of corporate landlords. They prioritize housing stability instead of racist gentrification,” Councilmember Kshama Sawant said in an announcement of Monday’s full council votes. “I especially want to congratulate the hundreds of community members who wrote letters to City Councilmembers in the days leading up to today’s votes, and to the dozens of community members who spoke out in public comment against watering down the bills with pro-corporate landlord amendments that were introduced two weeks ago.” Continue reading

Durkan’s $100M Black Lives Matter promise: equity task force recommendations, call for proposals for $30M in land and property spending

A promise made at the height of Seattle’s Black Lives Matter protests last year, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s pledge of $100 million in spending to address inequity in the city is moving forward with new recommendations and a new call for proposals for $30 million in land and property acquisitions to help address displacement in the city.

The pledge made last year as Durkan attempted to address unrest and demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd is a complicated, four-part mix including new programs and counting previously existing initiatives toward her $100 million total.

“We face many challenges in recovery ahead, but as we continue to build back better, hope is on the horizon for communities across the City,” Durkan said in an announcement on recent progress on the $100 million goal.

Durkan’s 4-part $100M pledge:
The first part, participatory budgeting, isn’t a Durkan administration initiative but is being counted toward the $100 million pledge and could end up the the strongest new investment in the mix, putting a $30 million package of spending beneath the Office of Civil Rights to shape a community driven social and service plan.

2) But the mayor’s office has another $30 million component of the pledge being shaped by her 26-member Equitable Communities Initiative task force that could put real spending plans forward sooner. The task force, the second big component of the $100 million pledge, last week delivered a key recommendation set that the mayor’s office says will shape a new ordinance. The City Council will then shape the final legislation. Continue reading

CHS Pics | A weekend of Pride clean-ups and politician photo ops on Capitol Hill

(Image: Kelly O Photography)

Things looked about as close to normal as they get on Capitol Hill over the weekend with a community clean-up spreading through the neighborhood around Cal Anderson Park and politicians making visits to the Hill for photo opportunities and rare chances to mingle after months of COVID-19 restrictions.

At Cal Anderson, the annual Pride clean-up helped brighten the park and tidy the streets. Around 200 volunteers helped out “from the freeway to 15th and Roy to Madison,” PrideFest’s Egan Orion tells CHS about Sunday’s Taking Pride in Capitol Hill clean-up. Continue reading

Murder: New information on woman found dead below Interlaken Park — UPDATE

Seattle Police are continuing to investigate the murder of a woman found dead in the wooded area below Interlaken Park behind a Montlake home last week.

Investigators have identified the woman as Necia Mckendrick. The King County Medical Examiner says the 45-year-old was killed about a week before her body was found on the afternoon of Sunday, May 30th in a small stream below the park by a homeowner who called 911 about the sad discovery.

Investigators have determined McKendrick died of “multiple blunt force injuries” around May 23rd. Continue reading

New start for Cafe Racer to bring live music and community to Capitol Hill’s 11th Ave

(Image: Cafe Racer)

An important name in Seattle cafes and community will start a new life in a new neighborhood and bring a new venue to Pike/Pine’s live music scene later this year when Cafe Racer opens in its new incarnation on Capitol Hill.

Jeff Ramsey and Cindy Anne announced over the weekend they are bringing the spirit of the much-loved original Roosevelt Way cafe to the creation of a new music venue in the former Barca location on 11th Ave.

Ramsey tells CHS the new Racer will fill the cool old bar space with the feel of the old cafe and a new sound system to support a nightly schedule of live shows. Continue reading

Amid city’s sweeps and a continuing crisis, Seattle mayoral candidates on homelessness: Guaranteed basic income, more public housing, ’emergency’ rental assistance, and ‘Compassion Seattle’

Guaranteed basic income for 16,000 Seattle families. A new income tax to fund a new housing Public Development Authority. An expansion of emergency rental assistance. Juicing federal dollars for all their worth.

These were just a few of the solutions floated by Seattle top mayoral candidates at a forum on the homelessness crisis last week hosted by We Are In, a local advocacy organization.

“Compassion Seattle”
One of the central questions of this race is where the candidates stand on a proposed new amendment to the city charter to spend more money on housing and public services and require that public spaces like parks be kept clear of homeless encampments.

Former Seattle City Council president Bruce Harrell said he supports it, but concedes it isn’t perfect. SEED Seattle’s Lance Randall said there are “a lot of things that need to be worked out,” but notes it puts pressure on city leaders to act.

On the other side, Capitol Hill architect Andrew Grant Houston said he was “vehemently” opposed to the amendment, saying “I am not interested in an attempt to legalize sweeps” and that the campaign in favor of it, “Compassion Seattle,” did not consult the Lived Experience Coalition, which is made up of homeless and formerly homeless people. Continue reading

This week in CHS history | CHOP ‘autonomous zone’ forms, Asian Art Museum expansion opposition denied, Pulse vigil in Cal Anderson

Here are the top stories from this week in CHS history:



‘Welcome to Free Capitol Hill’ — Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone forms around emptied East Precinct — UPDATE

Sawant and protesters — briefly — occupy Seattle City Hall as Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone grows — UPDATE

Continue reading