With pop-ups for vulnerable communities, Seattle looks to turn the tide on inequity in COVID-19 vaccinations

Lucille Henry receives her first Covid-19 vaccine

With reporting and photography by Alex Garland

Tents are up tonight at Miller Playfield’s sport courts where the pickle ball players usually rule. It’s a COVID-19 vaccination pop-up just off 19th Ave E for the city’s deaf and blind communities.

Last week, CHS watched as seniors from the Central District traveled to 14th Ave’s First African Methodist Episcopal Church for another vaccination effort to reach a community that has so far been underrepresented in the state’s totals.

The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Seattle and across Washington hasn’t been exactly equitable but efforts in the city to help reach vulnerable communities are helping to address the inequities one pop-up at a time.

BIPOC elders gathered at FAME last week to receive their first dose of the Moderna vaccine administered by Seattle Fire at one of the pop-up vaccination clinics being hosted across the city.

Alesia Cannady was one of the group of grandmothers who came in together for the Thursday session. Continue reading

From market rate to affordable, Low Income Housing Institute buying brand new Capitol Hill apartment building

(Image: LIHI)

A newly constructed Capitol Hill apartment building destined to become part of the neighborhood’s market rate housing will instead be used for affordable housing.

With a mix of public financing, Low Income Housing Institute says it is buying the newly constructed, seven story, 76-unit apartment development in the 600 block of E Howell. LIHI announced the Clay Apartments deal late last year but the Seattle Times reported on the transition of the “building planned for upscale market-rate rentals into affordable housing for people who are currently homeless” this week. Continue reading

Like most of Capitol Hill, 15th Ave E hit by COVID-19 closures — What happens when QFC leaves?

From the 2017 sale listing for the 15th Ave E QFC property

It’s hard not to be a little concerned when a COVID-19 testing center that opened on the street can’t even stay open during a pandemic, but, believe it or not, 15th Ave E won’t live or die by the exit of QFC from the top of Capitol Hill — even if massive parent grocery company Kroger makes things difficult.

An empty 17,000-square-foot grocery store might add to the pandemic’s plywood, recent closures, and a few businesses in a kind of limbo making it feel like 15th Ave E’s commercial core has met its match but those doing business in the neighborhood are not giving up.

Tuesday, CHS reported that the 15th Ave E grocery store will shutter in April as the company says Seattle’s $4 an hour COVID-19 hazard pay has forced it to cut two underperforming stores in the city. The company says it will meet with the store’s workers to “help them with this transition and will comply with any contractual commitments” and “consider any transfer requests.”

CHS has learned the grocer has two years remaining on its lease and developer and property owner Hunters Capital says it is talking with the company about keeping the store and its 10,000-square-foot surface parking lot a useful, active part of the neighborhood.

“The activation of storefronts is critical – especially at this time when we see many of them darkened,” Hunters representative Jill Cronauer tells CHS.

“QFC holds a lease for another two years and we will be working with them on how we can activate the area until there is a long-term plan in place,” Cronauer said. Continue reading

Seattle’s temporary ‘Clean City’ surge claims 1M pounds of trash collected from parks and neighborhoods last month

Mayor Jenny Durkan is touting her “Clean City” initiative as a success based on volume alone — the program is claiming 1,000,000 pounds of trash collected in January from parks and neighborhoods across the city.

“The pandemic has taken a toll on our community in many unseen ways, one is the growing graffiti, trash and garbage in parks and on streets,” Durkan said in a press release on the 1 million pound milestone. “The Clean City Initiative has increased our focus on removing trash to begin to set Seattle up for clear road to recovery—for our businesses, schools, neighborhoods, and residents. We have much more work ahead to deliver for our residents and businesses.”

CHS reported here on Durkan’s $5.6M “temporary surge in increased trash pick-up” and “proactive cleaning in parks and open spaces.”

The city says the initiative has included clean-ups at Cal Anderson following the sweep of encampments at the park and around Miller Community Center where a large collection of tents and shelters has grown. “This work includes additional litter routes, weekly park and neighborhood focuses, increased trash pickup from encampments and RVs, and additional needle collection efforts,” the city says. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | KEXP Presents Live Music Heals; New Coffee Collaboration with Caffe Vita

From KEXP and Caffe Vita

Seattle-based non-profit radio station KEXP has long championed the power of live music. Caffe Vita has spent the last 25 years keeping Seattle’s coffee and music lovers caffeinated. Now KEXP & Vita are collaborating on the very first KEXP coffee blend, with $2 from each bag donated to Keep Music Live with all donations matched by Caffe Vita.

The coffee collaboration will be officially launched tomorrow, Thursday February 18th, when KEXP will also be taking to the airwaves with a full day of radio programming dedicated to stories about why live music matters in the latest edition of their Music Heals series, Live Music Heals

For the past month, KEXP has been collecting stories from listeners and friends about the ways live music has helped them find connection, process difficulties, and enjoy music more deeply. For Live Music Heals, KEXP will share those stories, along with more that come in throughout the day, playing requests and live tracks, and highlighting the impact that COVID has had on live music venues and the role music lovers can play in keeping them in good shape to return when it’s safe. Listeners can tune in on Thursday Feb 18th from 7AM to 7PM Pacific at 90.3 FM in Seattle, online at KEXP.ORG and on the KEXP apps. The programming will be available for listening on-demand in the station’s streaming archive for two weeks following the broadcast. Continue reading

9’s | Broadway at Roy

The intersection of Broadway and Roy is another spot where Capitol Hill zigs when you might have expected it to zag. Capitol Hill’s main drag shifts a block here, becoming 10th Ave E if you are headed north. Southbound as you shift, you are entering the Broadway core of Capitol Hill. Some of the older buildings have hidden evidence of this adjustment to the street behind facades and additions to fill the weird gaps that happen when you move a road and sidewalks. These days, the zig zag is home to a collection of neighborhood favorites including the old like the DeLuxe and Rom Mai and newcomers like Carrello and Bait Shop. Broadway continues 1.6 miles south until it ends at a T junctions with E Yesler Way.

9’s is a regular photo series with a simple premise. CHS visits a corner of the Hill twice — once at 9 AM and again at 9 PM — to capture the scenes of the neighborhood in motion. Have a space you’d like us to feature? Let us know in comments.

Seattle firefighter in Sawant email threat case charged with identity theft and ‘cyberstalking’

The most serious crime in the investigation of email threats against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant might not end up being the threats.

Seattle Fire Department firefighter Andrew Finseth has been charged with second degree identity theft — a felony — and two counts of misdemeanor cyberstalking. The King County Prosecutor’s office did not pursue a charge of felony harassment. “This charging decision is based on our independent review of the investigation materials referred to us by Seattle Police investigators,” the office said in a statement to media.

Both a felony harassment charge and a second degree identity theft charge in Washington are considered Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

CHS reported here on Finseth’s arrest after police determined the firefighter had accessed the email account of another Seattle Fire employee to send threats targeting Sawant. Continue reading

Central District murder updates: A candlelight vigil at Urban League Village and Seattle’s second deadly police shooting in a week — UPDATE: Officers ID’d

(Image: Renee Raketty)

With reporting by Renee Raketty

A night for community healing in the Central District after last week’s homicide and deadly police shooting included a candlelight vigil outside the Northwest African American Museum in Jimi Hendrix Park where a crowd gathered to remember the life of 23-year-old Anais Valencia.

But Tuesday night also brought another shock of deadly force by law enforcement in Seattle as police shot and killed a man suffering a crisis and reportedly armed with a knife in an incident on the city’s waterfront.

In the Central District in the hours before the second deadly Seattle Police shooting in the week, thoughts were with Valencia and her family.

“For too long we have accepted violence as normal,” said Rev. Harriet Walden of Mothers for Police Accountability. “I want to send my heartfelt condolences to the family and I hope that this can bring them comfort. … I want to wrap them in love tonight.” Continue reading

The Cayton-Revels House: a landmark to Seattle’s Black history on 14th Ave E — UPDATE

(Source: Seattle Landmark Nomination: THE CAYTON-REVELS HOUSE)

Capitol Hill’s historic Cayton-Revels House is up for nomination for landmark designation Wednesday afternoon with the City of Seattle. Built in 1902, the Queen Anne Victorian-style house was once the home of Horace Roscoe Cayton, publisher of Seattle Black-owned newspaper the Seattle Republican, and his wife and associate editor Susie Sumner Revels Cayton. Community members and the home’s current owners say the landmark designation would be a significant and necessary acknowledgement of Seattle’s Black history.

CHS reported here on the efforts of the 14th and Mercer structure’s owners to achieve landmark status and protections for the 1902-built house, honor the Cayton-Revels family, and recognize the legacy of the racial covenants that shaped Capitol Hill. According to the landmarks nomination, “the Caytons were one of only three Black American families living in today’s definition of Capitol Hill​ before racial restrictive covenants barred non-white residents in 1927.”

You can learn more about the meeting and how to provide public comment here.

UPDATE: The board voted unanimously for the house to move on to the designation phase. The big vote will take place in early April.

The Seattle Republican was one of the most widely-read newspapers in the region at that time. In print from 1894 to 1913, the Republican appealed to national and local audiences of all races, but primarily focused on local politics and the Black experience. Horace Cayton, born a slave on a Mississippi cotton plantation and educated at Alcorn University, made his way to the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of greater freedoms in the frontier-era West. As Seattle changed from a frontier town to a growing city with increasingly racist power structures and property covenants, Black families were pushed into the Central District, where the Cayton-Revels eventually relocated.

“The Caytons were one of the most well-known Black American families in Seattle at the turn of the 20th century because of their business and political involvements,” said Taha Ebrahimi, a Capitol Hill resident who researched and wrote the 142-page landmark proposal for the Cayton-Revels house. Continue reading

Washington makes push for return to in-person learning with expanded COVID-19 testing plan for schools — but no plan, yet, for vaccinating teachers

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is pushing forward with efforts to encourage the state’s public school districts to return to in-person learning.

Tuesday, Inslee announced expanded funding and support for COVID-19 testing, one of the few levers the state can control in urging officials across the state and in its biggest city to resume in-class instruction. 48 new school districts signed up for the voluntary program, the governor said.

The program currently serves 13 districts piloting the COVID-19 testing protocols. That program will now expand across the state. In King County, districts in Renton and Vashon Island will be part of the testing effort. Early results show that cases of transmission in schools have been rare. Continue reading