Meet the Capitol Hill Artist | Gabe Virgen and Rain Ceramics are making ‘cry pots’ on 10th Ave

(Images: Ananya Mishra)

Meet the Capitol Hill Artist is an occasional series on CHS documenting the lives of the artists behind the neighborhood’s galleries and arts venues.

By Ananya Mishra

“I’m here where I am now because of clay and clay is just dirt. It’s crazy to think about that.”

Gabe Virgen works 12 to 13 hours a day at his Capitol Hill business, Rain Ceramics. He is able to successfully live off of his passion by selling his ceramics, teaching pottery classes, and maintaining a studio for independent artists to work out of. As a solo entrepreneur, he is responsible for every aspect of the business, whether that’s reclaiming (recycling) clay, managing social media accounts, or cleaning up at the end of the day.

When he was younger, Gabe envisioned that he would work a salaried job with benefits. His parents immigrated to Olympia from Mexico in the 90s and often faced financial difficulties while he was growing up. Continue reading

After 70 years of helping raise Seattle kids, Capitol Hill Cooperative Preschool is closing

At the Burke (Image: Capitol Hill Cooperative Preschool)

There’s an alumni party coming up on Capitol Hill for generations of Seattle city kids.

After 70 years of helping little ones grow up into Seattle big kids, Capitol Hill Cooperative Preschool is closing its doors at the end of this school year due to low enrollment numbers. Its closure will be a challenge for some families but it is also a sign that things have changed when it comes to early childhood education in Seattle. Some of the older models like Seattle’s one-time robust community of co-op preschools are falling by the wayside.

“We are not alone in this struggle, as several other co-ops in the greater Seattle area are unfortunately closing for similar reasons,” Shannon King, CHCP chair said.

King says low enrollment numbers “have made it challenging for CHCP to continue operating.”

Those involved with the 10th Ave E school that shares a building with the Harbor Anglican Church just a short walk from Volunteer Park say the expansion of the Seattle Preschool Program through Seattle Public Schools and other community-based providers along with the expansion of Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program and Head Start has drastically increased childhood care and learning opportunities.

But they say families might also miss out on the co-op experience. The cooperative preschools model allows for kids to learn social, emotional and intellectual skills and for parents to improve their parenting skills, be involved in their children’s education, and form a community, co-op families say.

“It’s a great way to form a community really early on in your child’s life and receive a lot of support for the teachers and the parent educators,” teacher Elizabeth de Forest said. Continue reading

SDOT adding 57,000-gallon stormwater tanks as part of Madison RapidRide G bus line construction


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(Image: SDOT)

One major reason construction of the Madison RapidRide G bus line will take years not months is the heavy load of utility and infrastructure work the city has piled on to the project. The latest extra digging accompanying the transit project is taking place on Capitol Hill’s 10th Ave E where a stretch of the street will be closed for two months for the installation of a massive stormwater tank system to capture runoff.

The Seattle Department of Transportation says a short stretch of 10th between Union and Madison was closed for two months starting Monday for the project where crews will dig a trench in the street and install piping to build the stormwater tank in sections. Once sections of the tank are installed, the trench will be filled with dirt and the next segment’s work will begin. Water testing of the tank will follow and then the street must be repaved. Work crews will first remove the remaining street surface and then grade the entire area and repave it, SDOT says.

The new storage tanks are designed to be able to hold up to nearly 57,000 gallons of water when needed. Continue reading

Koko’s Restaurant — which grew into one of the ‘Best Restaurants in Washington State’ in Seabrook — coming to Capitol Hill’s 10th Ave

(Image: Koko’s Restaurant)

A restaurant and tequila bar that has grown into one of the state’s best dining experiences despite its far-flung location in the planned Olympic Peninsula community of Seabrook, Washington is bringing its “homemade, modern Latin cuisine” to 10th Ave.

Koko’s Restaurant is making plans for the former Heritage Distilling Capitol Hill tasting room that closed shop during the pandemic never to reopen. Continue reading

Habitat for Humanity just opened its first affordable condo building on Capitol Hill — and is getting ready to build another

Habitat for Humanity has brought its philosophies around equality — and sweat equity — in home ownership to 11th Ave E between Harrison and Republican on Capitol Hill.

Over the weekend, it celebrated the completion of the Capitol View Community building along with the new condo owners who will call the development home.

“My best friend used to live down the street from here near the park,” new owner Amber Cortes said at Saturday’s ceremony. “And she said when she first lived here 10 years ago, there were all sorts of people in the building — an opera singer, a landscaper, a pastry chef. And over the years, rent went up, housing cost went up, and people started moving out.”

“I’ve honestly lost track and count of all the artists I know who have moved out of Seattle, and they’re bringing their talents and their potential to enrich the city with them,” Cortes said.

Ownership of the 13 units at the Capitol View Community is restricted to households making 80% or less of Area Median Income. Habitat says 11 of the 13 units have completed the purchasing process with five going to BIPOC homebuyers. Part of the Habitat tradition, the new owners also gave 250 hours of “sweat equity” volunteer work as part of the purchasing process.

Continue reading

Police investigate gunfire at 10th and John

There were 911 reports of gunfire and a person shouting they had been shot but police found no victims in a Sunday night incident near 10th and John.

Callers reported the gunfire and shouting in an altercation reported just after 11 PM Sunday. Arriving police found the parties in the dispute and located a .45 caliber handgun in one of their vehicles. At least one shell casing was located nearby on the northeast corner of 10th and John, according to East Precinct radio updates.

Police reported they were in contact with the belligerents and said there were no reported injuries at the scene.

No immediate arrests were reported.


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INSERT COINS — Capitol Hill’s Time Warp arcade bar is ready to play


Subscribe to CHS to help us pay writers and photographers to cover the neighborhood. Become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month.



The year began with CHS reporting the dream of a Pike/Pine pinball arcade bar lived on. It will end with the dream becoming a reality.

Time Warp is ready for a December 2022 debut on 10th Ave in the heart of Pike/Pine with plans for a grand opening next week.

The project from buds and business collaborators Joe Ricci, Sean Bray, Tim Uomoto, and Greg Larson fired up its games and its drinks Wednesday night to put the pinball and arcade bar through a test run with the friends and loved ones who have been waiting to play since the venue was first planned in early 2020.

“We have a bunch of friends that are super into pinball,” Ricci said. “Seattle’s a huge pinball city.” Continue reading

Coming soon Fern Thai Eatery and Bar will put 10th and Union Soi restaurant space back in motion

(Image: Fern)

A space born in a brief era on Capitol Hill when bigger was better will finally go back into motion next month with a new restaurant at 10th and Union.

Fern Thai is expanding from its Bellevue Main Street original and taking over the large space left empty when Capitol Hill Thai concept Soi went dark during the pandemic.

Fern Thai says it plans to be open on Capitol Hill in September.

Husband and wife restaurateurs Gabe Wiborg and Yuie Helseth Soi were the first to grace the restaurant space, opening with a northeastern Thai-flavored menu and cocktails in the expansive Broadstone Infinity building in August of 2015. After finding success with their first restaurant venture in Kent Thai concern Banyan Tree, the couple were joining the booming Capitol Hill food and drink scene. Continue reading

O Maki Rolls + Teriyaki joining North Capitol Hill cluster of food and drink around The Roanoke

(Image: O Maki Rolls + Teriyaki)

Delivery and takeout friendly sushi rolls and teriyaki are joining a cluster of North Capitol Hill restaurants.

Plans for a “togo” version of Greenwood-born O Maki Rolls + Teriyaki are taking shape for the 10th Ave E space formerly home to the last Capitol Hill stand of Amante Pizza, the one-time E Olive Way joint notorious for its obnoxiously flashing signage. Continue reading

Signs of Capitol Hill normalcy: Little Oddfellows set to reopen inside Elliott Bay Book Company

A sign of normalcy — and a sign of the times — Little Oddfellows, one of Linda Derschang’s remaining Capitol Hill joints, is making tentative plans to reopen Friday inside 10th Ave’s Elliott Bay Book Company.

Even one of the city’s longest running food and drink entrepreneurs is being challenged by the pandemic’s ongoing impact on the labor force. Derschang says Friday’s opening is pending last minute hiring including an assistant manager and a line cook.

While the cafe has remained dark, the Elliott Bay store has continued to serve customers through the pandemic and is now a union shop. Retail on 10th Ave has also gone through some changes. Macklemore’s golf fashion play Bogey Boys stopped through for a temporary stay before teeing off again in University Village. New era furniture retailer Joybird is lined up to take over the former Everyday Music space across 10th Ave. Last summer, Glossier restarted its global beauty retail ambitions with a new store on the street. Continue reading