As Seattle struggles to meet larger Black Lives Matter goals, city will transfer two more Central District properties to community ownership

Fire Station 6

Protesters outside Seattle’s emergency operations center this summer

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday to transfer two long-sought Central District properties back to the community after years of hope and promises including pledges from Mayor Jenny Durkan this summer as Black Lives Matter movement demonstrations grew in Seattle.

The transfer of the Central Area Senior Center on 30th Ave and Fire Station 6 at 23rd and Yesler comes after an increased push in recent months connected to protests and demands from community groups and activists.

Africatown Community Land Trust, which has been pushing the city to transfer the property for seven years, will now have a 99-year lease on the fire station property. The organization will look to turn the decommissioned space into the William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation, which advocates hope will serve as a technological hub of a community that hasn’t had as much access to the resources needed to be successful.

“This community asset will help close the gap we are already seeing in Seattle where there is an astronomical economic growth that is not resulting in all communities benefiting,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who sponsored the legislation for both transfers.

Community organizer TraeAnna Holiday told CHS last month, for example, that she hopes children will be able to use 3D printers there they wouldn’t have had otherwise which could make them better candidates for local jobs.

The city designated this site as ripe for a possible cultural center four years ago, but the process was fast-forwarded after the transfer was included as one of the hyper-local demands from recent protests.

Africatown held a press conference with hundreds in attendance in front of the fire station in June, calling on the city to finally make the transfer. Continue reading

One shot in reported 23rd Ave driveby

One person was hospitalized after a reported driveby shooting Sunday night near 23rd and Dearborn.

Police were called to reports of gunfire near a store in the area around 10:30 PM and found a male victim on the ground suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Seattle Fire arrived to treat the victim and rush him to the hospital.

Police say it was not believed his injuries were life-threatening. Continue reading

Teen injured in late August Central District shooting has died

Seattle Police announced that the 17-year-old dropped at the hospital with gunshot wounds following gunfire at 23rd and Yesler two weeks ago died Monday night from injuries suffered in the incident.

CHS reported here on the August 26th shooting. The teen has not yet been publicly identified.

The death comes amid a rash of shootings across Central and South Seattle and marks the sixth homicide in the East Precinct so far in 2020. There were five murders investigated in the precinct in all of 2019, and three in 2018.

Citywide, there have been 26 homicides reported so far this year. 28 were murdered here in all of 2019.

In the Central District, a deadly shooting at 23rd and Cherry in late July claimed the life of 17-year-old Adriel Webb. Another shooting at that intersection a few nights later left another victim dead. CHS does not know the identity of that person.


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SPD investigating 23rd and Yesler shooting

A gunshot wound victim was dropped at Harborview Wednesday night just minutes after a round of gunfire from a vehicle was reported at 23rd and Yesler.

Seattle Police were collecting evidence at the Central District shooting scene and the hospital where the victim was delivered via private vehicle.

According to East Precinct radio reports, 911 callers reported seeing a shooter open fire just before 9 PM from inside a vehicle at 23rd and Yesler where police found multiple shell casings.

Police were working to determine if the shooting victim at Harborview was related to the 23rd and Yesler incident.

SPD assistant chief Adrian Diaz and Mayor Jenny Durkan said last week the city has seen a major increase in shots fired incidents since June 1st, a trend also seen in other major U.S. cities.

UPDATE 8/27/20 5:30 PM: SPD reports that a 17-year-old is in critical condition:

Detectives are investigating after a 17-year-old was shot and wounded Wednesday evening in the Central District.

At 8:48 PM, officers were called to 23rd Avenue and Yesler Way for a report of gunfire. Police arrived and spoke with witnesses, and learned a 17-year-old male with a gunshot wound had arrived at Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

SPD’s Gang Unit is investigating. If you have any information about this case, please call the Violent Crimes Tipline at 206 233 5000.


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Spurred by Seattle protests, city says will finally transfer Central District’s Fire Station 6 to Africatown — UPDATE

(Image: Joe Mabel/City of Seattle)

Seattle’s crises of 2020 have caused major disruptions, delays, and postponements. But they have also accelerated and unstuck some changes that should have happened in the city long ago.

Friday, the City of Seattle announced it will transfer the Fire Station 6 property at 23rd Ave and Yesler to community ownership, clearing the way for an Africatown-led redevelopment plan after more than seven years of process over the decommissioned facility.

“We at the City of Seattle understand the urgency behind making bold investments in the Black community and increasing community ownership of land in the Central District,” the brief announcement reads. “The City believes in the vision behind the William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation and we remain committed to making the transfer of Fire Station 6 to the community a reality.” Continue reading

Developer behind 23rd Ave church land buy and mixed-use project says ‘contending gentrification in Seattle’s Central District’

Jaebadiah Gardner

Gardner Global and its Onpoint real estate firm have announced more details of the 23rd Ave church property purchase and development plans CHS reported on earlier this month.

“We have an unbelievable opportunity to be creative in a way that gives back,” Jaebadiah Gardner, CEO of Gardner Global said in the company’s announcement of the project. “Our company slogan is #letsbuildwealth and this project is an example of how we are doing exactly that. Through this project. we’re providing non- traditional real estate investors an opportunity to be directly involved in the ownership.” Continue reading

Six-story development planned for 23rd Ave church property

There is more change coming to 23rd and Union with another Black church a step closer to its exit from the neighborhood so its land can be developed. A developer “dedicated to partnership and community growth” is making early plans for a new mixed-use project on 23rd Ave on Mount Calvary Christian Center’s properties across the street from its house of worship.

Early filings with the city for The Calvary Apartments 23Calvary project from Seattle-based developer Gardner Global show a six-story building rising across the church’s three parcels at 23rd and E Pike. The church’s teen center structure would be demolished.

The new plans come after Mount Calvary last spring put its third of an acre property home to its house of worship and a surface parking lot on the market for $4.5 million in a listing boasting a “rare opportunity for land in the Central District commercial corridor.” Continue reading

The Central District’s Medgar Evers Pool is back after a much longer than expected construction closure

(Image: City of Seattle)

Until they transform the Volunteer Park reservoir for swimming — and they’re not going to do that, unfortunately — the Central District’s Medgar Evers Pool will remain a one of a kind asset. It returned to service after a much longer than anticipated absence for much needed repairs.

Shut down for what was expected to be an 18-week closure last December, the pool’s reopening was delayed due to the amount of deterioration work crews found in the facility and by a major water leak discovered at the end of the project, the city says. Continue reading

Selector Records adds new stop on Hill-proximate vinyl tour

(Image: Audrey Frigon for CHS)

(Image: Audrey Frigon for CHS)

By Audrey Frigon, CHS Fall Intern

In the digital age of music streaming, vinyl records just won’t die. With record sales reaching their highest revenue level since 1988, Capitol Hill and the nearby have sustained a few shops that have survived long enough to cash in on the resurgence. And sometimes, something new comes along.

Selector Records and Apparel opened earlier this month off the beaten track on E Madison.

After eleven years DJing in Hawaii, Seattle native Sherman Crawford moved back home with the goal of opening a record store business. “I always had a dream of having a record store and that opportunity fell into my lap with this building,” he said. This building, located on 23rd and Madison, previously housed Looters Records. Crawford stumbled upon the store and moved in upstairs. When the record store closed, Crawford took over.

A music lover his whole life, Crawford first began collecting records and cassettes when he was eight years old. But the real beginning of his music addiction came in 1992 when he attended a rave and discovered the world of underground techno and dance music. “I was enthralled by the energy of the music and became obsessed,” Crawford said. As his fascination and love of the music grew, so did his record collection.

That music became the inspiration for his store. “When I came back from Hawaii I saw a void. There were no other stores focusing on underground techno music, especially new releases, and I wanted to fill that void,” said Crawford. Continue reading

23rd Ave Vision Zero work ready to move into fifth year of construction — including 23rd and John overhaul

We’re still almost a year away from the start of construction on the northern segment of 23rd Ave. When it’s done, expect some big changes to the intersection at John Street, and lots of other little upgrades scattered about.

If it feels like some kind of construction has been happening on 23rd Ave for a long time, that’s because it has. Major roadwork began on 23rd back in 2015, with the section between Madison and Jackson streets. That phase wrapped up in 2017, and then work started on the stretch between Jackson and Rainier. While the work is largely done there, there are still some bits left such as intersections and sidewalk ramps.

The stretch from John to Roanoke is next in line for a series of upgrades. In 2018, the city put that stretch of 23rd (which is actually 24th for most of its length) on a road diet, leaving two southbound lanes, but changing one of the northbound lanes into a turn lane.

But the project is far from over. In the next couple of weeks, the city plans to install High Friction Surface Treatments at Lousia, Lynn and Helen streets. The treatments, a layer of a rough, granular coating, should provide some extra grip to help cars navigate the road without skidding. The hope is that crews will be able to install the treatments over a weekend, probably the weekend after Labor Day, if the weather cooperates. Continue reading