A ‘Brutal’ landmark? East Pine Substation the Central District’s unlikeliest candidate for preservation

Tuesday is the deadline for you to weigh in on what might seem to be one of the more unlikely candidates to become a neighborhood landmark — Seattle City Light’s Brutalist, brick-walled East Pine Substation.

The E Pine at 23rd Ave facility will go in front of the  Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board Wednesday “to determine the historic status of the property prior to a SCL proposal to increase the substation’s capacity, security and reliability for the surrounding Central Area, First Hill, and Capitol Hill neighborhoods,” according to the department’s nomination document (PDF) on the property.

The nomination document describes the era of City Light’s investment in architecturally significant infrastructure: Continue reading

Raised Doughnuts finds home on 23rd Ave

(Image: Raised Doughnuts)

Change and redevelopment around 23rd and Union are shaping up quite nicely — but we’re not too sure about your belly. Popular pop-up Raised Doughnuts has found a home in the Central District.

The new doughnut bakery and counter is set to transform the old Collins Gold Exchange and minimart that was once lined up to become a Central District burger joint on 23rd Ave at E Spring. Continue reading

Black Lives Matter at School rallies outside Garfield High

Education leader Jesse Hagopian gathered with educators and students in front of the Central District’s Garfield High School Monday afternoon to rally for the Black Lives Matter at School effort in Seattle and beyond.

“Last year, one of our demands of the Black Lives Matter movement in schools was to have ethnic studies implemented across the Seattle school district,” Hagopian said in front of the rally and assembled media. “That effort turned out not to be hollow words.” Continue reading

Two Central District cafes facing closure point finger at Seattle City Hall

They both have become familiar faces whenever Central District small businesses are being discussed — usually in the context of the next big development or the next big infrastructure project promised to bring change to the neighborhoods their cafes have called home. Neighbors are now saying their goodbyes to Felix Ngoussou’s Jackson St. Lake Chad Cafe and Sara Mae’s 701 Coffee.

The 23rd and Cherry cafe owner Mae said she takes personal responsibility for 701’s closure but said she also lays blame with Seattle City Hall and District 3 representative Kshama Sawant for what she predicts will be a wave of Central District closures:

701 is just one in a line of real small businesses in the Central District that have been forced to close. We aren’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last. I firmly believe this trend will continue. There’s certainly no elected official—Kshama—that is going to give two shits about the plight of Central District Small Businesses. We have an elected official in the Central District who isn’t willing to devote some of her time and political capital to assuring that there is prosperity on the horizon for Central District small businesses. Instead she has created a movement that is based on resentment, and divisive political rhetoric that serves no purpose but to hold power, and keep people who are struggling trapped in a cycle of spinning their wheels, waiting for her precious cake. Frankly, all we have received in the aggregate from Kshama in all of this is Central District small business circumstances that has worsened under her reign.

Continue reading

East Pine Substation planned for landmarks consideration, expansion

In 1967, Seattle City Light was so proud of its new substation, it held an open house.

Seattle City Light is telling neighbors around the East Pine Substation at 23rd Ave and E Pine about an important planned project to expand and upgrade the critical facility. Architects and historical preservationists will also want to take note.

Here’s what the Society of Architectural Historians has to say about the 1967-era “fanciful” brick fence that surrounds the 8,000 square-foot facility and Fred Bassetti, the ambitious architect who designed it:

This complex and fanciful masonry fence recalled that of an Archaic Egyptian fortress, like the reconstructions of the Complex of Djoser at Saqqara (c. 2800 BCE) or the later Fortress of Senusret III at Buhen, Sudan (c. 1860 BCE). These ancient Egyptian sources had become topical in the mid-1960s. Gamel Adbul Nasser’s widely publicized Aswan High Dam project (1960–1970) was a centerpiece of his domestic program and an important symbol during the Cold War, representing Egypt’s independence from the West. The dam caused enormous environmental changes in the Nile Valley, and submerged the Buhen region when it was completed. Prior to its flooding, British archaeologist Walter Bryan Emery (1903–1971) began excavations of the site in 1957, and prepared detailed records of the remains. He included drawings of the Buhen fortress in his book, Archaic Egypt (1962), published by Oxford University Press’s mass-market Pelican imprint. Bassetti scheme has both corrugated walls and watch towers interspersed at intervals that are comparable to those found in the Senusret Fortress.

City Light says the expansion project is in its early design phase and “would improve electrical reliability to the neighborhood and area hospitals on First Hill and Capitol Hill by modifying/expanding the north and west perimeter walls toward the property line.”

The expansion will make room for future equipment upgrades and build-outs, according to City Light, including gate access and security as well as “seismic integrity” of the substation. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Psychic Boutique — 23rd Ave neighborhood psychic has spiritual, California connection

On the corner of 23rd and Madison, away from the busy bars of the Hill, there’s a window with jars of crystallized salts for chakra balancing and a large sign offering discounts for palm readings. The Capitol Hill Psychic Boutique has been around for six years and it belongs to neighborhood psychic Ashley Adams.

Adams has felt her psychic abilities since birth and began reading tarot cards before she ever learned how to read a book. The talent spans back through her maternal bloodline. Adams’ great grandmother is well known in Santa Monica where young Adams sat watching and eventually performing the readings on the pier. It is such a calling that Adams didn’t finish high school, leaving to go continue her family business.

“I felt like I was able to help people get to the next step in their life, get past their fears,” Adams said. “I felt more connected to this path than any other path.”

Now, 26-year-old Adams travels back and forth between her business at the nexus of the Central District and Capitol Hill and her other one in Burbank called Lola Psychic Shop, named after her mother. Adam’s great grandma was a healer, a psychic and clairvoyant but Adams herself specializes in chakras, spiritual healing and past presence. Adams is not a clairvoyant.

That doesn’t mean she can’t talk to the dead, though. Continue reading

23rd Ave corridor ‘Vision Zero’ work to continue in 2018

A new round of changes is coming to 23rd Ave corridor between John and Roanoke streets starting next year. Yes, technically, it’s 24th Ave between Helen and Roanoke. Phase 3 construction of the 23rd Avenue Vision Zero project is likely to start in the spring or summer of 2018, but it won’t be nearly as disruptive as the first phase of the project, between John and Jackson streets, which took 21 months to complete, city officials say.

Phase 3 will continue the Seattle road diet strategy in an effort to reduce accidents and make roads safer for pedestrians. The biggest change in this phase will be between John and Boyer streets. Currently the road is two lanes in each direction. The redesigned road will have one lane going northbound (downhill), a center turn lane, and two lanes going southbound (uphill) the lane closest to the curb, however, will be bus only. SDOT hopes the new design will help address speeding in the corridor.

The bus only lane is designed to help keep bus travel time reliable, in advance of potentially placing a rapid ride bus on the road, though that’s not likely to happen until 2024. The bus only lane will continue to 23rd and Madison, where it will transition into the single lane southbound lane there now.

The stretch between Boyer and Roanoke will continue to be two lanes in each direction, a nod to the traffic volumes in that area around state 520. That area will get some improvements, along with the rest of the corridor. Continue reading

Capitol Hill gay bar Purr’s new home? Montlake

Capitol Hill is down one gay bar. Purr’s July “going away” party included an announcement of its surprising new home neighborhood…


Seattle Gay Scene has the scoop:

After nearly a 12 year run on Capitol Hill’s 11th Avenue between Pike and Pine Streets, Purr Cocktail Lounge will be packing up the video screens and vodka bottles for a new location in…Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood. That was the surprise announcement at Wednesday night’s “Purr Going Away Party” where owner Barbie Roberts thanked her regulars and staff for a great run at the 11th Avenue location but then made the announcement that everyone had been waiting to hear…where was Purr moving to? While most expected that the new location would be either on Capitol Hill, Seattle’s primary LGBTQ neighborhood or at least adjacent to the ‘hood, no one expected to hear “Montlake” as the new location.

Owner Barbie Roberts has said the move is an economic one with the more-than-a-decade-old lounge escaping soaring Pike/Pine rents. A former employee of Manray and The Wildrose, Roberts opened Purr in 2006 in the former home of the Bad JuJu lounge. In 2011, CHS talked with her about the features of a successful gay bar and surviving the changes of growth in Pike/Pine.

While Purr’s adventure off the Hill will bring more affordable rent and more than a few interesting rides on the 43, we’re sure, its new home will also come with some economic challenges. The Montlake Pub closed in the space after a rocky year of business — it closed so abruptly, CHS never had the opportunity to run a post on the new restaurant last spring. Before the pub, the Traveler family of neighborhood grills gave 24th Ave E a run after taking over for longtime favorite the Montlake Pub in 2014. 24th Ave and Montlake, meanwhile, are set for major changes with a new 520 lid and bridge work slated to completely overhaul the road network at the key interchange. Meanwhile, the approach from the north to the area is also planned for major changes in future stages of the 23rd Ave corridor “road diet.”

No opening date for Montlake Purr has been announced.

You can keep track of things on Purr’s Facebook page.


Homestead Seattle grows into new space in Pike/Pine, sprouts new plant shop on E Olive St

The folks behind vintage furniture and design brand Homestead Seattle have been growing all sorts of things. Their design shop is about to grow into a larger, much more prominent space. And, Sunday, the new Homestead Seattle Plant Shop will blossom on E Olive St near 23rd Ave.

“We’ve definitely seen more apartment gardening,” Ryan Tansey tells CHS about some of the trends at play behind the new shop at 2202 E Olive St. “People who are moving to the hill are less likely to have a yard to work with,” Tansey said. “And I’ve also heard from some people that because many people are having kids later, having plants around is another way to have something to nurture and grow.” Continue reading

Weigh in now on Madison Bus Rapid Transit — 23rd Ave RapidRide coming next

You will have another opportunity Wednesday night to kick the tires in person on the plan to create Bus Rapid Transit on Madison. In the meantime, King County and the City of Seattle have released a RapidRide expansion plan that includes the 2019 startup of Madison’s RapidRide G as part of a growing, cross-city network of optimized bus corridors including a plan for what we presume would be RapidRide M or N or O or P on 23rd Ave by 2024. Continue reading