Seattle shapes $27M in community projects including new public restrooms — but no plan to continue ‘participatory budgeting’

Six projects including a new Duwamish-centered community center and a push for new public restrooms in the city have been chosen by community members in Seattle’s $27 million “participatory budgeting” process born out of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. Implementing the projects will be the next project. Continuing the process? That appears to be off the table.

The results were announced last week following a month-long online ranking process in which the Office of Civil Rights says 4,000 votes were cast.

The city says the ranked choice process gave people “who live, work, or play in Seattle” the opportunity to vote on 18 ballot items by selecting their top four proposals. Five winning projects will be fully funded and the remainder of the $27.25 million will be allocated to the 6th place project.

Top Participatory Budgeting Projects

  • Native Youth: Past, Present, Future ($7,200,000) 
  • Focus Area: Youth & Children
  • A Duwamish centered community center would offer recreational, educational, and cultural programs that foster community engagement, promote well-being, and support cultural preservation. It will serve as a vibrant hub of activity, facilitating connections within the urban native community, while also extending a warm welcome to individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  • People Not Police Crisis Response Team ($2,000,000)
  • Focus Area: Crisis and Wellness
  • Funding for trained mental health professionals to be first responders to mental health crises. Marginalized community members are more likely to be harmed when police respond to mental health crises, public outbursts (usually need- or trauma-driven), or behaviors not always explained or understood. A culturally competent, trauma-informed, compassion-based, peer-supported response promises better outcomes, long and short term. Continue reading

Cops and clearance crew move Black Lives Memorial Garden campers from Cal Anderson — UPDATE

(Image: Matt Mitgang/CHS)

Seattle Police and members of the city encampment clearance workers were at Cal Anderson Park’s south end Wednesday morning to move tents and tell campers around the Black LIves Memorial Garden to move along. A notice provided a phone number for campers to call to find out more about shelter options.

Wednesday’s efforts appeared focused on the tents and campers and did not involve the arrival of any heavy equipment like the type that was delivered by Seattle Parks to the area in late October. Continue reading

Seattle Parks backs down — for now — as heavy equipment moved in for BLM garden removal from Cal Anderson Park

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

Seattle Parks crews backed off and Seattle Police stood by after a small but spirited crowd of supporters gathered Tuesday morning to stop the removal of the Black Lives Memorial Garden from Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park.

The early morning standoff played out around the so-called “sun bowl” area of the park where heavy equipment had been rolled in for the removal of the garden that was established during the Black Lives Matter and CHOP protest in the summer of 2020. Continue reading

Black Star Farmers holds community gathering to save garden in Cal Anderson — UPDATE

UPDATE: With volunteers remaining at the site through the weekend, the “turf restoration” work, so far, has been on hold


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As they did in August for a stewarding event where they gathered medicinal herbs from Cal Anderson Park, the Black Star Farmers group is inviting a gathering at the park’s Black Lives Memorial Garden hoped to span all of Friday. It’s the same day the Seattle Parks Department said it was planning to begin its “turf restoration” process that will remove the garden first created during the 2020 Capitol Hill Occupied Protest that filled the area with camps and demonstrators.

“Gather in the garden tomorrow – FRIDAY OCTOBER 13 👻 Community members are planning a full day of activities in support of the garden,” the group’s invitation reads. “We will start the morning with Communi-Tea & Yoga from 7-10AM and have an all-ages Garden Party from 12PM-10PM where we will have potluck food, garden stewarding, music, speakers, art making and an art gallery! Please bring plates, utensils, & grillables to share if you can!!” Continue reading

Call to save the Black Lives Memorial Garden after city announces Cal Anderson ‘turf renovation’ plan — UPDATE: two weeks notice

The garden in October 2023 — from the CHS Facebook Group

The garden in June, 2020

A Seattle Parks project to restore grass to the amphitheater bowl on the south end of Cal Anderson Park will bring an end to a community garden shaped during Seattle’s Black Lives Matter protests. The Black Lives Memorial Garden has been one of the few enduring monuments to the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest of the summer of 2020.

A Seattle Parks official confirmed the department will begin the turf restoration project planned for this week but declined to provide more information citing the Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday at Seattle City Hall.

A letter reportedly posted by the Black Star Farmers group that has grown around the garden is calling for the city to back off its plans, saying city officials reached out to “request that we relocate the garden to Rainier Community Center in South Seattle.” The letter calls on supporters to gather at the garden for organizing meetings and “occupy the space.”

“Of course, showing up to the garden in the upcoming week and continuing to care for and occupy the space is always an option to show directly that we reject their plans to remove the garden,” it reads. “Now is the time to show up and get organized.” Continue reading

No charges over Durkan, Best deleted texts from 2020 protests

No charges will be filed against former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best over deleted text messages from the time of the 2020 protests, saying a King County Sheriff investigation did not find evidence of criminal intent to destroy public records.

King County Prosecutor Lisa Manion’s announcement ends the investigation launched in 2022 after a whistle-blower revealed thousands of texts exchanged between Durkan, Best, current Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and more officials during the 2020 Black Lives Matter and anti-police protests had been deleted from city-owned devices.

The deleted texts became the centerpiece of a lawsuit brought against the city by Capitol Hill property owners and developers with claims of “Spoliation of Evidence” and intentional subterfuge.

The city has claimed the deletions were caused by factory resets, 30-day auto deletions, and manual deletions.

But some of the explanations bordered on the comical including a Durkan oceanic mishap: Continue reading

CHS Pics | This summer’s repainting of Capitol Hill’s Black Lives Matter mural dedicated to Elijah Lewis

Artist Perri Rhoden touches up her letter on the Black Lives Matter street mural

The massive Black Lives Matter mural that fills E Pine is now a permanent part of the city’s streetscape. Every summer, it will get a touch-up and fresh coats of paint. This summer, the work to take care of the monument carried with it a new mission: honoring a fallen community leader.

Takiyah Ward, an organizer and co-founder of the Vivid Matter Collective, said this past weekend’s event was organized as a heartfelt tribute to Elijah Lewis, the community organizer gunned down in an April road rage shooting just a couple blocks from the mural.

“We have other folks working on some mural pieces for Elijah Lewis… So we decided to put together an activation just in his honor, in his legacy and all the things he did in the community,” Ward said.

Saturday’s activation provided an array of art supplies, including easels and paints, inviting people to engage in creative expression. “So we’ve got some easels and paintings and materials, folks, kids, young and old, and hang out and do their own art. So yeah, it’s just everything art today,” Ward said. Continue reading

Driver in I-5 collision that killed Capitol Hill Black Lives Matter demonstrator pleads guilty


The driver in the July 2020 I-5 crash that killed a Capitol Hill Black Lives Matter protester and severely injured another demonstrator has pleaded guilty.

CHS reported here on the impending trial for Dawit Kelete, now 30, after repeated delays. Kelete’s attorney’s reached a plea agreement with King County Prosecutor in which the defendant admitted guilt to one count of vehicular homicide, a count of vehicular assault, and a count of reckless driving. The sides also reached an agreement on a sentencing recommendation for six years in prison and another year and a half probation. The sentencing is scheduled for September.

Summer Taylor died in the crash and Diaz Love was sent to the hospital with serious injuries in the collision that was captured on video and further inflamed the volatile situation in the city in the wake of the forceful clearance of the CHOP protest camp on Capitol Hill in July 2020. Continue reading

This Capitol Hill ice cream shop is ‘woke’ — so why is it suing the city over CHOP?

A memorial to Anderson The memorial to Lorenzo Anderson who was gunned down in front of Molly Moon’s during CHOP

One of Seattle’s most progressive small businesses has sued the city over its actions around the CHOP occupied protest that grew from the 2020 Black Lives Matter and George Floyd murder unrest into a dangerous camp that shut down blocks of Capitol Hill’s Pike/Pine core and left two teens shot to death including 19-year-old Lorenzo Anderson who was gunned down in the street in front of the ice cream shop behind the suit.

The Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream LLC v. City of Seattle case was filed this week in federal court.

It is being brought forward by the law firm of Morgan, Lewis and Bockius, the same firm that won a $3.6 million settlement with the city earlier this year on behalf of a slate of Capitol Hill property owners and businesses that sued over “deliberate indifference” from former Mayor Jenny Durkan, the Seattle Police Department and then-Chief Carmen Best, Seattle Fire, and the rest of City Hall over the handling of the camp that took over the streets around Cal Anderson Park in June 2020.

It is not clear why Molly Moon’s was not part of the previous lawsuit. CHS has asked the law firm and owner Molly Moon Neitzel for more details on the new filing.

Filed on the three-year anniversary of the protest camp’s formation, the lawsuit seemingly puts Molly Moon’s in position of demanding the city should have shut down the CHOP protests.

But the complaint filed this week begins with a defense of the protests even as it blames the city for the disorder that followed. Continue reading

CHOP on stage? 11th & Pine ‘documentary theatre performance’ sees first light with readings at Capitol Hill’s Erickson Theatre

Have the wounds from the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and CHOP’s time on Capitol Hill healed?

This weekend, playwright and University of Washington professor Nikki Yeboah’s work examining the aftermath of the protests will take the stage with Sound Theatre Company’s reading of 11th & Pine at the neighborhood’s Erickson Theatre:

Several years after the 2020 protests against police violence that ushered in a racial awakening across the nation, a deposed protest leader sends out a call to fellow activists. Her goal? To reconstruct the occupation she led in her city. As they relive moments both utopian and excruciating, the activists find the task of explaining what happened is not so simple. Did they succeed? Did they fail? How will they be remembered? Meanwhile, old tensions resurface and the group contends with powerful opponents who want to tell the story in their own way. Based on interviews with Seattle’s Capitol Hill Occupied Protestors, 11TH & PINE explores the impact of organized protest, asking “can we make a difference, and if so, at what cost?”

Continue reading