No updates in case of teen gunned down on E Union in May 2019

A memorial for Royale Lexing after the teen was gunned down in an E Union shootout last May (Image: CHS)

A memorial for Royale Lexing after the teen was gunned down in an E Union shootout last May (Image: CHS)

In the Central District in May 2019, the community around 21st and Union mourned and worked to do more to stop street violence in the area after 19-year-old Royale Lexing was gunned down in a chaotic daytime shootout.

The investigation around the case remains unresolved a year later.

A Seattle Police Department spokesperson told CHS this week he was unable to provide updates in this week due to the “active and ongoing investigation.” Continue reading

Street Critic | 17th Ave is as good as it gets

The Barbara Frietchie

The Barbara Frietchie

Great urban landscapes are typically comprised of a collection of good buildings and landscapes instead of superlative singular designs. 17th Ave, between E. Union and E. Spring, is just such a landscape and warrants a visit. On this stretch of 17th, one will find a half dozen apartment buildings which individually may stir only a passing (if admiring) glance, yet as an ensemble are a gift to behold. Many of the buildings were built (and perhaps designed?) by the same developer, Samuel Anderson, in the 1920s.

The most conspicuous of the apartments, owing both to its advantageous corner location at the intersection of 17th and E Spring and to its equally proud corner entry, is The Barbara Frietchie. It is one of the very few co-ops in Seattle. More common in New York City, co-ops were a form of apartment ownership that pre-dates condominiums. Perhaps its New York roots account for its being the most visible – ostentatious, even – of the bunch? Its unique quarter-round entry portico set in a subtractive corner is another feature that hints of its big-city aspirations. Continue reading

As facilities evolve and adapt to the COVID-19 crisis and Seattle’s homelessness priorities, the Central District welcomes two new shelters

Mary’s Place has a new place in the CD (Image: Mary's Place)

Mary’s Place has a new place in the CD (Image: Mary’s Place)

Outside the 18th and Yesler building (Image: Mary's Place)

Outside the 18th and Yesler building (Image: Mary’s Place)

The COVID-19 crisis has posed a unique challenge for homeless shelters across King County as congregate shelters, housing people in shared spaces, have seen outbreaks amongst their guests and staff, and new strategies for providing safer services to the homeless are being implemented. Two new shelters — one planning to open at the end of the month and one recently starting service — are joining the efforts to meet housing needs in the Central District.

Mary’s Place signed a two-year lease to open a new shelter on 16th and Yesler in the space formerly home to Keiro Northwest Rehabilitation & Care Center. The new shelter space is well-suited to meet social distancing guidelines and will have 46 private rooms with bathrooms inside, according to Marty Hartman, executive director of Mary’s Place.

“When COVID hit then we had to start de-intensifying our shelters [to create social distancing],” Hartman said. “We actually ended up closing three shelters and consolidating, and we knew that this building provided everything that could provide a healthy, safe place for families that was less traumatic for them.” Continue reading

Set to become permanent part of neighborhood, here’s how people are using the Central District’s Stay Healthy Streets

(Image: City of Seattle)

What does a lot of civic energy and a few signs do for creating safe neighborhood streets? As Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced the routes will be a new permanent part of the city’s infrastructure, early numbers for the Central District’s stretch of “Stay Healthy Streets” show some promising results for walking, running, and biking.

Seattle Bike Blog reports that, just to be clear, the new Stay Health Streets are not “closed” — they’re repurposed:

Traffic volumes are down 91% on the Central District SHS compared to 2017 levels after the neighborhood greenway was installed. That 91% decrease far outpaces the the 57% decrease in overall car traffic since the outbreak began, a sign that the signs are working.

Durkan announced last week that “at least 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets” will become permanent. In addition, 3 more miles of Stay Healthy Streets were added in Rainier Valley and 1/3 mile of Beach Drive SW in Alki. Continue reading

Seattle Fire makes basement rescue as 25th Ave house destroyed by fire

(Images: CHS)

A fast-moving two-alarm blaze destroyed a one-story house as Seattle Fire rescued one resident from the home’s basement and a massive contingent of rescue vehicles and ambulances filled E Union late Monday night.

Seattle Fire was called to the area around 11:15 PM to a report of a house fully engulfed in flames near 25th and Union. Arriving firefighters fought to access the basement of the house in the 1400 block of 25th Ave where a resident was reported trapped inside. Crews were able to access the space despite security bars reported on the basement windows. Continue reading

Homelessness, affordability, and COVID-19 — Safety amid Seattle’s crises at the new tiny house village in the Central District

With reporting by Alex Garland

A new “tiny house village” has opened in the Central District adding 30 new homes to a city trying to snuff out the COVID-19 outbreak even as homelessness and affordability issues only grow.

King County health officials, meanwhile, are concerned about a rapid increase in positive COVID-19 cases among homeless people and workers at its shelters and and service sites. The county said Monday it has confirmed 112 cases at its sites — up from 27 confirmed cases on April 7th. The totals include two confirmed deaths and a third death being investigated at King County’s Kent isolation and quarantine facility.

The community around 22nd and Cherry is not new to hosting Seattle’s homeless neighbors. Continue reading

‘CROWDED PARKS LEAD TO CLOSED PARKS’ — Seattle reopens busiest parks, to add 15 miles of ‘Stay Healthy’ streets for walking, running, and biking

Seattle’s busiest green spaces including Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park and Volunteer Park will be open to visitors this weekend following an Easter weekend shutdown due to overcrowding during the COVID-19 distancing restrictions. Meanwhile, the weekend will bring the debut in West Seattle and the Central District of a new effort to give more people more room to move across Seattle with the first Stay Healthy Streets welcoming walkers, runners, and bikers.

Mayor Jenny Durkan says the decision to allow use of Cal Anderson and the city’s other major parks comes with expectations.

“The Governor’s order is Stay Home – not stay out. The social distancing necessary to keep us healthy will mean a new normal for Seattle’s parks, farmers markets, and public amenities,” she said. “Stay home, but if you need to exercise or go to get groceries at the farmers market, please no crowds, no gatherings, and keep it moving.” Continue reading

Police arrest one, recover stolen gun after Sunday night search in Central District

The area near a large party Sunday night with a loud bout of fireworks was scoured in a long police and K9 search after a group of people driving in the area tried to flee from an officer attempting to conduct a traffic stop.

Police say a known gang member was arrested in the hours-long search that included a yard by yard manhunt, help from neighbors providing security video of the fleeing suspects to arriving officers, and a stolen firearm recovered from a garbage can.

The incident began just after 8 PM when a patrol officer attempted to stop the vehicle carrying the group of people in the 500 block of 23rd Ave. Multiple people were reporting fleeing the vehicle on foot after the car was ditched nearby at 21st and Fir: Continue reading

The future (and current physically restricted state) of Capitol Hill and Central District movie theaters

(Image: Northwest Film Forum)

Remember going to the movies? Watching films on the big screen, the smell of popcorn, and boxes of Milk Duds is already a memory, one that will grow even more distant, according to Capitol Hill-area movie theaters.

Central Cinema is on hiatus, while the Northwest Film Forum has gone online, and has a Capitol Hill Arts District streaming festival in the works. Meanwhile on E Pine, the screen at SIFF Cinema Egyptian and the city’s annual film festival is a no-go.

“We’re shut down completely. We’re in stasis, I should say. We’re not closed closed. Everything is kind of turned off, shut down, cleaned out and unplugged, and put in mothballs as much as possible until we can go back in there and open up again,” Kevin Spitzer, co-owner of 21st and Union’s Central Cinema said. Continue reading

Suspect busted in act in reported burglary at Central District cafe — UPDATE

Seattle Police cars filled the intersection at 20th and Union late Tuesday night and took one person into custody after stopping a break-in in progress at the Central District’s Katy’s Corner Cafe.

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, a 911 caller reported the suspicious person around 10 PM and police moved into position around the E Union cafe and awaited the arrival of a K9 unit before contacting the suspect.

The suspected burglar was spotted inside the cafe and quickly taken into custody once officers were fully in place. We don’t know how the suspect gained entry or any damage to the small but popular cafe. The intersection was closed to traffic during the response.

UPDATE: A neighbor and CHS reader tells CHS the person briefly taken into custody turned out to be the cafe’s cleaning person who had been inside working. Thanks for the update. Sorry for the error!

UPDATE x2: Sounds like a stressful experience for the person caught up in this. One eyewitness says guns were drawn. Owner Katy Leighton describes what happened:

An employee had stayed late to have some down time and do a few extra chores. He had his headphones in and did not realize what was happening until he was surrounded and had guns drawn on him. Poor guy was put in handcuffs and was told that he was a good liar.

“He was doing absolutely nothing wrong,” Leighton writes.

Original report: The break-in and bust comes amid concerns across Seattle about the many small businesses that have temporarily closed during COVID-19 restrictions and empty neighborhoods creating fewer “eyes on the street” to discourage this type of crime. Continue reading