I-5 arrests part of Seattle MLK Day 2021 as thousands march from Central District

Seattle’s MLK Day 2021 celebrations Monday were a reflection of the times with marchers stepping off from the Central District socially spaced and masked and a protest effort that branched off and brought traffic to a stop on I-5 generating headlines across the country.

“BLM protesters arrested, cited with blocking Seattle freeway on MLK Day,” Fox News reported, wringing its hands with concern over “the acronym for Black Lives Matter” being painted across the traffic-snarled freeway.

There were 12 people arrested and at least two cars impounded, the Washington State Patrol reported. UPDATE: None of the dozen were booked into jail, the WSP tells CHS. The King County Jail refused the bookings, according to a state trooper spokesperson. We have not yet confirmed why they were not accepted. UPDATE x2: The refusals fall under current restrictions to reduce the number of people being held at the King County Jail during the ongoing pandemic.

Thousands more marched from 23rd Ave’s Garfield High to downtown in the city’s annual showing in respect to the slain civil rights leader. Continue reading

Central District’s Amazon Fresh grocery store will have ‘micro-business’ neighbors including new QueenCare shop

Mathews at the small retail space at 23rd and Jackson soon to be home to a new QueenCare (Image: Vulcan)

Seattle commerce giant Amazon won’t be the only commercial tenant calling the Central District’s new mixed-use Jackson Apartments home.

CHS reported here on the the start of hiring to open a new Amazon Fresh grocery at the corner of 23rd and Jackson in the new mixed-use development from Vulcan.

Part of the project includes a “public plaza and retail pavilion” along S Jackson with “three micro-retail spaces” — QueenCare, a Black and woman owned body-care company from an area resident will be part of the mix thanks to a partnership with with the developer and Seattle entrepreneurial empowerment nonprofit Ventures.

“Opening our flagship location at the Jackson Apartments represents my story full circle,” owner Monika Mathews said in an announcement of the new lease from Vulcan.

“When I moved to the Central Area, I was to the point that people probably thought I was going to be a statistic,” Mathews said. “But I was able to learn and grow, and acquire the skills of entrepreneurship, many of which I learned through Ventures.”

Mathews called the opportunity “a great example of equity in action.” Continue reading

Safe and masked, ‘Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble’ 2021 Seattle MLK Day march will step off Monday from the Central District

Last year, before things changed, Seattle marched for MLK Day with a stop to protest the new youth jail facility at 12th and Alder. The upgraded, $200 million-plus facility debuted its new buildings a month later and remained a target of unrest through the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.

With social distancing and masks, the 2021 Seattle MLK Day march will again take place starting with a rally at 23rd Ave’s Garfield High before a march through the Central District and Capitol Hill to downtown:

Every year, we do what we can to tell our civic leaders that Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream is alive and well.

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Now hiring: the soon to open Central District Amazon Fresh grocery store

(Image: Amazon Fresh)

Company officials have confirmed to CHS the Central District store in the new mixed-use development at 23rd and Jackson will be part of the company’s first Amazon Fresh groceries to open in its home state of Washington.

We are proud to be bringing hundreds of good jobs with benefits to the Seattle area as we prepare to open the first Amazon Fresh grocery stores in our home state of Washington,” Roetta Greene Elton, district manager of Amazon Fresh grocery stores, said in a company statement on the openings. “We’re excited to provide customers with new, low-priced grocery stores in their neighborhoods and look forward to contributing positively to the community.”

Amazon’s big message about the big new store that has risen where the neighborhood’s Red Apple grocery used to stand focused on one important component: jobs. Continue reading

Seattle Fire calls for public’s help after another string of arson fires in the Central District

Seattle Fire is calling for the public’s help after a string of arson fires set to vehicles and debris in the Central District.

The fires have been set in the same area another bout of arson incidents took place this summer.

SFD says it has responded to seven intentionally set fires since December 4th in Central District locations from 12th Ave near the youth justice center to near Judkins Park.

Most of the fires have been set to vehicles or debris, SFD says, but the update adds that “further details” regarding the fires are not being made public “to maintain the integrity of the investigative process.” Continue reading

Communion now open in the Central District with BBQ shrimp and grits, Seattle Soul, and a healthy helping of equitable development

Brown and Bomar

The first business in what many hope will be a wave of equitably developed new ventures in the Central District celebrated its grand opening over the weekend.

Communion R&B — that’s R&B for restaurant and bar — broke out the giant ceremonial scissors and cut the ribbon outside its newly opened home at 24th and Union on the street level of the Liberty Bank Building affordable housing development.

Here’s how veteran Seattle chef Kristi Brown explains the meaning behind her first brick and mortar restaurant:

Communion is a nod, an acknowledgment, an homage to where I come from: Lima beans & ham hocks; the sound of crackling cornbread in a cast iron skillet; boiled or sautéed cabbage (Napa cabbage, savoy cabbage, bok choy); meatloaf; fried chicken and mashed potatoes; sautéed greens and green beans; red beans & rice; spaghetti; pot roast; oyster stew; stuffed clams; fried pork chops; bamboo shoots, tofu and rice (rice and more rice!); grits; pok pok salad; potato salad; baked beans; barbecue; hamburgers. All of these are a treasure trove of food memories that connect me, and my son, to the legacy of my grandmother’s long, beautiful, brown fingers in doughs, forming and making pies, biscuits and dinner rolls. Only to watch her leave the house to play the organ right before preaching a sermon.

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CHS Pics | The corner of 34th Ave E and Douglas Q. Barnett Street

E Union at 34th Ave E has a new honorary street name. Now, to find the former home of Seattle’s Black Arts/West Theatre, just look for Douglas Q. Barnett Street.

The new designation was celebrated last week before the Thanksgiving holiday with a ceremony at the corner where Barnett founded and led the theater from 1969 until it lost funding and was closed in 1980. Barnett passed away last year at the age of 88.

“I had none,” said Tee Dennard tells CHS of his acting experience before finding Black Arts/West Theatre. “I came out here on a bet — on an audition. And I got the part.” Denard eventually became artistic director and has enjoyed a lifetime as a working actor. Continue reading

Busy times for Central District food+drink: Communion announces opening date, Cortona to give way to Melo Cafe, plus Temple Pastries and Alexandra’s Macarons now open

Communion’s buildout in progress from this summer at 24th and Union (Image: Communion)

For all the changes in Capitol HIll’s higher profile venues through the COVID-19 crisis, the food and drink community of the Central District has also been busy with a mix of new additions and a couple sad goodbyes. And there is more to come including one of Seattle’s most highly anticipated new restaurant openings.

  • Communion: Plans for a summer opening are long gone thanks to the challenges of the pandemic and opening your own small business but Kristi Brown’s highly anticipated restaurant Communion is ready to debut at 24th and Union. Service will begin under the state’s stepped-up restrictions but the bar and restaurant in the equitably developed, affordable housing project The Liberty Bank Building will be ready when the prohibition on indoor dining is lifted. In the meantime, Communion’s menu honed from Brown’s decades of “Seattle soul” cooking will be available fpr delivery and takeout. “I would say that it really describes my journey being from Kansas City and living in Seattle and all the different neighborhoods that I’ve lived in,” Brown told CHS about her creations earlier this year. “I just take a little bit of all of those things and merge them together.” A bar from Brown’s son Damon Bomar is also part of the appeal. Opening details are coming soon with a first day of official business planned for Saturday, November 28th. You can check out @CommunionSeattle to learn more. Continue reading

Central District microhousing development targeted by Sawant ready for next phase in design review

(Image: GGLO Design)

A four-story microhousing development planned to replace a former Section 8 subsidized apartment building on 19th Ave in the Central District will move into the second and final phase of the city’s design review process with a virtual meeting Thursday.

The Cadence Real Estate project was the center of controversy when District 3 representative Kshama Sawant took on the developer over its treatment of tenants living in the The Chateau Apartments under the federal affordable housing program. Sawant claimed victory in the matter saying the movement had forced Cadence to meet with residents and make several concessions including allowing the Section 8 tenants to remain in their units in coming years until the building is eventually demolished and an “unheard of concession” — $5,000 from Cadence to every household living in the building on top of legally required relocation assistance. Continue reading

Low Income Housing Institute and Central District church collecting feedback on plan for 22nd and Union development

The Low Income Housing Institute and the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd are seeking community feedback on their plan for Good Shepherd Housing, an affordable housing development at 22nd and Union with 75 of its 100 units reserved for homeless residents.

The remaining 25 apartments are hoped to “serve the needs of low wage workers at risk of displacement from the Central Area.” Continue reading