CHS Pics | ‘Divest, Reinvest’ — Umoja Parade carries King County Equity Now message across CD

Saturday’s Umoja events in the Central District were more than a community celebration. As it pushes for gains after weeks of demonstrations, protests, and rallies following the police killing of George Floyd, King County Equity Now said 2020’s one-day version of the celebration also served as a day “to promote community healing and cultural expression” after weeks of violence and injustice.

“While COVID-19 has disrupted the usual three-day summer celebration, King County Equity Now is proud to honor the long-standing spirit and legacy of this festival with the Umoja March & Day of Unity for Black Lives,” the organization said in a statement on this year’s march and rally.

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In summer of cancellations, Umoja Parade will cross Central District Saturday

2020 has been a summer of cancellations. The Central District’s annual Umoja Parade can’t be stopped.

Organizers have postponed this year’s three-day Umojafest celebration but the parade and march centerpiece to the annual event will still take place starting Saturday at 1 PM at 23rd and Union:

We are proud to honor the spirit of Umoja Fest, Black Community Festival, East Madison Mardi Gras, and the current global uprising for Black lives, justice and equity.
Due to COVID19 we will not have the annual three day Umoja Fest celebration.
We will hold a Umoja Parade March & Day of Unity for Black Lives, Love, Unity, Healing & Justice on Saturday, Aug. 1st starting at 23rd & Union and going to Jimi Hendrix Park/African American Museum.
Drill & Dance Teams are encouraged to step for Black love and unity. Churches, community organizations, youth groups and businesses are invited! All African diaspora communities are invited to raise your flags in unity!


The march will travel down 23rd Ave to Jimi Hendrix Park for “powerful performances and speakers, children’s activities, and a variety of Black businesses.”

Wear a mask, be safe, and enjoy the celebration.

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Amazon Fresh grocery store making plans for 2020 opening in the Central District

(Image: Vulcan Real Estate)

With its city and its Central District neighborhood grappling with issues of equity and gentrification in a summer of Black Lives Matter protest, the new Amazon Fresh grocery coming to 23rd and Jackson will mark an interesting milestone when it opens later this year.

Typically secretive, the Seattle retail and tech giant has yet to confirm the Central District plans CHS unearthed in February describing a new 25,000-square-foot grocery store under construction in the massive Vulcan development underway at the corner where the neighborhood Red Apple and a collection of shopping center businesses used to stand.

But its latest permitting efforts confirm what the company’s PR department won’t — Amazon is opening a new grocery store at 23rd and Jackson. Continue reading

Another night of gunfire at 23rd and Cherry sends at least two to hospital — UPDATE

Reports of at least two people taken to nearby hospitals with gunshot wounds followed reports of a massive bout of gunfire in the Central District Tuesday night.

The shooting scene appeared to be spread out around the gas station at 23rd and Cherry where a shooting happened Monday night that sent multiple people to the hospital and left one dead.

UPDATE 7/23/20 2:20 PM: SPD announced Thursday that a 18-year-old hit in Tuesday’s shooting has now died. The victim has not yet been publicly identified.

Witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots just before 10:45 PM involving multiple weapons. Seattle Police reported the shooting took place in the 2200 block of E Cherry and left at least one injured. Continue reading

Coming to the Central District, Alexandra’s Macarons and Cafe

(Image: Alexandra’s)

Born in a hot pink Volkswagen van turned cookie truck and a familiar part of area farmers markets and coffee shops, Alexandra’s Macarons and Cafe is joining the community at 18th and Union.

“I feel really honored to be stepping into that place,” Alexandra Greenwald tells CHS, “Especially in these times of COVID and the social justice movements.”

Greenwald’s new cafe will be filling the space left empty by the closure of Tougo Coffee and giving the coffee shop owner Brian Wells a successful exit as he sells the business to Greenwald and focuses on his other ventures including his Yesler cafe. Continue reading

23rd and Cherry shooting sends multiple victims to hospital — UPDATE: One dead

Thanks to a CHS reader for this picture from the scene

At least two people were reported shot after a bout of gunfire outside the Garfield Community Center gas station at 23rd and Cherry Monday night

Seattle Police was called to the scene just before 10:30 PM to a report of gunfire and found one victim with life threatening injuries. While officers were reported performing CPR and Seattle Fire was rushing to the scene, a second shooting victim was reported dropped off at Harborview.

There was a possible third victim in the shooting but CHS does not have further details. SPD and Seattle Fire have not yet confirmed the shooting response.

UPDATE: Seattle Police said overnight that three people were shot and one died at the scene:

Detectives are investigating after three people were shot in the 2300 block of East Cherry Street Monday at 10:15 PM.

Officers responded to the intersection of 23rd Avenue and East Cherry Street for reports of shots fired Monday night. When they arrived they found two people on the ground who reportedly been shot. Officers provided first aid to one of the victims. The second victim was pronounced dead at the scene by Seattle Fire Department Medics.

A short while later, a third victim, who was transported by private vehicle, arrived at Harborview Medical Center. Detectives are attempting to determine if this victim was injured during this shooting or if there was another scene.

Homicide detectives responded to the scene and are currently trying to determine what led up to the shooting. Detectives are asking anyone with information to please call the tip line at 206-233-5000.

Monday night’s shooting follows another bout of gun violence that sent one to the hospital Saturday night after a shooting at 18th and Madison.

UPDATE x2: The Central District murder was one of two homicides investigated by SPD on the night. Police were also collecting evidence after a man was shot to death inside an Aurora Ave motel room early Tuesday morning.

Police were collecting evidence at the scene including shell casings found west of the 23rd and Cherry intersection, according to East Precinct radio.

Monday night’s shooting joins a string of gun violence across Capitol Hill and the Central District that included two teens killed in incidents around the CHOP protest camp.

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In Seattle’s spending plan for new tax on big businesses, a small victory for housing in the Central District

Sawant had the backing of Black faith leaders in the call for new money for housing dedicated to addressing historical wrongs in the Central District (Image: Low Income Housing Institute)

On a big day for the Seattle City Council, Kshama Sawant is celebrating a small victory for housing in the Central District.

As part of a busy morning of sorting out how best to spend the some $200 million a year expected to be generated by the city’s newly approved tax on big businesses, the council’s budget committee approved Sawan’ts amendment calling for at least $18 million year in the new tax spending plan to fund the construction of new affordable housing in the Central District.

“Thanks to our powerful community movement, $18 million will be set aside annually beginning in 2022, to build affordable housing in the Central District for Black working-class and poor families,” Sawant said Thursday in a press release on the approval. “It represents a minimum floor of investment, not a ceiling, because other housing funds in the Amazon tax “spending plan” resolution, the Housing Levy, and other sources also can and should be accessed for affordable housing development in the neighborhood.”

Sawant’s win represents a compromise victory. The socialist city council member had originally called for a $50 million dedicated fund for the area with the backing of Seattle Black clergy and faith leaders (PDF):

We call for City Council to enact a progressive tax on big business to fund housing and services, including construction of at least 1,000 homes in the Central Area to bring back households that have been displaced over the years by racist gentrification.

The coalition said the dedicated funding “would begin to undo racist gentrification policies that private developers and the city have been responsible for creating and perpetuating over the years.”

The Central District funding is joined by amendments earmarking millions for new “tiny home” villages in the city and further relief for small businesses pummeled by the COVID-19 crisis.

The full JumpStart tax funding resolution including the dedicated Central District housing funding now goes to the full City Council for a final vote on Monday.

BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

Tuesday night shots fired incidents continue string of gun violence across Capitol Hill, Central District

Seattle Police detectives are investigating after two shooting incidents Tuesday night in the Central District with no reported injuries.

The shooting incidents join a string of gun violence in the area including three King County shootings this week that left multiple victims and one Bothell police officer dead.

In one incident Tuesday night at 21st and Union, witnesses said a fight or argument in the street was followed by multiple shots fired. Police reported no injuries in the 6:45 PM gunfire and said four shell casings were recovered on the southwest corner of the intersection, according to East Precinct radio updates. Later around 8 PM, gunfire sent people running and speeding away from Powell Barnett Park along MLK. There were no reported injuries. Continue reading

What really happened at The Neighbor Lady: A non-disparagement agreement, an alleged political feud, and a new home at 23rd and Union

(Image: CHS)

Central District dive bar The Neighbor Lady has plans to open in a new location across the street from its longtime home as part of the Midtown: Public Square development.

The vegetarian-friendly comfort food bar has officially moved out of its 23rd and Union spot after its lease was not renewed — and there appears to be two sides to the story including pot shop offices worried about odors from a dive bar, a dispute over Egan Orion campaign posters, and an alleged District 3 political feud playing out among business neighbors at 23rd and Union.

In January, CHS first reported on The Neighbor Lady losing its lease inside the building connected to the Uncle Ike’s pot shop complex at this key corner in the Central District.

Neighbor Lady co-owner Stephan Mollmann tells CHS the bar was “kicked out,” while landlord and Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg cites a new use for the space as the reason behind his decision to replace the bar. Continue reading

2020 Seattle Black Film Festival streams this weekend

Delayed and moved online by the COVID-19 crisis, the Seattle Black Film Festival begins Friday with a streamed schedule of screenings and events. The delay makes for a timely arrival of Langston’s annual festival after weeks of Black Lives Matter protests in Seattle and also means a busy weekend for film as the city gets a slow, cooler start start to summer.

No tickets are required to participate in all festival events, but donations to Langston are encouraged. You can find a full schedule and more information at

While the online experience might lack some of the social aspects of attending the festival in person, an online film festival can match much of the urgency of making your way through a packed schedule of screenings and speakers. The event is streamed as a live festival — not an on demand archive: Continue reading