Forum to discuss ‘truth about changes in the Central District’

An event Saturday morning seeks to give people an opportunity to “share your truth about changes in the Central District” —

City of Seattle department directors want to hear directly from you. Share your stories on how the African-American community has been impacted by the drastic changes in the Central District and how the loss of community and culture has affected your life.

The Impact 2020: Central District Community Conversation takes place Saturday at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute on 17th Ave S in an event hosted by the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas, Northwest African American Museum, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

Impact 2020: Central District Community Conversation

The event comes amid continued redevelopment of Central District and with the Black population falling below 20% in the neighborhood. 50 years ago, more than 70% of the area’s population was Black.

With vote to make big changes at Central District middle school, board starts long process of addressing race problems in Seattle’s gifted education

The Seattle School Board Wednesday night approved a 10-year deal that will bring in the third party Technology Access Foundation to help run a Central District middle school in what officials hope will be the start of addressing racial disparity and phasing out a gifted student program across the district.

From KUOW: The Seattle School Board voted on Wednesday in favor of co-operating a STEM-focused secondary school with the nonprofit Technology Access Foundation at what is presently the Washington Middle School campus. Wrapped into the vote is the stipulation that the school must phase out its highly capable cohort, or HCC, an advanced learning model in which students who would traditionally be considered “gifted” are instructed in self-contained classrooms.

The move comes after months of debate over how best to address racial inequity in Seattle Public Schools where statistics have shown that the racial makeup of Highly Capable education students does not mirror the general student population despite decades of efforts. In December, a parent and community group called on state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to intervene in the debate over reshaping advanced learning and said it will consider legal remedies to stop the dismantling of Highly Capable instruction at only the Central District school. Continue reading

Central District’s Grocery Outlet isn’t going anywhere (In fact, it’s getting a facelift)


The impending arrival of PCC Community Markets in the Central District probably won’t do much to change business at the neighborhood’s popular low cost, overstock, and closeout-filled Grocery Outlet.

But the 1962-era supermarket building at MLK and Union it calls home was due for some exterior work and a new sign or two.

“It’s a little bit of a facelift,” owner Steve Mullen tells CHS.

Mullen says the recent $400,000+ overhaul of the store’s freezer and refrigeration system was probably a bigger deal.

The upgrades, facelift, and changes to the MLK Way facing entrance to the market are part of continued commitment to the store. It’s good news for fans after the SoDo location’s closure was held up by some as another sign “Seattle is Dying.”

The SoDo store had a different local owner, Mullen said. But Mullen says he understand about deciding to close a grocery store due to crime and disorder. The problem isn’t new — he shut down his Rainier Valley store years ago due to theft. “A lot of it is driven by drug problems,” Mullen said.

The MLK store also has its issues with theft, Mullen said, but he plans to stay invested in the community for the long haul. His current lease on the 17,000-square-foot grocery runs through 2032. Continue reading

CHS Pics | 2020 Seattle MLK Day march makes ‘No New Youth Jail’ stop

The first of this weekend’s planned marches was rescheduled after a bout of freezing weather. There was no stopping Monday’s Seattle MLK Day march.

Hundreds of students and supporters stepped off from in front of Garfield High School only a little behind schedule Monday afternoon for the annual march to City Hall in honor of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in Seattle. “20/20 Vision reflects the clarity of Dr. King’s dream and the power YOU have in 2020 to reclaim & re-envision it,” the Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition wrote about this year’s march and day of reflection and workshops at the Central District high school. Continue reading

Central District’s Midtown Square will feature massive ‘external art’ — These eight artists will create the works

The public process to approve the design of the Midtown Square development was stuck until developers incorporated a plan for large installations of art panels hoped to help the project better reflect the culture and the history of the Central District. With the old strip mall torn down and the construction underway at 23rd and Union, details of the artists who will create those works have been announced.

A panel representing “several Central District based organizations and African American artists,” has selected eight artists for “a commitment of more than $225,000 in dedicated local artwork for the new project,” developer Lake Union Partners announced this week. Continue reading

Developer behind 23rd Ave church land buy and mixed-use project says ‘contending gentrification in Seattle’s Central District’

Jaebadiah Gardner

Gardner Global and its Onpoint real estate firm have announced more details of the 23rd Ave church property purchase and development plans CHS reported on earlier this month.

“We have an unbelievable opportunity to be creative in a way that gives back,” Jaebadiah Gardner, CEO of Gardner Global said in the company’s announcement of the project. “Our company slogan is #letsbuildwealth and this project is an example of how we are doing exactly that. Through this project. we’re providing non- traditional real estate investors an opportunity to be directly involved in the ownership.” Continue reading

Kshama Sawant’s inauguration a battle cry to ‘Tax Amazon’

Making her agenda crystal clear, Kshama Sawant’s Monday night inauguration to her third term on the Seattle City Council was also the launch of a new “Tax Amazon” movement in Seattle.

“We need a clear and fearless message that will inspire working people and community members to come out and get involved,” Sawant said in front of a packed crowd at the Central District’s Washington Hall. “We need a message that will sound as powerful in spirit for working people around the country, hence: Tax Amazon,” Sawant said.

Despite the freezing weather, supporters filled the 14th Ave venue to celebrate the decisive victory of the Socialist Alternative incumbent over Egan Orion in November. Orion was backed by an unprecedented $1.5 million in funding from Amazon, a “blatant attempt to buy City Hall.” The election backlash to the Amazon cash also helped Sawant secure key new allies — her fellow council members as the council’s two citywide representatives — Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena González embraced the Socialist Alternative leader and a slate of progressive candidates.

“Together we defeated the richest man in the world,” one of the emcees Eva Metz, Sawant’s campaign finance director, proudly declared. Continue reading

With goal of hiring at least half of workers from the neighborhood, incoming Central District PCC to hold community meetings, job fairs

To help respond to community hopes, requests, and suggestions, the incoming PCC grocery store at 23rd and Union is planning to hold two public meetings later this month. Meanwhile, after company officials pledged to try to hire about half of the new store’s staff from the surrounding area, PCC has also announced an upcoming job fair.

CHS broke the news last week that the Seattle cooperative grocery chain was set to replace financially troubled New Seasons in a supermarket space waiting for its new tenant on the northwest corner of 23rd and Union. Continue reading

Central Smoke goes poof on E Jefferson — Plus, Seattle Times asks if city’s restaurant boom is over

Central Smoke, another big restaurant project that can be traced to the ambitious and sizable class of 2015, has closed. Meanwhile, the city’s food and drink industry leaders seem a little worried — “Is Seattle’s booming restaurant scene showing signs of slowing?,” the Seattle Times asked over the weekend.

At Central Smoke, which debuted as Seven Beef from the Monsoon and Ba Bar family of restaurants in 2015, the mood was melancholy with a dash of hope.

“Our 7 Beef/Central Smoke space still has the same warm ambience it had the day we opened, a state-of-the-art kitchen, inviting bar and gracious patio, making it a very attractive venue for other enterprising restauranteurs. We are confident that our beloved space will not remain dark for long,” the ownership wrote in its goodbye message.

“Much thanks to our loyal guests and dedicated, professional staff for making this venture so very rewarding and memorable.” Continue reading

The Neighbor Lady in search of new Central District home

(Image: The Neighbor Lady)

(Image: The Neighbor Lady)

We’re not the Central District News but the area around 23rd and Union has been keeping CHS busy to start 2020. Now comes word that neighborhood vegetarian-friendly dive bar The Neighbor Lady is losing its lease and has only a few more months at its location.

Owner Stephan Mollmann confirmed the end of March closure this week and said he and Tom Vivian are already on the hunt for a nearby new home for the eight-year-old bar.

“We’re just going to pack everything up and mothball it,” Mollmann said.

The Neighbor Lady’s E Union home since it debuted in early 2012 is part of the Uncle Ike’s complex at 23rd and Union. The two-story building with the bar on the street level and office space above has been held by a company registered to Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg’s spouse since its purchase in late 2012 for just over $1 million. Continue reading