Remembering DeCharlene Williams, Central District celebrates Juneteenth ‘freedom day’

The Buffalo Soldiers Of Seattle, 9th-10th Cavalry (Image: Karen Toering)

With reporting and photography by Alex Garland

Seattle is marking Juneteenth, a celebration of freedom and the end of slavery in the United States, with parties and events again in 2018 though it has lost one of its driving forces behind the holiday.

The King County Council issued a proclamation this week recognizing the importance of the celebration. “Juneteenth is now the closest occasion for there being a true ‘freedom day’ to celebrate in this country for people of African descent,” said council member Larry Gossett, the sponsor of the proclamation. “Now, more than ever, people of Martin Luther King, Jr. County should understand the significance of Juneteenth.” Continue reading

True Hope Village, a tiny piece of Seattle’s big homelessness and affordability problem, moves forward in the Central District

Employees of Vulcan gathered for a day of community service to construct the 30 homes destined for the Central District’s True Hope Village (Image: Vulcan)

Monday afternoon, the Seattle City Council is set to approve the legislative underpinning to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s “bridge housing” plan creating a $9.5 million a year program for shelter and “tiny house” encampments. So-called bridge housing is the rare cog in Seattle City Hall’s engine that still seems spinning forward for solutions to the city’s intertwined homelessness and affordability crisis. And, despite pushback from within and from beyond the neighborhood, a new tiny house village planned for the Central District might be the most solid effort at this point to build something new to help put more people in shelter.

CHS reported earlier on plans for the encampment and a set of community meetings about the project. The vision has withstood the process. True Hope Village is being constructed at 18th Ave and E Yesler Way.

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), which is leading the project, has learned from past skepticism and opposition to the village projects, organizing community meetings earlier in the process to give a space for nearby residents to voice their concerns and create transparency, Josh Castle, director of advocacy and community engagement for LIHI, said. Continue reading

Celebrate Doughnut Day as Raised Doughnuts makes final preparations on 23rd Ave home

It’s not quite ready for business yet but 23rd Ave’s coming soon Raised Doughnuts couldn’t let the celebration pass by unmarked.

Friday in celebration of National Doughnut Day, Mi Kim’s crew will be ready starting at 7 AM with half-dozen boxes all set for you to grab and go from in front of the about to open shop on 23rd Ave at Spring. Continue reading

Starbucks stores including Roastery close for racial bias training across Capitol Hill, CD

(Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

Starbucks cafes across First Hill, Capitol Hill, and the Central District including its specialty Roy Street Cafe and Melrose Reserve Roastery will close early Tuesday afternoon as part of a nationwide day of training.

“For several hours this afternoon, we will close stores and offices to discuss how to make Starbucks a place where all people feel welcome,” the company said in a Tweet earlier in the day. “Thank you for your patience and support as we renew our promise to make Starbucks an inclusive gathering place for all.”

Around 180,000 employees at Starbucks stores and at its Seattle headquarters will receive training that will “focus on understanding prejudice and the history of public accommodations in the United States.” Continue reading

Youth jail construction site targeted in overnight ‘molotov cocktail’ attack — UPDATE

An attempted arson attack early Tuesday morning on the under construction expansion of the county youth jail facility was thwarted by a Seattle Police officer at the 12th Ave site and “molotov cocktails” that failed to explode.

All information in this report has not yet been confirmed by police and is based on East Precinct radio dispatches. UPDATE: SPD confirmed the investigation and said more details will be released soon. UPDATE x2: An update from SPD is below. Continue reading

Plans underway for new Yesler Tiny House Village in the Central District

A tour of the 22nd and Union village in 2016

People living near 18th and Yesler will gather Tuesday night to learn more about a plan to bring more neighbors to the area in a new Tiny House Village project from the Low Income Housing Institute.

“This new village will shelter homeless families, homeless students, seniors, veterans, singles and people with pets,” the announcement from LIHI says. Continue reading

Central District’s Williams remembered as business — and neighborhood — leader

Williams in a Juneeteenth parade (Image: CHS/Central District News)

DeCharlene Williams, one of the most visible advocates of preservation and inclusive growth in the Central District in her decades heading the Central Area Chamber of Commerce, has died, her family announced this weekend.

“This morning at 9:06 AM I lost one of my best friends, my mom DeCharlene Williams to uterine sarcoma cancer,” her daughter Rita Green posted Sunday. Continue reading

It’s harvest time for Capitol Hill and Central District ideas for urban gleaner City Fruit

With warmer days, those neighborhood blossoms will soon be neighborhood plums. But City Fruit, the urban fruit gleaning community dedicated to putting the bounty of Seattle’s edible forests to good use, is coming to the area later this month to harvest something else.

City Fruit reps are coming to a May 29th meeting at the Central District’s Douglass-Truth Library meeting space to and learn more how to get the word out about their programs, neighborhood trees ripe for the picking, and ideas on where its bounties could be best put to use in the area.

City Fruit: Harvest Advisory Forum – Central District and Capitol Hill

“Do you know of some public trees in the neighborhood that never are harvested? Want to be involved with a Harvest Hub? Let us know,” organizers write.

CHS wrote here about the many flowering trees found around Capitol Hill — many of them bearers of fruit. Happy harvesting.

CHS Pics | A New Seasons opening in Ballard ripples into the Central District

Here is a preview of 23rd and Union sometime in 2019 when the neighborhood’s newest grocery store, New Seasons, is slated to open in The East Union mixed-use development.

Protesters targeted the grand opening of the Portland-based chain’s new Ballard store Wednesday with a list of anti-labor, union-unfriendly grievances:

Employees say corporate managers retaliated against Portland workers who spoke up about working conditions, even hiring a notorious Trump Hotel union-buster to intimidate and silence them.

Continue reading

With new manager, new energy for strengthening Seattle Police’s increasingly important Demographic Advisory Councils

The East Precinct no longer has a Crime Prevention Coordinator to attend community meetings and talk with residents and local businesses about safety issues in their neighborhoods. But Felicia Cross has a new, bigger role to play at the Seattle Police Department.

Cross recently transitioned into a new role as SPD’s Community Outreach Program Manager taking over for Maggie George who held the position for 30 years.

Cross has advocated to bridge the gap between the police and community members as former chair of the African American Advisory Council where she redefined the importance of the group’s meetings. In her new job, Cross aims continue this effort. “I want to energize, revamp, and revive all the demographic councils,” she said. “I want to learn about each council and their needs, and I want to be a resource with each one of the councils.” Continue reading