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

Six-story development planned for 23rd Ave church property

There is more change coming to 23rd and Union with another Black church a step closer to its exit from the neighborhood so its land can be developed. A developer “dedicated to partnership and community growth” is making early plans for a new mixed-use project on 23rd Ave on Mount Calvary Christian Center’s properties across the street from its house of worship.

Early filings with the city for The Calvary Apartments 23Calvary project from Seattle-based developer Gardner Global show a six-story building rising across the church’s three parcels at 23rd and E Pike. The church’s teen center structure would be demolished.

The new plans come after Mount Calvary last spring put its third of an acre property home to its house of worship and a surface parking lot on the market for $4.5 million in a listing boasting a “rare opportunity for land in the Central District commercial corridor.” Continue reading

PCC will replace New Seasons in 23rd and Union grocery plans — UPDATE

(Image: PCC)

It’s a natural pairing. PCC Community Markets will fill in the large grocery space left empty at 23rd and Union after the long-delayed plans for a New Seasons market at the corner fell through in December.

PCC and developer of the mixed-use East Union project Lake Union Partners are set to announce their agreement Tuesday.

The news will be met with applause by fans of PCC who have been disappointed by another long-delayed area grocery project to create a mixed-use development centered around one of the chain’s markets in Madison Valley. But hold your applause — you may eventually have two PCCs in the area to choose from. Continue reading

Central District Tiny House Village at 22nd and Union has one month to find new home

Four years after it debuted in the winter of 2016 and became one of the models for proponents of so-called bridge housing in Seattle, the 22nd and Union Tiny House Village has been given one month to find a new home.

In a letter sent two days after Christmas, the board of trustees at the Central District’s Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd notified village organizers that it is time to move on, saying the congregation plans to “continue our outreach to the homeless in our community” but will be “exploring new and possibly better ways to utilize our property.” Continue reading

2020 off to good start: Capitol Hill Station has platform stairs (Now, get ready for 10 weeks of downtown light rail disruptions)

2020 is already better than 2019. There are stairs to the platform in Capitol Hill Station. But like most things in these challenging times, you also need to get ready for a 10-week start to the New Year with Seattle’s light rail system slightly hobbled as it is prepared for big expansion ahead.

First, the good news. After months of waiting and a fair amount of systems and infrastructure updates to make it safe, Sound Transit announced the opening of the new stair access at Capitol Hill Station this week. Last March, CHS reported on the plan to repurpose emergency stairs to add an option for reaching the platform beyond the frequently busted escalators and elevator access. Continue reading

911 | Madison Valley drive-by, E Thomas reported shotgun phone robbery, explosive dumpster fire

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS 911 coverage here. Hear sirens and wondering what’s going on? Check out Twitter reports from @jseattle or tune into the CHS Scanner page.

  • 25th Ave drive-by: A drive-by shooting left no reported injuries but damaged vehicles and homes near 25th and Mercer late Sunday night. According to East Precinct radio updates, police reported hearing 25 to 30 shots ring out just after 11 PM. Police found at least one vehicle that had been hit and bullet damage to at least two nearby homes. There were no reported injuries. Witness accounts described a silver sedan carrying at least two people who opened fire with two or three different guns before speeding away from the scene. Police searched the area but there were no arrests. Editor’s note: We originally identified this as a Central District location but as some have pointed out, it is a Madison Valley location. We’ve updated the headline.
  • Shotgun phone robbery: Police were called to E Thomas near Broadway to a report of an armed robbery of a phone. According to police radio reports, a man reported the suspect had pulled a shotgun and taken his phone just after 2:30 AM Monday morning. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the hold-up had taken place in a nearby building or on the street. Police were searching the area including Cal Anderson Park’s chemical toilets for the suspect but there were no arrests. No injuries were reported.
  • Boylston/Union dumpster arson: A dumpster fire with loud explosions woke residents around Boylston and Union early Monday. Seattle Fire responded to the blaze around 2:15 AM. Police were called after witnesses described two men seen setting the fire to a mattress and other items in the dumpster before fleeing. The two men were also reported pushing a shopping cart and were last seen fleeing westbound on Union. The Seattle Fire Marshal was called to investigate the scene. Last week, SPD asked for help investigating a string of a dozen arson fires after arresting a man for allegedly starting a small fire near Capitol Hill Station.

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Central District support helps Flowers Just 4 U stave off eviction

Mary Wesley has been serving the Central District for over 35 years, and eventually hopes to train young people in how to make floral arrangements. (Image: Mark Van Streefkerk for CHS)

Last weekend, Flowers Just 4 U was served a 14-day eviction notice. Located in the Central District on the corner of 23rd and Cherry, the florist was asked to pay past-due rent and utilities that totaled around six thousand dollars, or close its doors for good. After getting the word out, with help from WJJ Consulting and Africatown Media, owner Mary Wesley generated enough support to save her business.

“Can you believe this? That’s God,” Wesley beamed when asked about the overwhelming support she has received. “That is how well they love me. Donations and walk-ins, you name it. Whatever they can do to get here to keep me on this corner, they did it, from their hearts.”

At the time of this article, Flowers Just 4 U’s fundraiser campaign has received over twice the goal amount in only a few days. Said to be the only Black-owned florist in the Pacific Northwest, Wesley has done business in the Central District for more than 35 years. Now in her late 70s, Wesley has had to dip into her retirement savings to help the business.

Continue reading