No deal as Swedish strike and lockouts end

Swedish Medical Center says it is welcoming back nearly 8,000 nurses and caregivers after a planned three-day strike ended Friday. Many striking workers were locked out over the weekend as temporary workers finished up five-day contracts to replace them.

There’s no word yet of any future walkouts with nurses and caregivers fighting for a new, better contract with the nonprofit Seattle-area health provider.

The strike hit Seattle campuses including First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah where Swedish use thousands of temporary workers to continue its services. Continue reading

Where and when it will be cheaper to park on Capitol Hill in 2020 (and where the appetite for parking is apparently insatiable no matter how expensive it gets)

2020 mornings will bring cheaper paid parking to most of Capitol Hill’s streets — the nightlife crush means prices are rising. Seattle announced its annual adjustments Friday to be rolled out in its regular rebalancing of pricing for the city’s paid parking based on demand studies over the past year.

“Our goal is to make it efficient and accessible for people who need to drive to find a parking space,” SDOT says in its announcement and explainer of the 2020 adjustments. “This reduces how much time drivers spend circling for parking, which provides other important benefits” —

  • Improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists – drivers circling for parking are often distracted
  • Reduces congestion – drivers circling for parking contribute to congestion
  • Improves transit efficiency – less congestion and fewer cars stopping in the bus lane means our public transit is more reliable
  • Decreases greenhouse gas emissions – less circling means fewer emissions

Simplified, SDOT says its goal is to price so that “two parking spaces are available on each block throughout the day.”

It’s not clear how high prices would have to rise across SDOT’s Capitol Hill paid parking regions to hit that “two space” goal at night were capacity is also measured at hitting greater than 100% thanks to creative — and illegal — parking strategies some nightlife visitors deploy. Prices will hit from $4 to $4.50 across most of Capitol Hill at night. Continue reading

Police investigating murder-suicide attempt at 16th Ave care facility

Image from a CHS reader

Police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide attempt Friday morning at a Central District care facility Friday morning.

All information is preliminary at this early point in the investigation.

According to police, a man visiting a resident in her room at the 500-block 16th Ave Seattle Medical Post Acute Care facility Friday around 8:30 AM shot and killed the woman before turning the weapon on himself.

The man was taken to Harborview with life threatening injuries. Both the woman and the man were believed to be in their 60s, according to police. UPDATE: The man died of his injuries. Detectives are investigating the incident.

CHS respects the sensitivity of covering suicide and believes it is an important community issue to include in our news reporting. We attempt to cover these stories by sharing the facts in a responsible manner that provides information about what is happening on the streets and in the community around you. Here are two resources to help those in need: National suicide-prevention hotline: 800-SUICIDE. Local Crisis Clinic: (206) 461-3222.

Design review: Country Doctor’s 19th Ave E expansion

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-5-15-25-pmA crucial Capitol Hill project for one of the city’s only providers of nonprofit, low-income health care will take what should be its final step in the Seattle design review process Wednesday night.

The Country Doctor Community Clinic’s plan will create a new four-story building on the site of its 19th Ave E offices:

The new facility will provide medical services including a new dental clinic, and expanded services for WIC (Women, Infants and Children), Maternity, HIV and Chronic Pain. The project will also provide expanded administrative office and meeting space for the entire Country Doctor Community Health Centers network. The current 2,350 square feet of medical services and administrative offices provided on-site will be expanded to 9,000 square feet on the 1st and 2nd floors.

Meanwhile, the project’s top two floors will house eight workforce apartments in a mix of studio and one-bedroom units. Country Doctor had hoped to to develop the housing as affordable apartments but that the project was too small to attract a development partner.

The new $6.5 million facility is being funded by a capital campaign, $1 million in federal grants, and a $1.2 million grant from the city to support the clinic’s new dental services.

Design review: 510 19th Ave E

Executive director Linda McVeigh told CHS last fall the construction will also add more private rooms, sorely lacking in the current space. “A lot of services we provide are best provided in a one on one environment,” she said. Continue reading

Council to hear arguments on Swedish Cherry Hill campus expansion

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 2.21.09 PMThere’s a brewing storm for the Seattle City Council’s planning committee: the final decision on whether or not to approve the controversial Swedish Cherry Hill hospital expansion proposal, a plan that faces opposition from numerous local neighborhood groups. Saying no — or not yet — will further delay a critical expansion project for one of the area’s largest employers.

At a committee meeting Friday morning, Ketil Freeman from council central staff brought with council members Rob Johnson, Mike O’Brien, and Lisa Herbold up to speed on the basics of the expansion proposal and a timeline for ruling on Swedish’s desired upzone to add an additional 1.5 million square feet to the 1.3 acre Cherry Hill Campus.

The expansion proposal has been several years in the making. In 2012, Swedish Health Services and the Sabey Corporation (who owns roughly 30% of the Cherry Hill campus) began the long process of applying to renew their Major Institution Master Plan [MIMP]—a city-approved development plan required for hospitals who want to deviate from standard zoning in the area—and they wanted up zones in the new version. Continue reading

Hearing underway as neighborhood group tries to curb expansion of Swedish Cherry Hill

Screenshot-2015-01-11-at-8.19.34-PM-400x284A city arbiter’s office is the latest arena for the drawn out struggle over the planned expansion of the Swedish Medical Center’s Cherry Hill campus.

On Monday, the city’s Office of the Hearning Examiner started day-long hearings to resolve an appeal neighbors filed against the city for approving an environmental study of the hospital’s plans, drafted by developer Sabey Corporation.

Concerned Neighbors of Swedish Cherry Hill claim the Department of Planning and Development failed to fully assess the impact of the hospital’s expansion on the surrounding area. Ultimately, the group is hoping the appeal will force Swedish to heed neighborhood concerns.

The most pressing concern for neighbors is that the building plans are too big and too tall to fit into the largely residential area. Lack of parking, obstructed views, and flimsy traffic mitigation plans are also cited in the group’s appeal. According to Swedish, the 1.6 million square foot site is nearly at capacity and needs to build up in order to continue serving its growing patient population.

The hearings are expected to last at least through the end of the week.

The fight over the hospital’s planned expansion goes back two years to when members of a Community Advisroy Committee started weighing in on the hospital’s Major Institution Master Plan. During the course of those meetings, the group managed to whittle down the size of the hospital’s proposals, but a consensus was never reached.

Swedish was recently the target of a large protest over nursing shortages and the improved benefits to attract new hires. Hundreds of hospital workers, union organizers, and a handful of elected officials staged a picket outside the First Hill campus against the management of the Providence Health Services-allied hospital.

For more details on the Swedish Cherry Hill appeal and recordings of the proceedings, visit the hearing examiner’s case page

As hundreds picket, Swedish pushes forward on major First Hill, Cherry Hill growth

(Image: TheDignityVirus.com)

Wednesday’s “thousand-member picket” targeted Swedish First Hill (Image: TheDignityVirus.com)

Calls for more nurses and the improved benefits to attract them echoed through Broadway Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of hospital workers, union organizers, and a handful of elected officials staged a picket outside Swedish Hospital’s First Hill campus.

The picket came one day after another round of negotiations ended without a contract deal between SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and Swedish, one of the largest Central Area employers and owned allied with Providence Health Services.

Staffing levels at the hospital are among the major sticking points in negotiations. Swedish-Providence is seeking to hire some 1,600 nurses, positions the hospital says it’s been unable to fill with qualified workers due to a nationwide nursing shortage.

SEIU members say the hospital is unwilling to offer a wage and benefit package that would attract those nurses despite the fact the hospital banked $110 million last year. In the meantime, hospital workers say low staffing levels are hurting patients and creating untenable working conditions.

Speaking before the crowd, Mayor Ed Murray said he was concerned about the strained relationship between Swedish and its workers and called on the hospital to quickly resolve the dispute. June Altaras, Swedish’s chief executive of acute care, told CHS she hoped a new round of negotiations would start sometime this month. Council members Mike O’BrienBruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, and Jean Godden were also in attendance to support picketing workers. Continue reading

One victim shot in chest in Central District shootings

Seattle Fire responding to victim with gunshot wound left outside Swedish Cherry Hill (Images: Alex Garland)

Seattle Fire responding to victim with gunshot wound left outside Swedish Cherry Hill (Images: Alex Garland)

With reporting by Alex Garland

A male victim with a gunshot wound to the chest was left in the parking lot of the Swedish Cherry Hill hospital following a night of gunfire around 23rd Ave.

All details on Thursday night’s shooting incidents in the Central District are preliminary. SPD has confirmed that one male has been shot and that police are investigating. UPDATE: SPD says the victim is a 31-year-old man. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Landmark status can’t save the Carmack House

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(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

To call the battle to save the Central District’s George Washington Carmack House a seven-year fight isn’t quite right. Last week, the one-sided end of the tussle came quickly for the more than 100-year-old mansion once home to George Carmack, the Seattle pioneer and prospector credited by most with setting off the Klondike gold rush:

When Carmack and his wife disposed of their holdings in the Klondike, they moved to Seattle where they took residence at the prestigious Hotel Seattle. Kate Carmack did not enjoy living in Seattle and returned to her northern home. [46] Carmack soon thereafter married a woman named Marguerite. Carmack eventually left the Hotel Seattle, but continued residing in the Pioneer Square area. From 1905 until 1909, he lived in a house at 3007 East Denny Way, which has since been removed. By 1910, Carmack moved to 1522 East Jefferson. According to Seattle City Directories, Carmack lived at this address until he died in 1922. Marguerite Carmack continued living in the house until the 1940s. A considerable amount of development has occurred around this house, which is still used as a residential structure.

Continue reading

Swedish to group opposing expansion: ‘Cease and desist’

Lawyers for the Swedish healthcare group have sent an “IMMEDIATE CEASE AND DESIST WARNING” to Washington Community Action Network (WA CAN), CHS has learned over the group’s efforts to fight the expansion of the Cherry Hill campus.

Swedish's 'Cease and desist' letter to WA CAN

Swedish’s ‘Cease and desist’ letter to WA CAN

On January 27th, three WA CAN organizers approached people in the waiting areas of Swedish’s Cherry Hill campus, handing out copies of both Swedish’s own charity care application and a WA CAN brochure about Swedish’s handling of medical debt. When a representative of Swedish’s management spotted them, he escorted the organizers out. The next day, the left-leaning community organizing group received a hand delivered letter from Swedish’s lawyers, which read in part:

you shall immediately cease and desist all activities on the Swedish Medical Center Cherry Hill Campus…[including] handing out any form of communication to hospital staff, patients or visitors, and speaking to any hospital staff, patients or visitors on any subject.

WA CAN organizer Xochitl Maykovich told CHS that WA CAN has been unsuccessfully trying to take its concerns (outlined in this white paper) to Swedish CEO Tony Armada for months. “In the interim,” she said, “we decided that people need to know about charity care, and so we gave patients in the waiting room…charity care applications…[And] we put a few on the ER [waiting area] table…We were very polite, and the people that I talked to, they were like, ‘Oh wow, thanks.'” Continue reading