A limp attempt late in the Trump administration to punish Seattle for Black Lives Matter protests and seize on right wing panic around the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest has drifted into history.
Welcome to the Capitol Hill Not So Autonomous Zone of the Former Anarchist Jurisdiction of Seattle, Washington.
President Joe Biden this week reversed the September 2020 Trump administration designation that attempted to penalize three major left-leaning cities — New York, Portland, and Seattle — in federal funding decisions because they were not cracking down on protests following the police-killing of George Floyd. Continue reading →
The process of justice around a wave of political unrest last month including a violent crowd that formed in Olympia and the storming of the Capitol in Washington D.C. has netted another individual with a connection to our Capitol Hill.
Florida man Daniel Bakerhas been charged with transmitting an interstate communication “containing a threat to kidnap any person or threat to injure the person of another” after he “issued a call to arms for like-minded individuals to violently confront protesters gathered at the Florida Capitol.”
The FBI describes Baker as a heavily armed “hardcore leftist” who traveled the world including fighting the Turkish government with the Syrian Kurdish Army, the YPG, in the Middle East and allege the army veteran posted threats against military officers and police on social media.
According to the FBI, Baker’s 2020 travels “to participate in protests that have resulted in violence” also brought him to Seattle where he became part of the scene at CHOP including on the late June night of this deadly shootout that left a 16-year-old dead and a 14-year-old gravely wounded. Continue reading →
The reopening to the public of Capitol Hill’s East Precinct will apparently come piece by piece. This week, plywood is being removed from the Seattle Police Department’s precinct headquarters at 12th and Pine, the first time Seattle daylight has touched the glass since the summer days of CHOP and the Capitol Hill protest zone. The large cement wall and fencing barricading the facility and closing it off from the public remain.
A department spokesperson tells CHS the removal of the plywood “is part of a process underway” to fully reopen the precinct “when safe to do so.” Work is also underway to repair the glass and strengthen the windows.
In a new study, Seattle-based real estate service Redfin really gets to the heart of the matter of the summer’s Capitol Hill occupied protest zone — condo prices:
“Seattle’s condo market has really struggled in general during the pandemic, but the units that are closest to the CHOP have typically been selling even more slowly than other condos in Capitol Hill,” said local Redfin real estate agent Forrest Moody.
“I had one listing that was a block away from the CHOP and across the street from a Ferrari dealership that had its windows smashed,” Moody goes on to say. “The condo actually sold within five days, but that’s likely because we listed it for $25,000 less than we had planned to back in February.” Continue reading →
KING 5 is reporting new details of text messages and emails from city officials this summer as the CHOP occupied protest took shape on Capitol Hill including bizarre exchanges like this reported between Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and hip hop artist Raz Simone who had been part of the chaotic, exciting, and growing demonstrations and was asked to try to do something to help protect the abandoned East Precinct:
“Raz, I just got word that 4 people just broke the door at SPD and entered the building,” said a Scoggins text to Simone.
“A way to keep SPD out of the space is secure that building during the protest. Can you guys work with us on that?” Scoggins asked.
But despite former Chief Carmen Best’s new job with NBC, KING did not add much to the question at the center of how CHOP formed and grew on Capitol Hill in the first place — who ordered the abandonment of the East Precinct?
On Friday, May 29th, protests begin in Seattle after the police killing of George Floyd as thousands marched and demonstrated. Windows were smashed at Capitol Hill’s Amazon grocery and Ferrari dealership and seven arrests were reported. As the protests grew through the city, on Wednesday, June 3rd a “Defund Seattle Police” rally began in Cal Anderson after a battle of tear gas and blast balls as police moved on demonstrators and National Guard troops joined the lines with police outside the East Precinct. The next day, the city began bowing to protest demands, lifting its curfew as demonstrations continued. Cal Anderson continued to grow as a center of the ongoing protests and a battle line of sorts emerges at 11th and Pine. Clashes continued and on Saturday, June 6th Seattle City Council members joined the protest. Sunday, after the mayor’s speech on deescalation of the ongoing protest clashes between demonstrators and police, SPD responds with its strongest show of force yet in the “standoff” at 11th and Pine. That Sunday night, a man drives into the crowd at 11th and Pine and shoots a demonstrator. Nikolas Fernandez, the brother of an East Precinct cop, will be arrested and charged with one count of first degree assault. On Monday, June 8th, moving trucks arrived at the East Precinct as city officials said there were credible threats of arson targeting the building identified by the FBI. On Tuesday, June 9th, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone forms around an emptied East Precinct
The KING 5 report provides some color behind the chaos of the situation: Continue reading →
A longtime 12th Ave small business that ended up playing an outsized role in the summer’s Capitol Hill occupied protest zone is closing shop and leaving the neighborhood — a move that will be viewed through the prism of months of protests but that has been in the works for years as part of a multimillion dollar land and development deal.
In 1999, John McDermott and Russell Kimble bought Car Tender, a Capitol Hill auto repair garage on 12th Ave at E Olive St.
“We have our craft and we do enjoy that but, like everything, it has its challenges. What we enjoy the most is helping people,” Kimble tells CHS. After 49 years of serving the Capitol Hill community, Car Tender is relocating to Shoreline. “Our move has been coming for a long time because our property sold, so moving has always been the plan,” Kimble said.
The business has been servicing European cars including BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover, and others, in the city since 1971.
In 2016, the garage partners bought the property where their business was located in a $7.6 million deal. Two years later with early development planning in place, the property was sold to developer Mack Real Estate Group for $10.2 million. Continue reading →
A lawsuit brought by a collection of 12th Ave real estate developers, small businesses, and residents against the City of Seattle and Mayor Jenny Durkan over the handling of this summer’s CHOP Capitol Hill occupied protest zone can move forward, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Judge Thomas S. Zilly of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington denied the city’s motion to dismiss the case, ruling in favor of three of the four claims against City Hall alleging that city leaders violated property rights by allowing a dangerous protest and encampment to continue for weeks.
“Plaintiffs plausibly allege that the City’s actions — encouraging CHOP participants to wall off the area and agreeing to a ‘no response’ zone within and near CHOP’s borders — foreseeably placed Plaintiffs in a worse position,” the judge wrote in his decision. The full decision can be found at the end of this post. Continue reading →
The Seattle City Attorney’s office and lawyers for a collection of Capitol Hill property owners and businesses suing over the CHOP occupied protest zone have agreed on at least one thing: if the case ever goes to trial, justice will take years.
According to the latest filings in the case, both sides in the CHOP lawsuit have agreed they won’t be ready for a trial until February 2022 — one year and seven months from the day Mayor Jenny Durkanordered the camp raided and swept.
E Pine was stripped of its BLM mural last week as part of a project to recreate a more durable version (Image: Alex Garland)
The project to remake Capitol Hill’s Black Lives Matter mural as a permanent feature of E Pine should move forward this week with a forecast for dry weather making the pavement a suitable canvas for the effort.
A Seattle Department of Transportation representative tells CHS that artists are planned to be on the street starting Wednesday to begin the process of repainting the 16 10-foot-tall letters. SDOT is planning a four-day window for the project but they’re expecting the work might wrap up early. E Pine will be closed to traffic during the painting and sealing work. Continue reading →