Mantilla approved to remain as Durkan’s Department of Neighborhoods head

Mantilla

Slowly but surely, Mayor Jenny Durkan is building a more stable long-term team at Seattle City Hall. Monday, the mayor announced that Andres Mantilla will remain as the head of the city’s Department of Neighborhoods after the City Council voted to approve him for the permanent role.

Mantilla has been serving as interim director since Durkan replaced longtime DON leader Kathy Nyland in the wake of the shakeup of the city’s neighborhood council system to create a more diverse and equitable “engagement” process. Continue reading

In face of $40M suit, Sawant plans ‘Save the Showbox’ concert at Seattle City Hall

(@gibbstack via Instagram)

Capitol Hill’s District 3 rep Kshama Sawant is soldiering ahead with a “Save the Showbox” concert and rally at City Hall despited a $40 million lawsuit against the city over a surgical preservation ordinance that has temporarily staved off the sale and redevelopment of the 1st Ave venue.

Seattle husband and wife rock band Smokey Brights will headline the Wednesday, September 19th, 5:00 PM “Concert/Rally” preceding a public hearing in Seattle City Council chambers. UPDATE: The bill has grown with Sol, Sassy Black, and Dude York joining the show.

CHS reported earlier on the Sawant ordinance passed by the council and at the heart of the $40 million lawsuit from the Showbox property’s owner, a Las Vegas company owned by Seattle strip club magnate Roger Forbes. Among the arguments in the suit are allegations Sawant and other council members “engaged in ex parte communications with Save the Showbox supporters but failed to disclose those communications as required by law” and that the ordinance represents an illegal “spot zone.”  Continue reading

‘Saved’ from microhousing plan, Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Apartments to be considered as Seattle landmark

A coalition led by Historic Seattle and residents of Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Apartments has put the Bellevue Ave E building up for consideration for Seattle landmarks protections.

A plan for to convert the building to microhousing was stopped by a campaign led by building tenants, neighbors, and preservation advocates earlier this year.

A second report on the 94-year-old “eclectic Tudor Revival” structure was prepared at the request of property owner Alliance Multifamily Investments, according to the document (PDF) posted to the Department of Neighborhoods landmarks site. That report from July is now labeled as a “Historic Resource Report.”

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‘Keep public land in public hands for public good’ — Seattle looks for path to use surplus city land for affordable housing

“The Mercer Megablock”

During Wednesday afternoon’s Seattle City Council finance and neighborhoods committee hearing, the council members and housing advocates will discuss revised policies and procedures for dealing with city-owned surplus land, building on a resolution sponsored by Council member Teresa Mosqueda that allows Seattle City Light “to sell surplus property for affordable housing purposes at a price and on terms and conditions negotiated by City Light, and as approved by the City Council through ordinance authorizing such disposition,” according to the resolution.

“Keep public land in public hands for public good,” Laura Loe Bernstein, founder of Share The Cities, said “This is the bare minimum we should be doing to prevent the next housing crisis.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Renters session hopes to explain ‘what exactly is design review?’

12th Ave Arts, the mixed-use affordable housing, commercial, theater, and nonprofit office space development from Capitol Hill Housing, completed its pass through design review in 2012.

Wednesday night, it will be the setting for the Capitol Hill Renters Initiative session designed to help Capitol Hill residents better understand the public process of shaping the design of its largest, most important new buildings. Seattle Design Explained: What Exactly is Design Review? takes place Wednesday night in the 12th Ave Arts Pike/Pine room:

Not sure why new buildings look the way they do? Wondering how design review affects renters? Want to find out about how to shape new design in our city for the better? Then come join us on September 12th for an explainer and discussion about design review! Christina Ghan from the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections and Aaron Hursey from the Seattle Design Commission will be joining us to help explain 1) what Seattle’s design review process actually is; (2) how the recently-updated Capitol Hill Design Guidelines add on to citywide standards; and (3) how to get involved through the new Early Community Outreach process. There will be time for questions and lively discussion.

Seattle’s design review process continues to evolve. In July, CHS reported on new rules for the process designed to give communities an earlier say in shaping large developments. Meanwhile, the guidelines that shape Capitol Hill reviews underwent a revision this year for the first time in a decade.

Sawant campaign to ‘Save the Showbox’ at heart of $40M lawsuit

The Kshama Sawant-championed Seattle City Council decision to “save the Showbox” by surgically sliding the 1st Ave venue under the historical protections of the Pike Place Market has the city staring down the barrel of a $40 million lawsuit and an embarrassing reversal of the ordinance.

While District 3 and Capitol Hill representative Sawant is mentioned by name only once in the 22-page suit, her political effort to stymie the planned sale and redevelopment of the property owned by strip club magnate Roger Forbes is front and center in the suit:

When politicians cater to populist calls – whether those calls are “lock her up,” “build the wall,” “ban Muslims,” or “Save the Showbox” – civil and other rights are placed at risk. Populism, and politicians’ desires to appease their loudest constituents and generate headlines must, however, yield to the rule of law. Luckily for those who prefer protection of civil, constitutional and property rights, the courts exist to preserve, protect and enforce the rule of law.

About the D3 council member herself, lawyers at the Seattle-based Byrnes, Keller, and Cromwell firm representing the property — set to be acquired by Canadian developer Onni Group to build a 44-story apartment building after demolition of the Showbox — say Sawant’s actions were an “Appearance of Fairness” violation: Continue reading

Forum discusses connections between gentrification and violence on Capitol Hill

The “What’s Gentrification Got To Do With It?: Hate and Violence in Capitol Hill” forum covered “hate, violence, policing and gentrification occurring in Capitol Hill.”

At 12th Avenue Arts Thursday night, the Northwest Network Pink Shield Project hosted a panel discussion on hate violence, policing, and gentrification in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Much of the conversation revolved around the connection between these three topics, including how greater inequality in recent years in Seattle has created a situation that breeds hate violence, whether it be against people of color or the LGBTQIA+ population.

“You have wealth to a certain community increasing, inequality expanding, poverty worsening, homelessness skyrocketing,” Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, a panelist, said. “At the same time, you will see correlated with that, increase in violence, crimes, car break-ins, and house break-ins.” Continue reading

Seattle cracking down on protesters who block downtown streets

A March “No New Youth Jail” protest set the stage for a new activist tactic in Seattle (Image: CHS)

City Attorney Pete Holmes has come out swinging against protesters who block traffic on downtown Seattle streets:

This new type of highly disruptive action can cause workers to arrive late for work and emergency-response vehicles to be stuck in traffic. The ripple impact of these unanticipated traffic blockades quickly spreads and creates gridlock in the downtown core of our city and on to state Highway 99. This impact will only be heightened with the forthcoming Viaduct teardown and our city entering the “period of maximum constraint” traffic strain.

“When protesters use these methods, they are doing more than advocating for their cause,” Holmes wrote this week in an op-ed for the Seattle Times explaining his decision to prosecute people arrested at downtown protests earlier this year. “They are creating a disruption that redirects vital resources that could be needed elsewhere.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | East Precinct’s community picnic: police horses, 17% raises, and, yes, reforms

The Seattle Police rank and file were part of the fun Saturday as Capitol Hill’s East Precinct hosted its annual community picnic, this year back on 12th Ave in front of the precinct headquarters. If you noticed brighter smiles, one, hopefully the brass did all the work grilling the free hot dogs. Two, everybody is about to get a raise.

It’s not exactly a celebration but there is likely more than a little relief that the union representing the department’s more than 1,300 personnel seems to have finally reached a compromise deal with the city on a new contract that will give officers solid raises while also tying further reforms to the package. Continue reading

Speaking of Seattle transit bumps, officials sorting Madison Bus Rapid Transit trolley problem

While we’re taking a spin as the Capitol Hill Transit Blog, the area’s next big transit investment is facing a major barrier to acquiring its much needed $60 million federal grant. It’s not Donald Trump. And it’s not this E Madison gay bar.

The Seattle Transit Blog broke the news last week — the Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro have been sideswiped by a collision of international trade barriers, the unique design of Madison “Bus Rapid Transit,” and the corridor’s challenging grade and are scrambling to find a bus design capable of meeting the $120 million project’s needs and plans for electric trolley coaches:

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