Bounty Kitchen set to add Capitol Hill location in former Tallulah’s space — Plus, 19th Ave E’s Ritual House yoga says goodbye — UPDATE

Tallulah’s in better days (Image: CHS)

19th Ave E is losing one healthful business to the COVID-19 crisis but is set to welcome another to this quiet side of Capitol Hill.

Bounty Kitchen is making plans to take over the space left empty by the ugly exit of Tallulah’s late last year in a cloud of financial problems new owner Brad Haggen took over the Linda Derschang creation only a year earlier.

The restaurant has applied for a liquor license for a full bar at the 19th and Mercer location.

UPDATE: Bounty Kitchen’s start on Capitol HIll is being geared to the realities of the ongoing restrictions. Owner Meg Trainer tells CHS that will mean a beginning focused solely on takeout and delivery as the restaurant’s interior is overhauled and prepared for the future return of sit-down dining.

.”We’re humbled by the opportunity to expand at this time,” Trainer said.

The restaurant has been able to grow in a challenging time for the industry thanks to its core concepts of flexibility, efficiency, and healthy eating, Trainer says.

“There is a much larger conversation about what will happen with the restaurant industry but I think everyone has now learned a couple of things we’ve learned for a while.”

Continue reading

With hope from masks and lower hospitalization and death rates, Inslee says Washington at ‘critical moment’ in summer COVID-19 surge

Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday state officials are “actively considering other options” as Washington continues to see a rise in COVID-19 cases as businesses are reopening and social interaction increase after months of restrictions.

The governor said with the reopening of schools across the state representing a “critical moment,” his office may need need to act “in just the next few days.”

“Somehow we have to break that climb,” Inslee said.

With a freeze now extended through the end of July on counties moving forward in the state’s phased approach to lifting COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings and business, a next move could be for Inslee to join other governors in rolling back phases, or targeting specific industries like bars and restaurants. Continue reading

A fashion retailer grown far from its Seattle roots, Totokaelo joins Capitol Hill COVID-19 closure list

Inside Totokaelo’s street level showroom (Image: CHS)

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis will lay claim to one of the most upscale fashion retailers in Pike/Pine.

Totokaelo came to the neighborhood in 2012, expanding after its Pioneer Square birth and setting the stage for founder Jill Wenger to grow her global fashion ambitions. Wenger soon pushed Totokaelo into the New York fashion scene and set off on a rapid growth strategy. “We’re leaving so we can globalize,” Wenger said. “I want to be the biggest luxury fashion brand in the world, and the most coveted and the most beloved.” Continue reading

Durkan, Best counter with 2021 #defundSPD proposal — UPDATE

Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best say they have a plan to “transfer current law enforcement functions out of the Seattle Police Department” and make “preliminary reductions to the 2021 budget” as most members of the Seattle City Council have now said they will support #defundSPD initiatives as they set cuts to the city’s spending plan in the face of the COVDI-19 economic crisis.

Durkan and Best said they would unveil the plan at a Monday morning news conference.

UPDATE 10:25 AM: In the session with media, Durkan said she is focusing on a plan for $76 million in cuts to SPD in 2021 — about a third of the #defundSPD 50% goal. Durkan said the plan will call for $56 million of that cut coming from moving the 911 call center out of SPD as well as moving parking enforcement to the Seattle Department of Transportation. The city’s Office of Emergency Management and the Office of Police Accountability, the department’s oversight body, would also be moved to civilian control as part of the $56 million transfer.

Calling the demand for a 50% cut “arbitrary,” Durkan said she does not intend to meet the calls for a massive cut to SPD starting immediately.

Durkan announced Monday she has allocated $500,000 in the 2020 rebalanced budget for community engagement on the SPD budget and citywide work “to reimagine community safety.”

“The programs take time,” Durkan said.

If the council votes to approve a major, immediate slash of SPD’s budget, Durkan said she will fight it.

“I will veto it,” the mayor said. “We want to work with council for a responsible process to do this.” Continue reading

From short term rentals to coronavirus, how Roy Street Commons briefly became Capitol Hill’s only ‘COVID-19 Test Center’ — UPDATE: Back open

(Image: CHS)

12 Ave’s Roy Street Commons stands out among Capitol Hill apartment buildings as the only building of its size on the Hill allowed to be fully dedicated to short-term rentals;. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the building’s owners have again proven unusually innovative.

As the outbreak spread and rental business dried up, Roy Street became 12th Ave’s only COVID-19 Test Center.

Dr. Eric Friedland, an emergency medicine physician at Overlake Medical Center, opened the Covid Test Center out of the Roy Street Commons building that he and his wife own.

“I work in a hospital, so I don’t have a clinic to do this. I had an empty building and I thought ‘this is a reasonable goal,’ Friedland said. “A lot of people couldn’t get tested in March when the epidemic was really here so they want to know if they have antibodies or if they don’t. That was my whole goal, to try and provide the ability for people who didn’t have access to PCR testing who were sick in March to be able to figure out if they had the virus or not.” Continue reading

Seattle will, indeed, ‘Tax Amazon’ as $200M+ JumpStart tax on big businesses approved

People living unsheltered during the COVID-19 outbreak (Image: City of Seattle)


Seattle City Council budget chair Teresa Mosqueda thanked District 3 representative Kshama Sawant for the “dialogue” Monday as the body approved Mosqueda’s “JumpStart” plan for a new “progressive revenue” tax on the largest Seattle businesses.

“Seattle residents have made it clear – now is not the time for government austerity or divisiveness,” Mosqueda said in a statement following Monday’s full council approval. “Investing in communities of color, small businesses, and community health leads to a more robust and resilient economy. We are in the midst of a health and economic crisis that even a strong economy like Seattle may not be able to recover from quickly.”

“Thank you to the large coalition of community organizations who supported this plan – investing in Seattle is investing in our economy and our future,” Mosqueda said. Continue reading

‘Violations of the Governor’s Proclamation’ — Businesses must turn away customers without masks as state tries to quash reopening COVID-19 spike

(Image: Washington Department of Health)

With the spread of COVID-19 out of control across much of the nation and the rate of infection flat or on the rise in 48 states, Washington and King County are also starting July with an explosion in new cases.

Starting next week, Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered a statewide requirement for businesses to require all employees and customers to wear face coverings.

“Under this proclamation, businesses may not serve any customer, services or goods, if they do not comply with the state-wide face covering order,” a statement on the proclamation reads. The proclamation follows the implementation of statewide face covering requirements that went into effect June 26th. The state is also collecting citizen reports on business violations as part of the effort.

Inslee has also ordered a halt on advancing counties from their current phases. More restrictions and rollbacks could follow.

Despite the health risks, there is massive pressure to more fully restart the economy. The Seattle City Council next week will vote on a new tax on big businesses as it looks to patch the massive budget shortfall expected in the city in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The restrictions come as much of the state has seen loosening of social distancing and business restrictions coincide with an acceleration of the spread of the stubborn outbreak. In King County where restrictions were advanced to “Phase 2” to end June, the first case count of July brought a major spike with 251 new COVID-19 cases reported, the second highest day reported yet in the county. Seven of those cases were reported in the Capitol Hill and Central District area. Continue reading

Reopening: Capitol Hill salons old and new return, adjusting to ‘new norm’ of masked haircutting

New colors at 19th Ave Salon by Brandon Madsen (Image: 19th Ave Salon)

Capitol Hill beauty businesses are adjusting to cutting and styling hair under state-mandated changes, including wearing PPE, issuing temperature checks and maintaining six feet of distance when possible.

For 19th Avenue Salon owner Jamie De Maria, implementing these safety requirements has been an important part of opening the new business. The salon had only been open for a week when COVID-19 restrictions shut the business down.

To his surprise, De Maria said the shop has not struggled with customers since reopening.

“We’ve been so beyond busy and turning clients away and working 12 hour days — it’s been insane,” De Maria said. “I would say 80-90% of our new customers are neighbors and residents of the community that have been walking by the salon seeing the construction happening and waiting for it to open and reading our reviews online.”

Salons got the go-ahead to reopen at 25% capacity under Phase 1.5 restrictions in early June and now have the option to expand to 50% capacity as part of Phase 2. Continue reading

Seattle a step away from approving new ‘progressive revenue’ tax on big businesses to help overcome COVID-19 budget crisis

With reporting by Seattle City Council Insight

Taking a route closer to the middle ground on bridging Seattle’s coming COVID-19 crisis revenue gap, the Seattle City Council approved “progressive revenue bill” CB 119810 out of committee Wednesday, that will create a new tax on the city’s largest businesses that could generate more than $200 million a year for city services.

“Today we voted on a major structural change in how we finance public services,” South Seattle rep and co-sponsor Tammy Morales said about the passage. “Throughout this renewed budget conversation, I voiced my strong desire to see a sizable progressive revenue package that begins to address the enormity of the issues our city faces.”

The proposal will create a payroll expense tax on businesses located in Seattle with more than $7 million in gross payroll on “high income earning employees.” Continue reading

With Seattle and King County cases on rise again, officials say not enough people isolating at first signs of illness

(Image: Washington State Department of Health’s latest statewide situation report)

Coronavirus cases are surging across the nation. In Seattle and King County, even as restrictions are loosened after months of “stay home” lockdown, officials say there is also an increase in people becoming sick and new challenges on “progress to zero” initiatives to stamp out spread of the virus.

Positive cases reported by Public Health are up around 50% compared to the start of June. Yes, testing has also surged with Seattle and King County residents seeking tests at rates of around 2,000 to 3,000 per day. The most recent positive rate — the percentage of those who turn up positive with the virus out of those who have been tested — has been coming in at over 6% this week, a step back to the state of things a month or more ago. In the ZIP codes, covering Capitol Hill and the Central District, the increase has so far been less severe — positive cases are up around 12% in an area of the city where people have been seeking tests at higher than typical rates.

“Recent cases are from all areas of the county, with the largest increase in new cases in young adults and Seattle residents,” the county bulletin on the increase reads. “At this point, no specific venue or risk factor has been identified as a cause of the increase.” Continue reading