In the shadow of the greenest office building in the world along a busy street destined for bus rapid transit, Capitol Hill adds an electric vehicle charging station

(Image: Electrify America)

By Jethro Swain

Already home to the greenest office building in the world and still set to be transformed by 2024 into a transportation corridor optimized for public bus transit, Seattle’s efforts to add more infrastructure for electric cars are driving a new construction project in the surface parking lot of a Capitol Hill bank.

Electrify America, a nationwide electric vehicle charging station company, is constructing a new Seattle charging station in Capitol Hill at 1300 E Madison St in the parking lot of the Bank of America branch currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Madison station is projected to open this summer, Electrify America told CHS, and it will have four DC (direct current) fast chargers that can charge capable vehicles at up to 150kW. Electrify America stations normally have at least one (often two) CCS and one CCS-CHAdeMO style chargers, the two of which together cover almost all types of electric vehicles. Many of their chargers in metropolitan areas, including the majority of the ones around Seattle, also include a level 2 charger.

Electrify America is an expanding company that has 556 live locations across the country with 143 more coming soon, according to their website. They currently have two fast charging locations open in the city of Seattle, and more than 300 open stations across the state of Washington. Electrify America is planning on building six other stations in the city of Seattle, including a few near downtown including one in Ballard, the U-District, and Queen Anne, to go along with the Capitol Hill station.

The parking lot off E Madison, where the charging station has been approved by the City of Seattle and welcomed by Bank of America, is currently unused by customers and the construction for the charging stations is underway.

The stations will be placed in the middle of the parking lot, and there is an entrance to the lot from both E Pike and E Madison.

Electrify America’s expansion into the center of Seattle highlights Seattle’s continued push to encourage electric vehicles and the need for a stable infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations. The priority of Electrify America, according to them, is to expand access to fast charging in metro areas and along major highway routes. They also put their resources into a “future-proof” network by deploying exclusively 150kW and 350kW chargers, which are the fastest speeds available currently. Continue reading

The King County election nobody has heard about — still

Let’s conserve some stuff (Image: King County)

In 2019, CHS called it the King County election nobody has heard about. In 2021, we’re pretty sure you still haven’t.

There’s an open seat again on the King County Conservation District board and the vote, unlike any other civic election you can currently participate in, happens online. You can learn more — and cast your ballot — here.

The district works “directly with private landowners to care for the land and resources” that helps “farmers and other landowners voluntarily preserve and enhance our natural resources through cost-sharing, education and technical assistance.”

Eight people are vying for the six-member board’s Position 3.

  • Kali Clark
  • Melissa Tatro
  • Wayne Gullstad
  • Brittney Bush Bollay
  • Doug Hennick
  • David Toledo
  • John Comerford
  • Natalie Reber

Happy voting.


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‘Super Massive’ smoke plume arrives over Seattle — UPDATE

Seattle’s smoke-filled sunrise (Image: CHS)

The expected push of heavy smoke from West Coast wildfires arrived across the Seattle region late Thursday night as air sensors tipped from “moderate” to “unhealthy” readings across the area.

The city woke up to a grey, fog-like layer and predictions that the smoke will last through the weekend and possibly into Monday. Continue reading

2020 Seattle smoke season arrives as Washington, Oregon, and California burn — UPDATE: ‘Smoke Alert!’

GOES imagery from Wednesday morning shows smoke moving northward

Unhealthy levels of wildfire smoke and ash that arrived in Seattle following the Labor Day holiday will likely persist and — possibly — increase in the skies above the city into Friday, forecasters say.

Seattle’s air quality Wednesday was considered “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups,” according to official guidelines and authorities continue to encourage people to stay inside and limit exposure. Continue reading

Environmental media nonprofit Grist joins the mix at Capitol Hill’s super green Bullitt Center

It’s a natural pairing. Seattle-based Grist, the Seattle-born media nonprofit that has been dedicated to environmental news, commentary, and ideas since 1999, is joining the Bullitt Center, 15th and Madison’s “living” office building.

Even as COVID-19 has changed the way we work, the environmental nonprofit say it still wants a central core where its staff of around 20 can collaborate.

“Grist employs staff all around the country, so we have been well equipped to effectively transition to remote work here in Seattle, too,” a statement sent to CHS about the planned Bullitt office reads. “We foresee using the Bullitt Center space for staff to engage in collaborative work and not necessarily use the office as an everyday destination, though, we might get back to that given a change in the current circumstances.” Continue reading

Equity, sustainability, and maybe a ‘superblock’ — Capitol Hill business owner is new EcoDistrict leader

Moodie at a conference with Capitol Hill business owners discussing the COVID-19 impact earlier this month (Image: CHS)

By Andrew LaChapelle, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

There are other problems in the world — and opportunities to address them — beyond COVID-19. Donna Moodie, a longtime Seattle restaurateur and owner of 14th and Union’s Marjorie, is already thinking about how to solve them.

Moodie took the helm as executive director of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict program to start 2020.

Her organization is dedicated to equity and sustainability.

“I’ve been really inspired with the youth movement, trying to be more aware of the state we are leaving things in for the next generations to come,” Moodie said. Continue reading

‘Amazon Tax Legislation’ unveiled — Plan would tax payrolls of Amazon and Seattle’s ‘825 biggest companies’

Swatting away ethics concerns, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant unveiled her proposal Wednesday morning that would raise $300 million for housing and environmental initiatives with a tax on Amazon and Seattle’s largest payrolls.

“On behalf of our movement, I’m excited to put forward this bold, transformative proposal,” Sawant said. “We know that big business, the wealthy, and the political establishment will staunchly oppose this, and that we will need a powerful movement. If we win, this will not only transform the lives of Seattle’s working people, it will set a historical marker for cities around the nation.”

The online giant remains in Sawant’s crosshairs. Sawant’s official Seattle City Council press release on the announcement calls her proposal the “Amazon Tax Legislation.” Continue reading

Design review: First Hill ‘Living Building’ will climb 21 stories and be constructed like LEGO, piece by piece

CollinsWoerman’s designs for 901 Madison

Madison Street’s next contribution to Seattle’s ultra-green Living Building program could be a 21-story apartment tower set to rise in unique fashion on First Hill. The development takes its first bow in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night.

Plans for the 901 Madison project detail a more than 170-unit building — around 45 of those units will be affordable using two housing programs, MFTE and Mandatory Housing Affordability — with new street level retail, and, yes, even though it will be super green, underground parking for 40 vehicles.

Developers Sustainable Living Innovations and architect CollinsWoerman plan to make use of the city’s Living Building incentive program that will allow two additional floors of height in exchange for meeting ecologically friendly building standards. The two floors, by the way, would boost the total units in the building by about 12%

The building is planned to generate 105% of the power it uses through a mixture of wastewater heat recovery (using the heat from hot water that goes down the drain), efficient heat pumps, and solar panels. They are also exploring the idea of using wastewater heat from nearby buildings. Continue reading

It’s about that bold climate action, boss — Youth climate activists push Mayor on Green New Deal executive order

Three young climate activists let Mayor Durkan know that they are looking to her for “bold climate action” (Image: SCCI)

With reporting by Seattle City Council Insight

In December, Mayor Jenny Durkan was named a “City Leader of the Year” in large part for her pledges to tackle climate change. 2020 begins with work to live up to the accolade.

Wednesday, Durkan signed an executive order specifying several actions that her administration will take to advance a “Green New Deal for Seattle.”

Last year the City Council passed a Green New Deal resolution and established an oversight board for environment-related work by the city. The resolution lists many actions, including studying the feasibility of the city purchasing renewable natural gas for use in buildings and the city’s transportation fleet and writing a “Green New Deal budget memo” as part of the annual budget process. Continue reading

Rent on Capitol Hill is too high for human composting — Neighborhood-born Recompose unveils plans for first facility in Seattle

(Image: Olson Kundig)

A revolution in “death care” with Capitol Hill roots will take first shape in a SoDo warehouse.

Rent on Capitol Hill is too high for composting humans.

Recompose has announced the location for its first human composting facility and unveiled architecture firm Olson Kundig’s designs for the 18,000+ square foot facility:

at the core of the recompose center is a modular system containing approximately 75 of these vessels, stacked and arranged to demarcate a central gathering space. there are also spaces for the storage and preparation of bodies, administrative back-of-house areas, and an interpretive public lobby which describes the recompose process. porous connections between indoor and outdoor spaces further blur the boundary between the human experience and natural processes.

Continue reading