Seattle City Council to take up plan to transfer ownership of former Central District fire station to nonprofit Byrd Barr Place

A Seattle City Council committee will take up legislation Tuesday planned to set the stage for nonprofit Byrd Barr Place to take ownership of the 18th Ave former fire station it calls home.

AN ORDINANCE relating to the transfer of City property located at 722 18th Avenue, Seattle, Washington; authorizing the conveyance of the property to Byrd Barr Place, a Washington non-profit corporation, consistent with the intent of Resolution 31856 and to provide for the continued delivery of social services; making findings of fact about the consideration for the transfer; authorizing acceptance of a negative easement restricting future development of the property; superseding Resolution 31837 for the purposes of this ordinance; and authorizing the Director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services or designee to execute and deliver documents necessary to carry out the conveyance of such property on the terms and conditions of this ordinance.

The proposal follows a late 2018 resolution passed by the council calling for the transfer after Byrd Barr Place received a grant from the Washington Department of Commerce for $1,455,000 to renovate the building under the condition that it owns or holds a long-term lease for a minimum of ten years for the property. Continue reading

In pandemic’s Zoom era, Seattle takes another look at municipal broadband

From King County’s 2020 Broadband Access Study — the full study is embedded below

Devin Glaser’s goddaughter misses him.

Before all of this, Glaser could have popped over to visit her, but now they have to set up a Zoom video conference.

“I can’t imagine trying to predict the world where that’s the only way you can connect with your family,” he said.

Glaser, an activist with municipal broadband advocacy organization Upgrade Seattle, says the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced people to work remotely and students to learn online has only exacerbated the city’s need for a public, high-speed Internet system.

“It’s very obvious that Internet is all the more essential than it already was, and it was already essential,” Glaser said. He said that when his Internet goes out at night, he just goes to bed because there’s nothing else to do.

Meanwhile, after months of COVID-19 restrictions, the Seattle City Council conducts its public business online these days including massive conference calls that invite every citizen in Seattle to log in for public comment.

With that in mind, the council’s Alex Pedersen introduced a resolution requesting the city implement an action plan to provide affordable and high-speed Internet access to all in mid-May.

It might say a little about the city’s hopes for municipal high speed internet — and the power of the COVID-19 crisis and the past months of important Black Lives Matter protest — that the City Council is finally set to approve the resolution in late July.

Continue reading

‘More economic empowerment in the community’ — A Black church is leaving the Central District and a Black developer has a $6.9M plan for new growth

Coming next: Eight stories next to Uncle Ike’s

There are hopes and plans for a set of Central District properties to be put into service for the community and to help Black residents, businesses, and community groups thrive there. A key property near 23rd and Union will take a different path with similar goals.

The team of Gardner Global and its Onpoint real estate firm has announced it moving forward with a plan to create an eight-story mixed-use development on the land currently home to the Mount Calvary Christian Center. The effort would create a new corridor of growth for the Black-owned developer at the core of rapid economic investment in the Central District.

“We are living in unprecedented times,” Jaebadiah Gardner, CEO of Gardner Global, said in the announcement. “Our current events have shown us why our mission of building wealth for Black and Brown communities are so important and we are excited to have partners onboard who share this vision.” Continue reading

Former District 3 candidate DeWolf selected Seattle School Board president

Seattle City Council District 3 primary candidate Zachary DeWolf will serve as the Seattle School Board president after being selected this week by his counterparts.

The vote at the board’s Wednesday night session makes DeWolf an historic choice to lead the body charged with setting policies for the Seattle Public Schools system.

“I am incredibly grateful to serve as President of the Board; as the first queer, first Native and youngest President elected to this role, I deeply understand the awesome responsibility that has been given to me,” DeWolf said in a statement to CHS. Continue reading

Will more Capitol Hill businesses become pay transparent? Molly Moon’s, leading by example, hopes so

(Image: Molly Moon’s)

If you weren’t surprised by the revelation that a survey found nearly 50% of men believe the gender pay gap is “made up,” the kind of emails people have been sending to local ice cream chain Molly Moon’s won’t shock you either.

“We’ve received emails with people saying they’ll no longer be customers of ours because of our stance on pay transparency citing that women simply need to work harder and to stop whining,” Katie Cole, marketing director at the company, says.

What are the emailers upset about? The fact that founder and CEO Molly Moon Neitzel announced on April 2, Equal Pay Day, that the company had officially become pay transparent. Continue reading

East District Council appears destined to fold as City Hall pulls away

The East District Council met Monday to discuss its fate. (Image: CHS)

The East District Council met Monday to discuss its fate. (Image: CHS)

The first blow to the East District Council happened in July when Mayor Ed Murray made a surprise announcement that the city would begin a process to sever ties with the 13-council system and replace it with a new Community Involvement Commission. A plan is due on September 26th.

The second blow landed Monday night when Seattle neighborhood coordinator and East District Council wrangler Tim Durkan announced he is leaving the Department of Neighborhoods.

With Durkan out of the picture and a City Hall that has been critical of the district councils’ lack of diversity, the group has only one meeting tentatively scheduled for October. Without an influx of energy and focus on a new direction, that meeting could be the group’s last.

“What would you bring to this group that you wouldn’t bring to community council?” district council chair Lindy Wishard wondered aloud during Monday’s meeting at the Capitol Hill Library. “This isn’t where the action is, so what do we do?” said another member. Continue reading