State OKs more ambitious plan for Pike overpass street and bicycle improvements

With the weight issue resolved, the sidewalk expansion and concrete planter boxes are back in the plans for the overpass

By Ryan Packer

A key segment of the $39 million plan to remake Pike and Pine Streets between Pike Place Market and Capitol Hill will proceed as it was originally envisioned. That project, now formally called the Pike Pine Streetscape and Bicycle Improvements project but which will likely continue to go by the catchier name Pike Pine Renaissance, is one facet of the larger Seattle waterfront revamp and is on track to start construction next fall with plans for a 2024 opening.

This summer, we reported that the plan to connect and upgrade bicycle and pedestrian facilities on both of these corridors had hit a snag on the I-5 overpass along Pike. The Washington State Department of Transportation, which controls the bridge, had determined that expanded sidewalks and concrete planter boxes to separate the bike lane would put too much weight on the bridge structure.

Now the project team has announced that the original design will proceed as envisioned. “The feasibility of adding weight to existing older bridges is based on a complex quantitative structural evaluation,” SDOT project manager Thérèse Casper said in a written statement. Continue reading

Seattle freeway encampments to be cleared as rock throwing incidents bring surveillance flights, arrests

A small surveillance plane buzzed large circles around Capitol Hill and the Central District early Thursday morning as crews prepared to remove encampments above the I-90 and I-5 interchange area in the core of Seattle after weeks of rock and debris throwing incidents freeway endangering motorists.

The continued surveillance and camp removal follows the East Precinct’s arrest Tuesday of a man for throwing rocks at cars just before rush hour near the eastbound onramp to I-90 from Rainier Ave S. The arrest is one of at least five the King County Prosecutor’s office says have been taken into custody in recent weeks for the bizarre and dangerous acts. A sixth person was taken into custody but released, officials say, after the Washington State Patrol determined the suspect “was not the person they thought he was.”

Tuesday’s incident required an “help the officer” alert to be issued as police sped to the scene as the suspect began fighting during his arrest by WSP. Seattle Police says “a loaded 9mm magazine” fell from the man’s waistband as he was being apprehended. The area and nearby encampments were searched but a weapon was not located. Continue reading

911 | Pike/Pine Friday night gun arrests, I-5 crisis closure, truck takes out utility pole on 23rd Ave E

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS 911 coverage here. Hear sirens and wondering what’s going on? Check out Twitter reports from @jseattle or tune into the CHS Scanner page.

  • Gun arrests: Seattle Police reports an eagle-eyed officer busted a pair of men on firearms violations after seeing one pass a handgun to the other near Cal Anderson around 11:15 PM Friday:
    Officers working in the 1000 block of East Pine Street at 11:15 pm Friday saw what they believed to be a man handing a firearm to another man. The officers investigated further and as they approached the man with the gun placed it into his pocket. The police discovered that the man with the gun is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm.
    SPD says officers confiscated the Ruger pistol and arrested both men, one for firearms violations the other for unlawful carrying of a handgun.
  • I-5 crisis: Two lanes of both northbound and southbound I-5 were closed Sunday morning through downtown Seattle below the Olive Way overpass as Seattle Police and Seattle Fire responded for a person in crisis and threatening to jump. The person was talked off the overpass, and taken to the hospital for observation as the situation was resolved with no reported injuries.
  • 23rd Ave E closure: The 23rd Ave/24th Ave curve at Turner Way E was closed for hours Sunday afternoon and early evening after a pick-up truck left the road and smashed through a utility pole, requiring an emergency response from crews to repair the damage and stabilize wires. The incident which began before 5 PM dragged out for a few hours as the work was completed. There were no reported injuries.

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Midnight I-5 crash leaves semi dangling over Colonnade Park — UPDATE

A late night crash on I-5 echoed across lower Capitol Hill with the sound of screeching metal as a semi truck and trailer was left dangling above Eastlake’s Colonnade Park between the northbound and southbound decks of the freeway early Thursday morning. Continue reading

Remember that f#!cking plane flying over Capitol Hill during last summer’s protest? Here’s what it was up to

In early June in the first days of Seattle’s summer of Black Lives Matter protests and the formation of CHOP, a strange, noisy, seemingly endlessly circling airplane added to the peculiar tension building on Capitol Hill.

Thanks to Seattle criminal defense attorney Nacim Bouchtia, we can now get a look at what that Cessna 206 was up to in the air above the neighborhood.

Bouchtia filed a public records request with the Washington State Patrol for video surveillance recorded by the plane this summer including its long, droning loops above Capitol Hill. Those videos have now been uploaded to Youtube here.

CHS reported on the plane and WSP’s assistance to law enforcement on the ground during early June protest activity around the East Precinct: Continue reading

I-5 arrests part of Seattle MLK Day 2021 as thousands march from Central District

Seattle’s MLK Day 2021 celebrations Monday were a reflection of the times with marchers stepping off from the Central District socially spaced and masked and a protest effort that branched off and brought traffic to a stop on I-5 generating headlines across the country.

“BLM protesters arrested, cited with blocking Seattle freeway on MLK Day,” Fox News reported, wringing its hands with concern over “the acronym for Black Lives Matter” being painted across the traffic-snarled freeway.

There were 12 people arrested and at least two cars impounded, the Washington State Patrol reported. UPDATE: None of the dozen were booked into jail, the WSP tells CHS. The King County Jail refused the bookings, according to a state trooper spokesperson. We have not yet confirmed why they were not accepted. UPDATE x2: The refusals fall under current restrictions to reduce the number of people being held at the King County Jail during the ongoing pandemic.

Thousands more marched from 23rd Ave’s Garfield High to downtown in the city’s annual showing in respect to the slain civil rights leader. Continue reading

Driver in Summer Taylor vehicular homicide case ordered released from jail as case moves slowly toward trial

The man charged with vehicular homicide after he hit and killed activist Summer Taylor on I-5 has been ordered released from jail and placed on home detention despite being held on bail of $1.2 million.

According to court records, Dawit Kelete was ordered released after a bid from his lawyers to allow the defendant to go under house arrest and electronic monitoring as he awaits trial.

Kelete pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and reckless driving after he crashed into a Black Lives Matter protest on I-5 on July 4th, killing one demonstrator, and badly injuring another. Continue reading

‘4/5ths’ — County proposal would make big loan to help patch part of $300M financing hole in Seattle’s massive, nearly complete convention center expansion

Crews pouring the roof deck at the Summit Addition last week at the Washington State Convention Center (Image: Lease Crutcher Lewis)

The developer of the massive convention center expansion under construction downtown says the project is seeking help from the the city, the state, and the county in patching a $300 million hole in its finances from the COVID-19 crisis. Thursday, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced he will step forward first with a proposed $100 million loan for the project from cash part of the county’s $3.4 billion investment pool.

But the city, and the state will have to follow suit, apparently.

“No, this is not enough,” Matt Griffin of developer Pine Street Group said in a press conference Thursday to discuss the proposed $100 million loan.

Constantine called the loan proposal on the “4/5ths” completed Washington State Convention Center expansion project “a safe investment.” Continue reading

Driver who sped through I-5 protest killing one charged with vehicular homicide

The driver who sped onto a closed I-5 during a Seattle Black Lives Matter protest, killing one and badly injuring another when he raced through the crowd of demonstrators, will be charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and reckless driving, the King County Prosecutor announced Wednesday.

Prosecutors say 27-year-old Dawit Kelete tested sober after he crashed into and killed 24-year-old Summer Taylor and sent 32-year-old Diaz Love to the hospital with serious injuries. The Seattle man remains jailed on $1.2 million bail. He is scheduled to enter a plea on the charges in two weeks.

The charges indicate prosecutors and detectives do not have evidence that Kelete targeted the protest. “Additional charges may be added or amended based on the information that may be sent to our office from the ongoing investigation,” a statement from the prosecutor’s office reads.

Prosecutors say the investigation,is being handled by the Washington State Patrol and the FBI.

CHS reported on the July 4th, 1:30 AM collision after Kelete drove onto the closed freeway in a white Jaguar and sped toward the crowd, careening into Taylor and Love, and trying to race away before being arrested after he was stopped by a car in place to protect the protestors. Continue reading

Summer Taylor remembered

Summer Taylor, right, dancing early Saturday morning on I-5 (Images: @nowah_j)

They died after dancing the Cupid Shuffle on I-5 in the middle of Seattle on a night of protest and energy with friends and loved ones.

Summer Taylor was 24.

The activist and Capitol Hill resident died Saturday as they marched and danced with the nightly Black Femme March for Black Lives Matter. As it had for weeks, the group entered the freeway and brought traffic to a stop to get their message out and make a stand. Continue reading