Fire in under-construction 13th Ave apartment development investigated

(Image: Seattle Fire Department)

Seattle Fire says nobody was found inside after a fire did heavy damage Saturday morning to the upper stories of an apartment building under construction near 13th and Mercer.

Heavy smoke was reported billowing from the fourth floor of the new development around 11 AM as firefighters arrived to find the blaze spreading into the building. As ladder crews searched for anybody possibly trapped inside the under-construction structure ,SFD says its engine crews stretched hose lines to the fourth floor and put water on the fire. SFD reports it took 35 minutes to extinguish the blaze. Continue reading

Design review: Tree preservation, parking, and new housing — A 13th Ave project with something for everyone on Capitol Hill

A new project planned for the 600 block of 13th Ave E will continue the area’s transition away from most of its remaining single family-style housing. This week, the project takes its first bow in front of the East Design Review Board.

Under the project, three adjacent 120(ish)-year-old houses and a detached garage on 13th between E Mercer and E Roy will be torn down. In their place will rise a four-story, 50-foot tall building with about 36 apartments, a trade officials in the housing squeezed city say is necessary for Seattle to address ongoing affordability and homelessness crises.

The developer, Leschi Lakeside Property Management, working with Kirkland-based Milbrandt architects, are proposing the usual three options for how the building might be shaped. As this meeting is the early design guidance phase, most details are focused on the basic massing and layout of the planned development.

All three proposals call for parking access roughly in the middle of the building, and therefore, mid-block, which is less than ideal, but really the only option. All three are roughly rectangular in shape. There are plans to plant new trees along western edge of the property – the back of the building – to give the existing neighbors more privacy. Continue reading

Video shows East Precinct officers back down after bystanders step in over heavy response to Capitol Hill ‘shots fired’ 911 calls

Reports of gunfire and yelling in the street Wednesday night near 12th and Mercer led to a tense situation with East Precinct officers taking aim on an unarmed person in crisis before deciding to retreat from the scene when a crowd of bystanders gathered.

The quickly formed and instantly tense standoff is an example of how fast a police response to a 911 report involving a gun can escalate and also shows how perceptions of police in a standoff situation have shifted after repeated incidents like the killing of Tyre Nichols.

Video of Wednesday’s incident sent to CHS after it was recorded around 7 PM at 11th and Mercer shows four minutes of the short standoff as police took their position up the dark street and one officer aimed his rifle, commanding the upset subject to drop any weapon and get on the ground. The confusing scene continued with police yelling commands as concerned bystanders told the officers to back off.

“We’re much more scared of the fucking police in this situation than this guy,” one person yells. “Can you guys fucking calm down? Calm the fuck down.” Continue reading

Seattle heat wave also brings a sad break on E Mercer

Sad break on E Mercer — thanks to reader Mike for the pictures

The toll from this week’s dangerously hot record high temperatures includes a neighborhood favorite in the surprisingly leafy area around E Mercer just below Broadway. CHS’s inbox has been filled with questions about what happened to the neighborhood’s big maple after a city work crew chopped away at its branches Tuesday morning

Late on Monday night, nearly half the tree crashed down on utility wires along E Mercer between Boylston and Belmont. The crew came out to remove the massive failed limbs and cut away others at risk of failure.

“The remaining part of the tree was delimbed at the same time, due to the amount of internal decay that was present, to remove the possibility of failure of the remainder of the tree,” city arborist Nolan Rundquist tells CHS. Continue reading

The Cayton-Revels House: a landmark to Seattle’s Black history on 14th Ave E — UPDATE

(Source: Seattle Landmark Nomination: THE CAYTON-REVELS HOUSE)

Capitol Hill’s historic Cayton-Revels House is up for nomination for landmark designation Wednesday afternoon with the City of Seattle. Built in 1902, the Queen Anne Victorian-style house was once the home of Horace Roscoe Cayton, publisher of Seattle Black-owned newspaper the Seattle Republican, and his wife and associate editor Susie Sumner Revels Cayton. Community members and the home’s current owners say the landmark designation would be a significant and necessary acknowledgement of Seattle’s Black history.

CHS reported here on the efforts of the 14th and Mercer structure’s owners to achieve landmark status and protections for the 1902-built house, honor the Cayton-Revels family, and recognize the legacy of the racial covenants that shaped Capitol Hill. According to the landmarks nomination, “the Caytons were one of only three Black American families living in today’s definition of Capitol Hill​ before racial restrictive covenants barred non-white residents in 1927.”

You can learn more about the meeting and how to provide public comment here.

UPDATE: The board voted unanimously for the house to move on to the designation phase. The big vote will take place in early April.

The Seattle Republican was one of the most widely-read newspapers in the region at that time. In print from 1894 to 1913, the Republican appealed to national and local audiences of all races, but primarily focused on local politics and the Black experience. Horace Cayton, born a slave on a Mississippi cotton plantation and educated at Alcorn University, made his way to the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of greater freedoms in the frontier-era West. As Seattle changed from a frontier town to a growing city with increasingly racist power structures and property covenants, Black families were pushed into the Central District, where the Cayton-Revels eventually relocated.

“The Caytons were one of the most well-known Black American families in Seattle at the turn of the 20th century because of their business and political involvements,” said Taha Ebrahimi, a Capitol Hill resident who researched and wrote the 142-page landmark proposal for the Cayton-Revels house. Continue reading

One reported to hospital in Quinalt Apartments fire — UPDATE

Thanks to reader Gabe for this picture from the response

Seattle Fire swarmed the area around Boylston and Mercer Monday after smoke was reported at the 1925-built Quinalt Apartments building.

Two people were reported in need of medical attention including one victim in his 30s who suffered smoke inhalation and a second suffering an asthma attack. UPDATE: Seattle Fire says the woman in her 20s who suffered the attack was also taken to the hospital in stable condition. SFD says a third patient, a man in his 70s, was treated at the scene and a firefighter who suffered a minor injury was also taken to Harborview for evaluation.

Continue reading

‘Impound Notice’ — City targets Capitol Hill neighborhood bench

Image of the bench in use courtesy tipster Ariel

First they came for the rogue illegal “PHOTO ENFORCED” stop sign. Now, just blocks away, the Seattle Department of Transportation is set to crack down on a rogue community bench.

There has been a bench for decades, neighbors say, near the strange but kind of wonderful cluster of trees and bushes where E Mercer dead ends before beginning again on the other side of 17th Ave E. Last week, neighborhood tipster Ariel alerts, SDOT slapped an impound notice on the bench which sits on the sidewalk within the City of Seattle’s right of way.

“SDOT has received multiple complaints expressing concerns regarding this bench and has been unable to identify an owner responsible,” the notice reads. Continue reading

Police search for suspect after reported 10th/Mercer armed robbery

Police spread out around the north end of Broadway Friday night with a K9 unit in search of a gunman after a reported armed robbery.

Officers were called to 10th and E Mercer around 6:30 PM to the reported street hold-up. They were looking for a suspect described as an Hispanic male, mid 20s, around 5’5″, with a thin build, and wearing a black wool cap, and a hoodie, according to East Precinct radio dispatches. The suspect was last seen fleeing on foot from 10th from Mercer. He was reported to have been armed with a handgun.

Police and a K9 unit searched the area including a construction site and a house near the crime scene reportedly used by squatters.

There were no reported arrests and no reported injuries in the incident.

Blotter | No injuries in smoky E Mercer garage fire

(Image: Seattle Fire)

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • E Mercer fire: Seattle Fire responded to a smoky blaze overnight in the 1000-block of E Mercer and found what was described as a “derelict” detached garage in flames and an adjacent garage structure threatened by the spreading fire. First reported just before 4 AM Monday, the fire took arriving crews about 30 minutes to knock out. The house and property are lined up for demolition to make way for six new townhomes from developer Sensa Homes. Arriving fire crews were told that people might be living in the garage structures but nobody was found and there were no reported injuries. Seattle Fire investigated what started the fire but was not able to determine a cause. Damage was estimated at $50,000. Seattle Fire was also dispatched to a Broadway apartment building to a reported fire around 4:15 AM but it turned out residents were smelling smoke from E Mercer. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Mercer X Summit Block Party still free (unless you plan to attend Capitol Hill Block Party)


The old Summit Block Party is all growed up. Now branded as the Mercer X Summit Block Party, the 2018 edition that took place Saturday in the streets in the middle of one of the most densely populated centers of Capitol Hill featured bigger acts, deeper pocketed sponsors (thanks KEXP), and, still, no admission. Continue reading