A tent at Miller Community Center (Images: CHS)
The ongoing battle between the mayor’s office and business and neighborhood groups on one side and advocates and homelessness service providers on the other has taken new shape in Seattle’s COVID-19 crisis.
A five-hour Seattle City Council meeting Wednesday afternoon couldn’t settle the most recent flare-up as a council committee heard public comment and debated a proposal to more strictly limit when homeless camps can be removed during the ongoing outbreak. Health guidelines have generally called for allowing people to camp and live outside during the pandemic due to concerns around social distancing and sometimes higher-risk shelter environments. Continue reading
Miller Community Center (Image: Seattle.gov)
An effort to “de-intensify” Seattle’s homeless shelters by giving people more space and greater social distance as part of the city’s COVID-19 response will create a 50-bed temporary shelter at Capitol Hill’s Miller Community Center.
The new facility from Compass Housing Alliance will create a location for the shelter and service provider to offer as it works to help slow the spread of the virus.
“King County and the City of Seattle are working closely with higher capacity shelter providers to create more social distancing between individuals, which can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” a statement on the new temporary facility reads.
A total of 685 expansion spaces are being created as part of the effort.
A 50-bed facility will also open in the Central District at the Garfield Community Center hosted by Catholic Community Services, YWCA, and WHEEL. Continue reading
The booms you heard Sunday afternoon across Capitol Hill and the Central District? That was the central city’s surprisingly robust power grid doing what it needed to do to keep service intact even when faced with the greatest electricity infrastructure scourge known — the mylar balloon.
Seattle City Light said there were no prolonged outages but that many callers reported “mylar balloons in the lines.”
CHS had one report of balloons in the wires on 15th Ave E.
Residents reported loud booms from electrical utility gear throughout the early afternoon. The utility also made a District 3 endorsement — of sorts. City Light says D3 candidate Logan Bowers’s Twitter explanation of what was causing the booms was, ahem, “bang on” — Continue reading
Miller Community Center (Image: CHS)
Seattle’s community centers provide a lot of simple but important things to their neighborhoods including recreation and meeting space. But they could also help the city develop strength and resilience in a future of extreme weather and in emergencies like a giant earthquake.
Seattle City Light is partnering with Seattle Parks and Recreation to implement a first of its kind solar microgrid at Capitol Hill’s Miller Community Center.
The microgrid involves more than solar panels as a battery energy storage system and microgrid controls will also be installed.
The planned system will provide backup power storage necessary to keep the community center functioning during windstorms, power outages, and other emergency events.
“The project will empower a community to recover quickly from unplanned emergency events and gain technical knowledge on the installation and operation of a microgrid system,” Seattle City Light says about the project. “Analytics from the microgrid resiliency project will allow the City of Seattle to research and develop similar technologies.” Continue reading
The Miller Park neighborhood could see more projects like the Julia Place Apartments (Image: CHS)
Upzoning plans around Capitol HIll’s Miller Park neighborhood will not be removed from the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability effort as the legislative process to shape the program enters a final phase with a public hearing this week.
Proposed amendments to the still-pending MHA legislation had been identified by council members, city staff, citizens and others. After the first set of proposals was released in January, each district council member had been left to decide what changes they’d like to see move forward within their own district boundaries.
Among the January proposals had been plans to remove some blocks near Miller Park from the program, but those didn’t make the cut. In District 3, which covers Capitol Hill and the Central District, council member Kshama Sawant’s office only advanced four proposed changes to areas in the Central District –- all of which add density.
Keeping all of Madison Miller area in the program is just what affordable housing advocates were hoping for.
“We are hopeful that Council will honor the existing plan for MHA without amendments to the Madison Miller Urban Village,” wrote Erin Fried of Capitol Hill Housing. Continue reading
Just build it already. Wednesday night brings a design review for a 20th Ave project that seems like nobody really needs to review — four four-story townhouse buildings creating sixteen new homes replacing a set of two 1909-built single-family style structures that have seen better days.
But the East Design Review Board will give the projects a final once-over Wednesday:
Design review: 1711 20th Ave
A pedestrian struck by a reported hit and run driver suffered a leg injury Monday around 4:15 PM at 18th and Thomas.
According to Seattle Police radio reports, the victim was hit in the street and moved to the curb by a passerby where they were treated for their injuries by Seattle Fire before being transported to the hospital with what was reported to be a leg fracture.
Police were looking for a red or maroon colored newer model jeep-type vehicle last seen southbound on 16th Ave.
The area where the collision took place is currently busy with construction to create pedestrian improvements along the Thomas and John corridor.
Armed with new DNA evidence, police have released a forensic sketch of a suspect they believe could be responsible for three 2014 rapes on Capitol Hill including an attack that took place in the Miller Community Center parking lot that July.
Seattle Police released the sketch and announced the renewed investigation Wednesday:
The three assaults were reported to police in February and July of 2014. Three women reported that they had walking alone around 2 or 3 am on Capitol Hill when a man pulled up in a dark colored Ford or Chevy SUV and offered them a ride. At the time of the initial investigation in 2014, detectives were unable to identify a suspect due to varying descriptions from the victims, or establish a conclusive link between the three cases.
Durkan on 15th Ave E doing a little Saturday afternoon shopping (Images: CHS)
Following a low-profile tour of are businesses along the quieter side of Capitol Hill, Mayor Jenny Durkan met a small gathering of the public at the Miller Community Center on Saturday for a community conversation. Introduced as the city’s first female mayor in nearly 100 years, Seattle native Durkan gave a short address and fielded questions from the audience around homelessness, mental health, zoning laws, and the future of public transportation during the hour long event.
Though the Mayor announced millions in investments to reduce homelessness this year with affordable housing and addiction mitigation and City Hall under her watch is pursuing a $75 million-plus plan to create a new employee tax for big businesses, she said Saturday the city is only a cog in a wheel when it comes to its ability to fortify behavioral health services and facilities in within city limits.
“We are trying to get to a point where we can offer services on demand because we have had defunding of mental health services,” she said. “Right now most of the mental health and treatment dollars go from the state to the county, so if we don’t have a regional solution including both, we’ll never get to the point where we’ll have more mental health facilities, short term and long term in the community or state wide. “
One of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s campaign promises was to be more responsive to Seattle’s neighborhoods. Saturday, the mayor will come to 19th Ave E for a community meeting that promises “to bring City Hall to Capitol Hill.”
Saturday afternoon’s Durkan town hall will feature the mayor sharing “her vision of how our communities can work together to create a more affordable, vibrant, and inclusive Seattle.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan Town Hall