With pop-ups for vulnerable communities, Seattle looks to turn the tide on inequity in COVID-19 vaccinations

Lucille Henry receives her first Covid-19 vaccine

With reporting and photography by Alex Garland

Tents are up tonight at Miller Playfield’s sport courts where the pickle ball players usually rule. It’s a COVID-19 vaccination pop-up just off 19th Ave E for the city’s deaf and blind communities.

Last week, CHS watched as seniors from the Central District traveled to 14th Ave’s First African Methodist Episcopal Church for another vaccination effort to reach a community that has so far been underrepresented in the state’s totals.

The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Seattle and across Washington hasn’t been exactly equitable but efforts in the city to help reach vulnerable communities are helping to address the inequities one pop-up at a time.

BIPOC elders gathered at FAME last week to receive their first dose of the Moderna vaccine administered by Seattle Fire at one of the pop-up vaccination clinics being hosted across the city.

Alesia Cannady was one of the group of grandmothers who came in together for the Thursday session. Continue reading

City says removal notice doesn’t mean full sweep of Miller Playfield encampments — UPDATE

Seattle Parks says notices left with homeless campers at Capitol Hill’s Miller Playfield apply to only a portion of the city property and aren’t part of a full sweep of the encampments.

The notices left at encampment sites on the north lawn area require the area to be cleared by January 11th. Continue reading

Sparked by outbreak crisis, Seattle debate over homeless encampments carries on

A tent at Miller Community Center

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

‘De-intensifying’ to fight the outbreak, Capitol Hill and Central District community centers to host temporary homeless shelters

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

About those Sunday afternoon booms you heard on Capitol Hill…

(Image: @primaseadiva via Flickr)

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

Plans for a solar microgrid at Capitol Hill community center will power building, through rain, shine… or disaster

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

Capitol Hill’s upzoning on track to stay intact as Mandatory Housing Affordability enters final stretch

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

Design review: Is this 20th Ave townhouse project part of Seattle’s ‘missing middle’?

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

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Police search for driver after pedestrian injured in E Thomas hit and run

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.

Police say DNA evidence links suspect with three 2014 Capitol Hill rapes

(Image: SPD)

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.
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