Closure after heavy rains wash away portion of Interlaken Park trail

(Image: Seattle Parks)

Monday’s heavy rains have claimed a structural victim on the slopes of Interlaken Park north of Capitol Hill.

Seattle Parks reports that a section of trail in the park has washed away near Boyer Ave E and E Howe above Montlake.

“That part of the trail has been closed and crews are assessing next steps for repair,” the department said Tuesday.

CHS hasn’t made it down to check out the damage yet but the collapse comes in the area where a new $205,000 Interlaken staircase and bike runnel was installed in 2018.

“The steep slopes and geotechnical recommendations required a robust concrete structure with shoring walls and steel pilings to construct the new stair and ramp connection between Interlaken Blvd and Boyer Ave E at E Howe Street,” Seattle Parks announced about the upgrade at the time. “Also included are community requested elements – a bicycle runnel, guard rails and a switchback that connects to the designated crosswalk.” Continue reading

Remembering Daniel Streissguth and looking back on the growth of Capitol Hill’s family-run hillside gardens

Daniel and Ben worked together to build the Woodland Path in Streissguth Gardens in 1974. (Image: Streissguth Gardens)

By Lily Hansen, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

On a steep hillside just off Broadway sits just over an acre of cultivated woodlands. Home to Seattle’s third-longest stairway, the Blaine Street Steps, with views overlooking Lake Union and the Olympic Mountains, the idyllic gardens are the 48-year product of one dedicated family: the Streissguths.

Its patriarch, Daniel Streissguth, created the garden in 1962 after purchasing a plot of land and constructed a four-story house just north of the staircase. In 1965, Ann Roth Pytkowicz moved into the house next door and began cultivating her own hillside garden.

Bonding over their shared appreciation for gardening, Daniel and Ann fell in love. They married in 1968, and welcomed a son, Ben Streissguth, in 1970. Together, the family of three built, expanded, and maintained the Capitol Hill oasis known as Streissguth Gardens.

On November 21, Daniel died peacefully at his home of natural causes. He was 96.

In honor of his father’s memory, Ben is remembering Daniel for the loving husband, skilled architect, avid gardener, and community socialite he was. With the help of his fiancee and Streissguth Gardens assistant director Jade Takashima, the two are working to ensure that the green space is maintained for generations to come.

In 1972, Daniel and Ann purchased two hillside lots across the Blaine stairs, looking to beautify the land and expand their garden. Although Ben was only two at the time, he has vivid memories of working with his parents in the newly acquired land.

“Some of my earliest memories are of playing in what’s now called the public garden,” he said. “And realizing, even back then, that the soil that we were working with was really horrible. I don’t know how my parents managed to make [gardening] fun for me, but they did. And I’m so grateful to them for that.” Continue reading

Toppled Confederate monument in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery won’t be restored

It’s gone for good (Image: CHS)

In a victory for those who have been calling for its removal for years, the toppled United Confederate Veterans Memorial sitting in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery won’t be restored as the structure is past repair, a cemetery representative tells CHS.

The controversial memorial to Confederate soldiers of the Civil War was vandalized and pulled down over the Fourth of July weekend. With the rubble now removed, all that remains of its nearly century-long existence are a series of orange cones and red tape.

“There’s no process to restore it. It’s gone,” the representative said. “The vandals came in and they just ruined it but we were in the process of getting rid of it anyway.” Continue reading

Now open on 10th Ave E: Gyro House

Owner Akram Bouman Ali (Image: Lena Friedman)

Just before COVID-19 restrictions set in, Gyro House moved into a new 10th Ave E location bordering Capitol Hill. The Iraqi-style mediterranean restaurant is now adjusting to business in a new neighborhood and new coronavirus age of serving customers.

Owner Akram Bouman Ali arrived with his family in the United States as Iraqi refugees in 2009 and achieved his dream of starting a restaurant in 2018 when Gyro House opened at its first location on 5th Ave S between downtown and the International District.

“My dad always inspires me — he’s hard of hearing, he has a lot of health issues going on but he never gave up on his dream,” said his daughter Amal Bouman Ali, who helps manage the business. Continue reading

CHS History | Where Capitol Hill’s capitol would have been

(Image: Seattle Municipal Archives)

Did the folks who began the church that is now Prospect Congregational United Church of Christ know that the property they bought was part of the site of the proposed state capitol?

The chapel originally faced E. Prospect on a lot that is now on the southeast corner of E. Prospect and 20th Ave E. The current church building, built in 1924, faces 20th Ave E., although the address remains 1919 E Prospect.

The site of the proposed capitol was a single large block, bounded to the north by E. Prospect, to the south by E. Helen, to the east by 21st Ave E. and to the west by 19th Ave E. Continue reading

No injuries, no suspects after stolen car found down embankment at Louisa Boren Park

The car’s bumper at the top of the overlook — the rest of the vehicle remained below amid blackberries and the muddy slop (Images: CHS)

A Seattle Fire rope rescue was canceled Friday night after a car was found down the embankment — but empty of occupants — below Louisa Boren Park in North Capitol Hill.

Seattle Fire was called to the scene just before 8 PM after the car was discovered in the brambles on the steep slope below the popular overlook. Seattle Fire crews arrived at the scene and quickly determined there were no occupants in the Honda. Continue reading

After nearly 25 years, Capitol Hill’s classic Roanoke Park Place Tavern to get new owners

(Image: Roanoke Park Place Tavern)

After nearly 25 years, one of Capitol Hill’s oldest of old school bars is getting new owners.

Chris and Jeff Price tell CHS they are stepping away from the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, the North Capitol Hill bar they have owned and run together since May of 1995.

“It’s become a place with a lot of ghosts,” Chris tells CHS about the decision.

Stepping out from behind the bar to take over the Roanoke will be a couple who have also served many a drinker from behind the pub’s bar. The buyers are Sean Donovan and Teresa McElhinney. While the deal hasn’t yet closed, Price says she believe the bar is in excellent hands to keep the good times coming and help extend the building’s reported 89 or so years as a tavern and 39 years as the Roanoke. Continue reading

Truck dangles over I-5 after crashing into Harvard guardrail

(Image: @sdottraffic)

In a scene reminiscent of a much more precarious crash in 2008, a large box truck caused some traffic headaches Saturday afternoon after it crashed through a guardrail along Harvard Ave E at E Boston.

According to the Seattle Police brief on the 2:30 PM incident, the driver was headed up the steep slope of E Boston “when for an unknown reason the vehicle began rolling back down the hill, struck the guard rail and stopped.” Continue reading

As new legal fight against upzones is launched, D3 candidate says she didn’t approve group’s Valpak campaign

As a Seattle anti-growth group is launching yet another legal challenge against the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability plan, a District 3 candidate says she didn’t approve a recent coupon envelope mailer distributed around Capitol Hill that appeared to endorse her run for the City Council while taking a swing at planned upzoning.

“My campaign did not do this, nor is it anything I would ever have budgeted for,” Pat Murakami told CHS earlier this month about the Valpak flyer warning about “loss of public view and decreased property values.”

“I never open the Valpaks that are mailed to my home, and I assume the majority of folks don’t open them either,” she said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill homeowners mount last-ditch effort against MHA upzoning… in Eastlake

The view from Harvard Ave E (Image: CHS)

They know they are probably too late. They know that after a multi-year journey of hearings, community meetings, public comment, and legal challenges, the Seattle City Council wants the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation, which connects affordability mandates to upzoning parts of the city’s densest neighborhoods, to reach its destination during a final vote Monday afternoon. Perhaps they even know Monday’s vote is basically pro forma, as council members have worked on it for years and voted unanimously to advance the legislation last month.

And, yet, a group of North Capitol Hill homeowners, along with the Eastlake Community Council, is trying to fight the upzoning of a seven-block-long (and mostly half a block-deep) sliver of I-5-bordering properties in Eastlake. The amendment for zoning increase, from low-rise to mid-rise with a height limit of 80’ on Boylston Ave. E and a short stretch of Franklin Ave. E was recently introduced and approved by the city council as part of a series of amendments that scaled back upzones across neighborhoods and increased some others. Continue reading