William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation and Enterprise, Africatown’s center for ‘economic empowerment and community-driven development,’ opens in the Central District

(Image: Africatown Community Land Trust)

Named for a Black pioneer credited with shaping today’s Central District, the William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation and Enterprise will begin its work this week as a center for “economic empowerment and community-driven development” providing training, networking, and connections to help launch new businesses and careers in the Central Area, the Africatown Community Land Trust announced.

“Historic Districts are OK, but we don’t want to be museum pieces and plaques in the neighborhood where we once were vibrant,” trust president and CEO K. Wyking Garrett said in the announcement. “This will be a living memorial.”

Built out of the former Fire Station 6 at 23rd and Yesler, Africatown now holds a 99-year lease on the fire station property after its transfer in late 2020 following years of hope and promises including pledges from Mayor Jenny Durkan that summer as Black Lives Matter movement demonstrations grew in Seattle. Continue reading

Police shoot man armed with rifle after reports of gunfire at 14th/Yesler apartment building

(Image: SPD)

Police called to a report of shots fired at a 14th and Yesler apartment building shot and wounded a man early Friday morning

According to Seattle Police and East Precinct radio updates, officers were called to the area around 4:30 AM to reports of gunfire in or near the building.

SPD says officers arrived as gunfire continued and found a man armed with a rifle: Continue reading

After year-long restoration, Soul Pole sculpture makes its return to the Douglass-Truth library

(Image: SPL)

A symbol of “400 years of African American history and the struggle for justice in the United States” will rise again in the Central District.

Tuesday, the return of the “Soul Pole” to the lawn outside the Douglass-Truth Branch of the Seattle Public Library at 23rd and Yesler will be marked with a press conference featuring Mayor Bruce Harrell and Tom Fay, Chief Librarian of The Seattle Public Library.

A year ago, the pole was taken down from where it had stood for nearly 50 years for a much needed restoration of the 21-foot wooden sculpture.

The library contracted with Artech Fine Art Services to manage the project working with Corine Landrieu, “one of the Northwest’s top conservators.” Continue reading

Police: Women in their 70s up early for church robbed at gunpoint

Police say two women in their 70s were robbed at gunpoint Sunday when they were on an early walk to prepare their Central District church for morning services.

According to the Seattle Police report on the hold-up near 22nd and Yesler, the women were targeted in the robbery involving multiple suspects and vehicles as they were walking on the street just before 6 AM: Continue reading

Central District’s ‘Soul Pole’ to be taken down and, hopefully, restored

(Image: City of Seattle)

Another landmark of public art is set for work officials hope will help to keep it part of its neighborhood. The Soul Pole, a 21-foot wooden sculpture that has stood outside the Central District’s Douglass-Truth Branch of the Seattle Public Library for nearly 50 years, must come down for work to figure out how best to save the creation:

The 21-foot wooden sculpture, gifted to the Library in 1972 by the Seattle Rotary Boys Club, was carved by six young community artists in the late 1960s to honor 400 years of African American history and the struggle for justice in the United States. The Library will work with Artech Fine Art Services, an organization with extensive experience in the restoration and preservation of artwork, to deinstall the piece and transport it to an art storage facility, where an extensive assessment will be performed.

The library is also trying to learn more about the creation of the 23rd at Yesler pole: Continue reading

Police respond to armed man reported at 23rd and Yesler Catholic Community Services building — UPDATE

(Image: Alex Garland)

A large police response filled the area around 23rd and Yesler’s Catholic Community Services building Tuesday afternoon after a report of an armed man at the facility filled with dozens of people.

Officers located several employees inside the Randolph Carter Center building and were evacuating them from the area after finding the possible gunman down with a gunshot wound, according to East Precinct radio reports. UPDATE: Police were continuing to search for a possible suspect. It’s not clear at this point if the downed man is a victim or the suspect. UPDATE x2: Police have determined the downed man is the shooter.

UPDATE 2:51 PM: Police say the gunman is dead — shooting himself after trying to shoot a woman at the facility:

A man fatally shot himself after attempting to shoot a woman at a housing services program in the Central District Tuesday afternoon. Around 1:15 PM, the man met with the woman in a courtyard of a building in the 100 block 23rd Ave and made threatening statements to her. He then pulled out a gun and fired at the woman, who managed to get away uninjured. The suspect then fatally shot himself. Police surrounded the building, confirmed the suspect was deceased, and searched floor by floor. They located one person who had sustained minor injuries while fleeing from the sounds of gunfire.

UPDATE: In a letter to the community, Archbishop Paul Etienne described the gunman as “a distraught individual.”

“This afternoon, a distraught individual came to the headquarters at the Randolph Carter Family and Learning Center,” Etienne writes. “He threatened the life of a staff member before taking his own life. Mercifully, no one else was harmed and all of the staff were able to safely leave the building.”

In his letter, Etienne expressed his gratitude for the employees and management “who quickly followed all safety protocols and took control” of the situation and thanked the Seattle Police Department and emergency responders.

“Events like this remind us of the stress and pain that unrelenting poverty can bring. Events like this remind us of the real suffering and frustration that coincide with untreated health conditions, Etienne writes. “Events like this remind us of the desperation and hopelessness people feel before taking their own lives — a tragic trend that is exacerbated by the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Continue reading

Teen injured in late August Central District shooting has died

Seattle Police announced that the 17-year-old dropped at the hospital with gunshot wounds following gunfire at 23rd and Yesler two weeks ago died Monday night from injuries suffered in the incident.

CHS reported here on the August 26th shooting. The teen has not yet been publicly identified.

The death comes amid a rash of shootings across Central and South Seattle and marks the sixth homicide in the East Precinct so far in 2020. There were five murders investigated in the precinct in all of 2019, and three in 2018.

Citywide, there have been 26 homicides reported so far this year. 28 were murdered here in all of 2019.

In the Central District, a deadly shooting at 23rd and Cherry in late July claimed the life of 17-year-old Adriel Webb. Another shooting at that intersection a few nights later left another victim dead. CHS does not know the identity of that person.


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Police investigate gunfire and bullet through apartment window at 12th and Yesler

A round of gunfire sent a bullet into a nearby apartment and left at least one car riddled with bullets but there were no victims in a shooting late Wednesday night near 12th and Yesler.

Police and Seattle Fire were called just after 11 PM to the scene for reports of gunfire and a male down on the pavement. Police arrived to find bullet damage to homes and vehicles but there were no victims found at the scene. Continue reading

SPD investigating 23rd and Yesler shooting

A gunshot wound victim was dropped at Harborview Wednesday night just minutes after a round of gunfire from a vehicle was reported at 23rd and Yesler.

Seattle Police were collecting evidence at the Central District shooting scene and the hospital where the victim was delivered via private vehicle.

According to East Precinct radio reports, 911 callers reported seeing a shooter open fire just before 9 PM from inside a vehicle at 23rd and Yesler where police found multiple shell casings.

Police were working to determine if the shooting victim at Harborview was related to the 23rd and Yesler incident.

SPD assistant chief Adrian Diaz and Mayor Jenny Durkan said last week the city has seen a major increase in shots fired incidents since June 1st, a trend also seen in other major U.S. cities.

UPDATE 8/27/20 5:30 PM: SPD reports that a 17-year-old is in critical condition:

Detectives are investigating after a 17-year-old was shot and wounded Wednesday evening in the Central District.

At 8:48 PM, officers were called to 23rd Avenue and Yesler Way for a report of gunfire. Police arrived and spoke with witnesses, and learned a 17-year-old male with a gunshot wound had arrived at Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

SPD’s Gang Unit is investigating. If you have any information about this case, please call the Violent Crimes Tipline at 206 233 5000.


We love providing community news on CHS free for thousands of readers. What sustains the effort are voluntary subscriptions from paying supporters. If you are enjoying CHS, SUBSCRIBE HERE and help keep CHS available to all. Become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with no paywall. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.