About jseattle

Justin is publisher of Capitol Hill Seattle and Central District News. You can reach him at chs@capitolhillseattle.com or call/txt (206) 399-5959.

Happily ever after in the Central District

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An important work of art created by the subject of our very first Central District News report (Image courtesy Mom)

This week, as we announced the time had come to bring Central District News to a close, we looked back at the history of the site — including the very first CDN post. The headline is unsettling: Car Hits Baby Stroller on 23rd Ave — 10/31/2007

For one final post, Central District News is happy to report that everyone lived happily ever after.

The first time I read the CD news was while trying to make sense out of the worst and best 24 hours of my life: October 31, 2007. I was walking to work with my mom and my stroller bound just-turned-one son. Crossing 23rd at Marion there was a car across the way so we waited for them. They werenʼt signaling nor moving even though the coast was clear so we assumed they were waiting for us. Not the case–must have been distracted. When we were 1/2 way across the street, the car made a quick left. Understand this all happened pretty darned fast and gets a little nutty so Iʼll proceed chronologically.

I saw the car, screamed something along the lines of “stop!”and got between it and the stroller (as if I could stop it, right?). I was struck and thrown over the car which proceeded to run over the stroller and drag it under the car about 30 feet, veering left and running up the curb and into the steps of the corner house. Thatʼs where it was when I came to, looking for my son. My mom, in some stage of disintegration, directed me to where the stroller was. All that could be seen was crushed metal under the car. Needless to say I fell apart. I believe I was on the ground hysterical, ripping clumps of grass out, when my mom alerted me to a babyʼs crying.

There was this weird moment of what do we do? Could we lift a car? What would meet our eyes when we did? Then this young man, maybe a teenager, maybe in his 20ʼs, came right up to me and said “do you want us to lift that car?” “yes”. Then it was all hands on–residents of the corner house, construction workers from across the street, myself and my mom.

When we pulled the completely collapsed/smashed stroller out there was a little smudge of oil on my sonʼs forehead where the bottom of the car was touching him. Thatʼs it.

The next 24 hours was filled with a lot of testing at the hospital. Not fun but worth realizing that as unbelievable as it seemed, my son was unharmed.

My boy is now a 7 year old big brother and is living a full and active life. Like a lot of kids his age he fancies himself invincible so the time hasnʼt quite arrived for us to tell him what happened. When that time comes, I plan on digging out that first story from the CD news to help him put this crazy puzzle together.

In the blurry days following this incident I scanned news sources trying to make sense of what had happened. The most helpful and human coverage was found in the CD news. Iʼve been reading it ever since. Thank you CD news for providing such valuable asset to our community. Youʼll be missed.

Thanks for reading, everybody, and thanks for sharing your stories.

Most-read Central District News stories

23rd Ave squatters (Image: CHS)

23rd Ave squatters (Image: CHS)

Leschi residents check out the scene during the 2009 search for Maurice Clemmons (Image: CDN)

Leschi residents check out the scene during the 2009 search for Maurice Clemmons (Image: CDN)

If you’re keeping score at home, hundreds of thousands of people have read Central District News over the years. Below is a selection of some of the most-read CDN posts. Time has not been kind to the CDN archives. The “live update” format of some of the most important early posts has caused a few of the biggest breaking news articles to be left behind as we’ve switched publishing platforms over the years. The site’s minute-by-minute coverage of the 2009 Leschi standoff as police searched the neighborhood for Maurice Clemmons? Lost to history.Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 10.14.47 AM

Here are some equally important, equally interesting, equally Central District stories that have survived from the site’s beginnings through this final week. Thanks, again, for reading.

  1. Shooting at MLK and Cherry — UPDATE: Police say victim caught in crossfire
  2. Clemmons manhunt
  3. Timothy Brenton murder
  4. Twilight Exit owner opening new bar in the Thompson’s Point of View space8210664543_7476a79133
  5. How 23rd/Union could become Seattle’s ‘Little Amsterdam’
  6. Chuck’s Hop Shop CD coming to 20th and Union
  7. A Neighborhood Saved: History of Thomson Expressway
  8. Say goodbye to Madrona’s iconic adobe gas station Saturday
  9. Med Mix fire started intentionally
  10. Police make arrests, clear Horace Mann
  11. Protest for Trayvon Martin Sunday at 25th and Jackson
  12. City signals plan to evict occupiers at 23rd and Alder
  13. Times still tough at 23rd/Union, Part 1: Post Office is out, is it time for redevelopment?
  14. Med Mix is open at 23rd and Union (and they’re already busy)
  15. Mayor walks out of town hall meeting at NAAM due to heckling
  16. CD History: How segregation shaped the neighborhood8211378260_6a64590b3b_o
  17. Man finds thief who stole his lawnmowers, fights him and gets them back
  18. President Obama’s Re-Election Headquarters for Seattle Coming to Jackson Place
  19. Taco Truck at 23rd & Union is a full-time affair
  20. Hundreds of Garfield High students walk out to protest budget cutsIMG_9601
  21. Seattle rocker and photographer rework historic building at 18th and Union
  22. Blue Angels boom breaks Leschi woman’s window
  23. Design team selected for Jimi Hendrix Park
  24. Pedestrian deaths disproportionately high in Central District
  25. Patrick Lewis … Charming Central District Panhandler – Actually knocks on your door!bike-blog-man-riding-bicy-003-300x180

Goodbye from Central District News


I publish community news in Seattle so I’m used to making things function on a tight budget and working with contributors of all types in an environment of relentless change. Creating new news things is a lot of fun and a spiritually rewarding affair for a journalist. Ending them never is.

The Central District News — published continuously, often 24×7, mostly 365 days a year since October 31, 2007 — will come to a close this week. The last day will probably be Friday. After that, the site will freeze and the archives and comments, pictures and etc. will just kind of hang there as a quickly decaying resource to some of the stories of the neighborhoods of Seattle’s Central Area from this strange and wonderful six years and change. I don’t have the heart to run through the best and most memorable right now. Maybe I’ll get to it later once the news flow has trickled to an end.

I have operated the site for the last few years after inheriting it from founder Scott in 2010 — when he wrote his “big change” post. Editor Tom gave the site its start on a new era — here’s his “big change” post in 2011 saying hello. You can find his work now on his own creation — the Seattle Bike Blog. Megan came on in 2013 to help keep CDNews alive. She has a hello post, too, and will probably have time for a “big change” post to say goodbye before the week is done.

Why this “big change” and why now? As a business, Central District News is a challenge. It has survived on advertising revenue and generous support from readers. We appreciate the opportunity to bring messages from supportive businesses to the community. We appreciate the support so many of you gave with subscription payments every month. We’re in the process of shutting down active subscriptions so you shouldn’t see any additional payments charged. If you would like your most recent payment refunded, let us know.

The revenue has been enough to sustain the site. It has not, however, been enough to grow the site. The people who have worked on it every day — Tom and Megan — were giving much more than they were getting. At least in the dollars and cents end of things. I thank them for doing such fantastic work.

Even with the challenges, we kept the flame alive for one consistent source of community news in the Central District for a long time. Trying to find a pace we could sustain, however, marked a change that many of you noticed and some of you challenged us on in recent months. What happened to my CDNews, a few asked? What happened to the hour by hour scanner reports Scott used to do? Why haven’t you reported about this? Why haven’t you reported about that? It was difficult — especially when we knew that, yes, indeed, the Central District News couldn’t perform at some of the lofty heights we’d reached in the past. We reported deeply when we could. But the opportunities were becoming fewer and fewer and the dissonance between the site’s standard coverage and larger news was becoming more and more confusing for readers — and editors, alike.

We will not leave a total void — and I have hopes the closure will open up opportunities for other voices to say more or say it louder or say it in a different way. Sites like the Seattle Medium continue to serve the community. My other site CapitolHillSeattle.com will continue to cover many issues that are pertinent beyond Capitol Hill and across Seattle’s central neighborhoods. Community radio station Hollow Earth is there to get the word out about neighborhood events, issues and ideas. But also know I’m aware we are leaving behind a gap. It’s part of why we kept things going this long. And, like I said above, ending things hurts.

Thanks for reading.

Drag performer says 13th/Cherry attack was gay-bashing

The Stranger has details of a weekend attack in which drag performer Ade Connere says he was targeted for being in drag:

“I was in drag, and at first I think they thought I was a real girl. Then one of them said, ‘No! That’s a dude!’ and then they grabbed me and knocked me down… one of them lunged over me, so I kicked him in the face, got up and ran.”

“I escaped with a couple of bloody knees, a scrape on my side and a scraped wrist,” Ade says.

Connere told the Stranger he did not contact police following the early Saturday morning incident near 13th Ave and E Cherry because his last experience reporting a bashing to police “was more traumatic than the attack.”

CHS has reported on two current hate crime cases being pursued by the King County Prosecutor including this February attack on Boylston and an assault last July near Minor and Pine.

Meanwhile, the court proceedings for accused Neighbours arsonist Musab Musmari continue following the 30-year-old’s plea of not guilty to a charge of first degree arson. Musmari has since retained a new lawyer. According to court records, he’ll be represented by criminal defense lawyer Jeffrey Cohen. No hate crimes have been filed in the case.

Newly elected Seattle Mayor Ed Murray who is gay and lives on Capitol Hill has decried what he says is a rise in anti-LGBTQ violence. While many have called for more active efforts to counter gay-bashing and hate crimes, the most visible measures to date have been limited to rallies and awareness campaigns.

New Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Ave honors black leader

IMG_2207Connecting E Union to E Madison and Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a quarter-mile stretch of 19th Ave now honors Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney for his nearly 50 years of service in the community.

Dignitaries were on hand on the rain-soaked Sunday afternoon for a dedication at Mt. Zion of the new honorary street signs.

Rev. Dr. Samuel Berry McKinney, third from left, was honored during services Sunday (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Rev. Dr. Samuel Berry McKinney, third from left, was honored during services Sunday (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

The new avenue honors the 87-year-old pastor who left the pulpit in 1998 after 40 years leading Mt. Zion.

IMG_2052“The City of Seattle is fortunate to be home to outstanding community and religious leaders who have done much to shape the conscience of Seattle,” the resolution for the newly designated route stated.

“Dr. McKinney’s voice echoed beyond the walls of the church and into the halls of local and state governments,” The Seattle Medium writes about the new avenue. “He worked to raise awareness of the needs of the less fortunate, regardless of their race. His work to bring social justice to Seattle created an extraordinary legacy.”

City selects ‘hybrid’ route for bike, pedestrian-friendly greenway connecting CD, Capitol Hill

greenwayOpting for a route with a simpler crossing at E Madison and close connections to the schools along the way, Seattle Department of Transportation planners have chosen to move forward with the “Hybrid” option for a bicycle and pedestrian friendly parallel to the 23rd Ave corridor.

The Miller Park Neighbors group announced the selection last week.

The route will begin at I-90 and pass up through the Central District along 26th and 25th Ave before a jog over to 22nd north across E Madison to Capitol Hill. For 21st and 22nd Ave, the hilly terrain and lack of a straight route between Galer and Boyer will present some of the biggest challenges to cyclists. Planners liked that the crossing at Madison is simpler and the streets provide easier access to the Miller Community Center and Capitol Hill. The route also has more pre-existing traffic calming features with roundabouts and double-sided parking than options on the east side of 23rd.

centralgreenway_map_vertical_feb27We wrote previously about the options under consideration and the plans for the greenway that will complement a $46 million overhaul of 23rd Ave. The 23rd Avenue greenway is likely to be the longest greenway in the city. Through a mix of signage, pavement markings, speed bumps, roundabouts and other traffic-calming features, greenways attempt to encourage more people to walk and bike to their destinations. In addition to providing an off-23rd route for a calmer, quieter trip north and south, the greenway will also help bridge the gulf created by heavily-traveled E Madison. We wrote about more ideas for calming the mighty flow of E Madison and the latest on the big project to overhaul 23rd Ave here — Downtown ‘Pike-Pine renaissance,’ 23rd Ave reinvention — time to cap I-5 and repair E Madison’s grid?

SDOT explains its decision on the hybrid route here on the greenway project page:

SDOT evaluated four potential routes on the east and west sides of 23rd Avenue for the greenway. Ultimately, a combination of the previously reviewed routes was chosen. This “hybrid” route offers the best features of the considered routes and avoids many of the potential problems.

The hybrid route will run from I-90 north on 25th/26th avenues. Then it will turn west at E. Columbia Street, providing a new signalized crossing for bikes and pedestrians. Then the route will go up 22nd Avenue to E. Madison Street, where it will cross over to 21st Avenue and continue north.

Potential features of the greenway include:

  • Pavement markings and signage to alert motorists  to expect people bicycling
  • Improved crossings to make it easier for pedestrians and people on bicycles to cross
  • Way-finding to let people know where and how far away the neighborhood destinations are located
  • Median islands, traffic circles, curb bulbs and speed humps to help keep speeds low and drivers from using neighborhood streets to avoid main streets.

The changes are planned to begin being implemented this summer with a goal for the greenway work to be complete before the end of the year:

23rdGreen_sched1 (1)

Waid’s, again, in liquor license fight at 12th and Jeff

(Image: Waid's)

(Image: Waid’s)

As the neighborhood continues to grow and change around it, Waid’s Haitian Cuisine Bar & Lounge is fighting for its life. Again.

“It’s a black thing,” owner Waid Sainvil tells CHS.

“This is the only place in Seattle where black people from all over hang out.”

It has to do with gentrification, Sainvil says. The area around Waid’s continues to change with new development and more business investment spreading south from Capitol Hill. Across the street, Capitol Hill Housing’s The Jefferson apartment building opened in 2013. Seattle University, in the meantime, continues to invest in the area and plans a major campus expansion in the neighborhood over the next decade.

Sainvil says the state liquor board is working to deny the renewal of the liquor license for his eight-year-old lounge at 12th and Jefferson following a sting last year in which minors were able to purchase alcohol at the nightclub. The bust continues a string of attempts to strip the club of its liquor license over the years. Seattle Times columnist and Central District resident Danny Westneat wrote about the last round of challenges for Waid’s in 2010. “Is it possible both sides are right?” Westneat asked. “That Waid’s is Seattle’s most dangerous bar? And also one of its most generous?”

Supporters and patrons are again rallying to support Sainvil in the face of the closure threat. The East Precinct Advisory Council, a community group focused on area crime and public safety issues, has announced that public officials will be on hand to discuss the club as a portion of its February meeting Thursday night will focus on Waid’s:

Although several citizens enjoy this nightclub, for several years the surrounding neighbors have stated concerns about late night noise, violence and other unsettling activities in and around the establishment.

Our EastPAC February agenda will feature an update about Waid’s (and other nightclubs, should you have questions) and the opportunity to voice your concerns and ask questions.  We have invited Officer David Stitt, the Washington State Liquor Control Enforcement representative for our area, and Bill Reddy, who coordinates the City of Seattle Nightlife Premises Regulatory Enforcement Unit. Also present to brief you on the City’s activity relating to this matter will be the East Precinct City Attorney Liaison, Matt York.

Waid’s supporters are organizing an effort to be present at the meeting and speak up for the embattled club:

One of the issues on the agenda is the renewal of the liquor license for Waid’s, which has been under attack from a handful of voices in the neighborhood.

My personal experience is that Waid Sainvil is a generous, community-oriented business owner. And I have never seen or heard any problems, even when I have been there on New Year’s Eve, a time when even the most mellow establishments sometimes have problems erupt.

Sainvil says the support will be helpful as the proceedings over his liquor license play out this spring.

“I’ve done everything that needs to be done. I’ve hired new security. It’s not noise coming from the building,” he said.

“This is a small group of people who have a loud voice. It’s time for the other people — the great majority — to stand up and say no.”

Thursday’s EastPAC meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM in Seattle U’s Chardin Hall Room 145.

The final last* community meeting before work begins on $46 million+ overhaul of 23rd Ave

The Miller Park Neighbors group invites you to a community meeting with Seattle Department of Transportation planners to discuss the planned changes to 23rd Ave:

MPN - SDOT meeting (1)

You can study up on the issues and opportunities in the planned changes in our recent coverage:

*About that last one… apparently, it wasn’t actually the *last* community meeting, after all.

Broadway Bikeway gearing up for May opening — Yesler Hill Climb ahead

The future Yesler Hill Climb

The future Yesler Hill Climb

The First Hill streetcar might not have its cars finally manufactured until the fall but the (mostly) complete Broadway Bikeway could be open as early May. Meanwhile, Seattle Bike Blog also has news of a potentially excellent addition to the area’s biking infrastructure — the under the radar Yesler Hill Climb.

First, SBB reports that the bikeway is likely to be fully open by May:

The Broadway Bikeway is getting so close to being paved all the way to Yesler, but it may not be fully opened until project work wraps up in May. This late opening is to avoid situations where people encounter unexpected closures due to continued construction, as has been a problem at the north end of bikeway.

In January, CHS reported on the ongoing construction on the Capitol Hill Station pedestrian underpass beneath Broadway that will lop off the northernmost reaches of the bikeway even after the possible May opening. Still, as the Bike Blog notes, the opening of the bikeway will still create “a protected space to bike all the way from Yesler Way to Seattle Central Community College.”

And, when yet another swarm of area construction and development project is complete, Seattle Bike Blog says there will be a new connection to the bikeway and streetcar route’s southern reaches.

Here is what the future home of the Yesler Hill Climb looks like today. The image up top is how planners hope it will look in the future. You can learn more about the climb from SBB.Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 4.56.30 PM

One of three CD Nickelsville camps evicted

IMG_7053A bid for independence ended in a weekend eviction for one of the three Nickelsville camp sites in the Central District.

Residents at the Legion of Hope Encampment at 22nd and Cherry were notified of Cherry Hill Baptist Church’s decision to evict the camp following a vote by campers to break away from the structure of the Nickelsville sites.IMG_7072

Two more Nickelsville camps continue to operate in the area. In December, we wrote about the convergence of three Nickelsville camps arriving in the Central District and ways for those living nearby to help the communities.IMG_7034

Nickelsville residents must abide by a code of conduct, which includes a ban on alcohol and drugs, weapons, and abusive behavior. The Legion of Hope campers say there were hoping to live in a less restrictive environment and that complaints from neighbors had been minimal.

At 75 residents, the Cherry encampment had been the largest of the three camps. Nickelsville organizers are looking for locations to host the camps on a long-term basis.

In January, one of the site hosts announced its plans to develop affordable housing on its property near 20th and S. Jackson.