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.

Jackson Street Jazz Walk & Hopscotch CD 2

JazzWalkStreetLogo_Color_200pxJackson Street Jazz Walk: April 5, 5-10 pm.

We’re excited to welcome SEVENTEEN PERFORMERS in SIX VENUES!

See the full schedule at: www.jazzwalk.org

Jazz Underground, Bembe Olele, Seattle Brazilian Jazz Ensemble, among others to locations on Jackson from LiHi’s Ernstine Andreson House at 21st and Jackson to Casa Latina at 16th and Jackson. Drink and food specials at Jackson St. businesses. With Pratt Fine Art’s One Hot Night Spring Fever happening at the same time, it’s going to be a super swell night to come down to Jackson Street to listen to free music and catch some art.

This is event is happening with the assistance of the the Department of Neighborhood’s PACE (People’s Academy of Community Engagement) Program, which is a program for developing future community leaders.

Hopscotch CD 2: May 31st. All Day!

We are in the beginning planning phases of Hopscotch CD 2, a two-mile hopscotch course through the Central District! Last year over 40 community groups, business and neighbors had fun, games, books, and garage sales along the route from Jackson to Union. We will have an organizational meeting on Tuesday, March 18 to set this year’s route. Can we extended it to Madrona or Jackson Place? Only if we have more help. We’re also going to have to raise some money as the city isn’t ready to give us a grant for the second year. Please email: jacksoncommons@gmail.com if you want to get the updates, lend a hand, have a garage sale or lemonade stand on the route, or have other ideas on how to make Hopscotch CD a great event.

With the CD News sadly going away, it’s going to be harder to help spread the work. We posting updates to these events and other Jackson Street news on Facebook, JacksonCommonsSeattle ,on Twitter: @JacksonCommons or at www.jacksoncommons.com.

Farewell, Central District News

Justin has already said everything that needs to be said about the final days of Central District News and the rationale behind shutting the site down after so many years. This has been tough to swallow, and I’ll miss the site as a community resource as much as I’ll miss writing for it every day.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out some of our most read stories, posted yesterday. Today will be our last day of reporting, and we’re ending on a positive note: a follow up to the site’s very first story, a harrowing story that has a happy ending, nearly seven years later.

I’ve only been your editor for nine months, but I feel honored to have served the Central District’s residents. Your outpouring of support over the last week has been incredible, a true testament to the strength of this community and the enjoyment we all found in sharing the day’s news and connecting over our neighborhood’s most important stories. It’s disheartening to see it come to a close.

Thanks for reading and contributing, and hope to see you around.

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

Help Save “The Central” (Central Area Senior Center)!!!

Sunday, March 9 there is a benefit concert for the Central Area Senior Center; direct donations are also needed

To save and sustain the Central Area Senior Center, a Benefit Concert will be held this Sunday, March 9 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Center, located at Rainier Beach High School, 8815 Seward Park Avenue South.  Performers will include J. Charles, Darrius Willrich, CT Thompson, Butch Harrison, IFE, Rachell Foxx, Surround Sound, Sheila Kay, Debbie Cavitt, Leo Camo, Funk E Fusion, and surprise guest artists.  Light refreshments will be available.  Tickets ($50) and info are at Brown Paper Tickets, http://thecentralbenefitconcert.bpt.me, directly from the Central Area Senior Center, or at the door.

Founded in 1972, the Central Area Senior Center is a volunteer-supported nonprofit resource providing services to support the emotional, social and physical well-being of older adults and their families.  It also hosts many public meetings, including those of the Seattle Community Council Federation and the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition.

If you can’t attend the benefit concert, please consider making a donation on-line at https://the-central.org/support/donate  or by U.S. mail at:  Central Area Senior Center, 500 30th Avenue South 98144.  And please help circulate this notice about the benefit concert and the importance of this neighborhood resource.

New Cafe Opens with Focus on Great Food and Giving Back to the Community

Seattle, WA (March 4, 2014) The Queen Bee Café located on the corner of E. Madison Street and 22nd Avenue, opened its doors for the first time to the Seattle community.

Dwayne Clark, founder and CEO of local assisted living company, Aegis Living, established the Queen Bee in memory of his mother.  The owner’s admiration for his mother, Colleen Clark, was the inspiration to build the café.  Colleen was a single mother of British roots who provided for her family as a hard-working line cook.

“We are so excited to provide this neighborhood with a true community café,” stated Culinary Service Director, Justin Sledge. “Our focus is to give back to the community around us by donating all proceeds to one not-for-profit organization each quarter.  We are honored to have partnered with the YMCA for the first quarter.”

Whether your taste buds crave savory or sweet, the Queen Bee Café offers traditional English crumpets in a new way with locally sourced products and produce in tasty combinations, along with a cup of Stumptown coffee or espresso.

The Queen Bee Café is open daily from 7 am until 4 pm.  For more information about the Queen Bee, please contact Shannon Monaghan, Café Manager at QueenBee@aegisliving.com

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)