12th Avenue Neighborhood Meeting Wednesday

All people interested in 12th Avenue and the surrounding neighborhoods are invited to a meeting Wednesday, May 27 at 6:00 P.M. at Watertown Coffee, 550 12th Ave.

The meeting is hosted by the 12th Avenue Neighborhood Plan Stewardship Committee.  Topics will include: – Possible change of zoning for 12th and E. Jefferson site (NE corner, owned by the City of Seattle and proposed for a housing and retail project by Capitol Hill Housing).

             – Preliminary discussions on park plan for 12th Ave. and E. James Ct. (the 12th Avenue Gathering Plance

             – Plans for sidewalk seating and for replacing missing or damaged street banners

             – Brief discussion of Seattle University Master Plan, including plans for boundary expansion and height increases.  (The public hearing on the Master Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be held on June 3.)

Snacks and beverages provided.  All interested in 12th Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood are encouraged to attend. 

Residential Parking Zone Policy Changes — Hearing May 27

In the Central District many residential blocks are within Residential Parking Zones (RPZ) intended to control parking by non-residents — chiefly because of the impact from employees and students at Swedish Hospital and Seattle University.

The Mayor’s Office has proposed changes to many of the RPZ policies, including changes to the criteria for establishing new and expanded RPZ areas, and changes that could result in residents’ paying bi-annual RPZ fees where now those fees are paid by the adjacent institutions.  (The current fee for a permit paid by those  in other neighborhoods is $45 for each resident’s vehicle permit and $15 for a guest permit.)  Another significant change would reduce the number of parking permits allowed to each address to 8 (currently there is no limit).  Also, in what is described as a “pilot”, non-resident business owners would be allowed parking permits in newly-established RPZ areas adjacent to light rail stations in Southeast Seattle.

The Web site with details on all of the proposed RPZ changes is http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/parking/rpz_policy_review.htm

Today, May 19, the City Council Transportation Committee met to consider the proposed policy changes.  The following is a message from committee chair Jan Drago outlining the committee’s action and providing notice that a public hearing will be held on the changes on May 27:

Thank you for writing me about the RPZ program.  Below you will see elements of the Executives proposal as well as the Transportation Committees proposed amendments to the RPZ program.  The Committees amendments would restore the petition process as well make changes that favor parking for residents over businesses.

The Council would like to hear from you on the proposed amendments.  The City Councils Transportation Committee will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, May 27th at 5:30PM in Council Chambers.  By tomorrow you may view a copy of the mark-up of the Council amendments to the proposed ordinance and a copy of the draft Resolution on my website:


On April 21st, the City Councils Transportation Committee received a briefing from the Executive on proposed changes to the Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) program.  The following changes were proposed by the Executive:

–  Manage parking demand by limiting permit sales to 8 per household address and continue to examine other demand management measures
–  Create pilot to provide RPZ permits to businesses and institutions around the seven Central Link Light Rail Stations with consideration of later expanding the pilot to other RPZs
–  Increase the threshold for RPZ establishment from 25% non-resident vehicles to 50% non-resident vehicles and from a minimum size of 5 contiguous blocks (and/or 10 block faces) to 10 contiguous blocks (and/or 20 block faces)
–  Replace the resident petition process with broader community engagement efforts
–  Limit a major institution that updates its master plan to paying for a maximum of two RPZ permits per household for one permit cycle

The City Councils Transportation Committee is considering amendments to the Executives proposal.  These amendments are described below:

–  Manage parking demand by limiting permit sales to 4 per household with the exception for adult family homes, assisted living facilities, domestic violence shelters, and permitted congregate residences=
–  Modify the business pilot to explicitly limit it to the seven Central Link Light Rail Stations and not allow its expansion to other RPZs; to establish a trigger point beyond which permits for non-residents would cease to be issued in order to keep parking demand from exceeding available on-streetparking spaces in residential areas; and to set a time frame for evaluating and deciding whether or not to continue the pilot
–  Change the threshold for establishing an RPZ to 35% non-resident vehicles to favor parking for residents while still allowing for an increase in visitor parking
–  Do not approve the Executives limit on major institution support for RPZ permits costs for affected households; instead leave in place determination of level of major institution support for RPZ permits to negotiations as part of the master plan update process
–  Modify the Executives proposal to include additional public involvement approaches
–  Add a requirement for a public hearing prior to decisions on RPZs by the Seattle Department of Transportation Director; and clarify that appeals process applies to establishing, modifying, or dissolving an RPZ
–  Do not approve the Executives limit on major institution support for RPZ permits costs for affected households; instead leave in place determination of major institute support for RPZ permits to the negotiation process as part of the master plan update process
–  Create a new Resolution stating Councils intent to have the Seattle Department of Transportation report back to City Council on January 1, 2011 on how the changes to the RPZ program have affected neighborhoods and what additional tools are available to manage RPZ permits

… .

Jan Drago, Chair
City Council Transportation Committee

Preservation of Carmack House Opposed by Owner: Neighborhood Support Needed

At the Landmarks Preservation Board meeting on May 6, the George Washington Carmack House on E. Jefferson and 16th Avenue, the subject of several earlier stories on this blog, see here, will be designated an historic landmark — or not.

The Squire Park Community Council nominated the house for landmark status and the Landmarks Preservation Board, with a divided vote, accepted the nomination at its April 1 meeting.  At least two of the board members stated that their “yes” vote at the nomination stage was intended to give them more time to consider the extensive material presented in favor and in opposition to designation. 

The owner of the property, the estate of Irene Jewdoschenko, has hired historian Art Skolnik who presented a lengthy argument at the April 1 meeting of the Landmarks Board that neither the house nor its owner, G.W. Carmack, were special or notable. See “No (Gold) Rush to Judgment” >;;;http://crosscut.com/2009/04/07/mossback/18940/  It’s expected that those arguments also will be presented at the May 6 LPB hearing.

The property owner presumably wants the property cleared so it can be sold to the Swedish Medical Center or the Sabey Corporation as a site for a future medical office building.  The lot on which the house stands is zoned Single Family which limits the development possibilities (and its value) to most purchasers. Embraced on two sides by a multi-level parking garage the site is no longer prime for a single-family home.  However, for developments that can be found to be functionally related to the Swedish Medical Center and within the confines of the Institution’s Master Plan, the value could be much greater.  The owner has listed the property for an asking price in excess of $1,000,000 and the listing makes reference to a study for a possible six-story medical office building. 

A potential purchaser of the house, who would move it to a nearby property and restore it for use as a B&B has been in conversations with the estate and with owners of nearby properties.  However, no deal has been reached.  When the Landmarks Preservation Board accepted the nomination of the Carmack House and agreed to further consideration, its destruction was put on hold.  If the LBP rejects Landmark designation on May 6  the house could be quickly demolished. 

Neither Swedish nor Sabey has revealed to the Swedish Major Institution Master Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (MIMP CAC) a proposal to develop the site for medical office uses.  Such development likely would be years away because of the need to get Master Use approval.  However, Historic Seattle, which has been assisting in the effort to preserve the house, has been told by representatives of the Jewdoschenko estate that it will not wait to demolish the house if the Landmark Preservation effort fails.

Expressions of interest and support by members of the community, sent to the Landmarks Preservation Board in care of Beth Chave, [email protected] will be considered.  The deadline for sending letters is May 5, but all letters, and e-mails received by the Landmarks Preservation Board by noon April 29 will be made a part of the material reviewed by the board prior to the meeting and will be especially useful.

Sixth Annual African American Film Festival Opens at Langston Hughes Saturday

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center (LHPAC) will host its Sixth Annual African American Film Festival, featuring a powerful lineup of documentaries, narratives, workshops, film shorts and animation. The festival is thrilled to announce that American Violet , based on a true story of wrongful arrest and incarceration, stars Nicole Beharie and Alfre Woodard and will open the festival on April 18th. On April 26th the festival will wrap with the special partnership with the Seattle Latino International Film Festival and the West Coast Premiere of Celia The Queen, a documentary about the legendary Afro Cuban diva queen of salsa, Celia Cruz. The film’s director, Joe Cardona will be on hand to discuss his work.

The African American Film Festival runs nine consecutive nights from April 18th – 26th and all screenings will take place at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.  The festival includes a number of thoughtful, inspiring and irreverent entries from emerging and established filmmakers from across the U.S. and around the globe.  The selection of powerful, diverse, intelligent and evocative films include a Hip-Hop Film Mini-Fest, a GLBT Film Mini-Fest as well as a Katrina Film Series that spotlights the disaster from three unique perspectives. A wide array of talkbacks, panels and workshops are peppered throughout the festival and provide a much needed bridge for artists and community patrons to engage in meaningful dialogue.

This annual event is expected to draw over 1,000 people who are passionate about creating and appreciating films by and about Black people in the world. The Festival spotlights over 40 feature-length and short films by independent filmmakers, and includes panel discussions, workshops special screenings for senior & youth and the rare opportunity to chat face-to-face with prominent filmmakers, industry professionals and community leaders.

·    American Violet – (4/18 7pm) Based on the astonishing true story of Regina Kelly, a waitress wrongly arrested during a disastrous drug sweep in Hearne, TX. Her refusal to accept a plea bargain eventually helped expose the DA’s case a sham, based almost entirely on the word of a pathological informant. Starring Nicole Beharie and Alfre Woodard. www.americanviolet.com
·    Celia the Queen– (4/26 4pm)The story of legendary Afro Cuban diva Celia Cruz, a woman whose voice symbolized the soul of a nation. Her reign as the queen of salsa, surrounded her with some of the most important 1970s-era figures of the genre. Features interviews with Quincy Jones and Wyclef Jean. Filmmaker Joe Cardona in attendance. www.celiathequeen.com
·    Prince of Broadway– (4/25 9pm) Sean Baker’s award winning film showcases the underbelly of the wholesale fashion district through the eyes of Lucky and Levon; two immigrant men struggling to confront what’s real and what’s fake.  www.princeofbroadway.com
·    Us: A Love Story– (4/25 7pm) A beautiful and haunting allegory exploring the relationships between Blacks and Whites. Filmmaker Alrick Brown in attendance. www.usalovestory.com
·    Medicine for Melancholy– (4/24 7pm) A love story of bikes and one-night stands told through two African-American twenty-somethings dealing with issues of class, identity, and the evolving conundrum of being a minority in rapidly gentrifying San Francisco; the city with the smallest proportional black population of any other American city. www.strikeanywherefilms.com
·    Carmen and Geoffrey– (Seattle Premiere; 4/23 7pm) An intertwined video history that explores the devoted relationship of dancers Geoffrey Holder and Carmen De Lavallade.
·    13th Amendment– (4/19 1pm) This documentary short follows a 90-year-old great-great-grandmother on her trek to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 Pennsylvania primary. Having voted all her life, this is her first opportunity to vote for a black man for President.

·    Trouble the Water (4/22 7pm) 2009 Academy Award nominee/Best Documentary. A redemptive tale of two self-described street hustlers who become heroes. They survive the storm and seize a chance for a new beginning); Not As Seen on TV (4/22 4pm) youth documentary by four teens; Renaissance Village (4/19 1pm) A gritty look at the delicate relationship between gov’t and citizen post disaster. Follows the personal struggles of five characters who live in a FEMA trailer park where allegations of formaldehyde poisoning force the park to close. Filmmaker Lou Karsen in attendance.


·    Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Film Project (4/19 4pm) 15-year old student fatally stabbed in a gay hate crime in NJ; Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen (4/19 4pm) explores the lives of 6 black transgender men living in the U.S.; black/womyn…conversations (4/19 7pm) lives and views of lesbians of African descent living in the U.S. Filmmaker Tiona M. in attendance.

·    Features B-Girl Be (4/23 4pm) recognizes and celebrates the role of women in Hip Hop; 206 Zulu (4/23 9pm) local filmmaker Georgio Brown in attendance; Masizake: Building Each Other (4/24 9pm) local filmmakers Scott and Angela Macklin in attendance.

·    Transforming Tacoma: The Struggle for Civil Rights– (4/18 1pm) The History of Civil Rights in Tacoma. Local Filmmaker Sidney Lee in attendance.
·    February One – (4/20 4pm) Based largely on first hand accounts and rare archival footage, the new documentary film February One documents one volatile winter in Greensboro that not only challenged public accommodation customs and laws in North Carolina, but served as a blueprint for the wave of non-violent civil rights protests that swept across the South and the nation throughout the 1960’s.
·    The Prophet of the Slaves– (4/26 1pm) Nat Turner believes that he is destine by god to deliver his race from bondage and leads the bloodiest slave revolt in U.S history.  This is a powerful narrative short by director Michael Flees that illustrates the passion and determination of a people brought to a country as chattel. www.theprophetoftheslaves.com
·    Sweet Old Song– (4/18 1pm) Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong: acclaimed musician, NEA “national treasure,” sly and charming personality. He is known for a lifetime of jazz, blues, folk and country music but when he met Barbara Ward, a sculptor 30 years his junior, a new chapter of his life/art unfolded. This is the story of their courtship and marriage drawing on nearly a century of African American experience, beginning with Armstrong’s vivid stories/paintings of his childhood in segregated TN.
·    No Short Climb: Race Workers and America’s Defense Technology– (4/21 7pm) Presenting the contributions made by Black scientists and technicians recruited for military and civilian service jobs during WWII.
·    Frederick Douglass and the White Negro– (4/26 1pm) Douglass escaped slavery and took refuge in Ireland during the peak of the Great Famine. This film examines the effect Ireland had on his activism, the role of the Irish in America after Douglass’ return, and the turbulent relationship between African and Irish Americans as well as the race riot that rocked NYC during the Civil War.

All festival activities take place at the historic Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center on 17th & Yesler (104 17th Ave. S). Advance tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/2303. Day of  show tickets also available at the Langston Hughes Box office. Opening and Closing night film events begin at 7 pm, are $15, and include a reception. All other evening showtimes are 7:00 pm.  Sat/Sun. matinees at 1:00pm & 4:00pm. Weekday matinees at 4:00pm. Late Shows at 9:00 pm Tues 4/21 -Sat. 4/25. Tickets are $ 7 for adults $5 for seniors and $2 for youth. An all-access “Langston Pass” is $75. Film details and ticketing information are available at www.langstonblackfilmfest.org or by calling 206-326-1088.

The African American Film Festival is supported by The Lucky 7 Foundation, Seattle Parks and Recreation, 4 Culture, SafeCo Insurance, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and a host of local businesses and organizations.  The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival gives Northwest audiences a chance to view a diverse array of irreverent, poignant, provocative documentary films on topics such as youth, politics, history, social justice and relationships.

About the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival: The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival supports community building by providing opportunities for artists and audiences to connect using the medium of film as a catalyst for dialogue that leads to social change. The festival creates year round opportunities to enhance media literacy, self reflection, and community discussion. By creating the shared experience of films that are by and about Black people, the festival is a creative and collaborative opportunity to build cultural competency across the aisle and across neighborhoods in greater Seattle.

Metro Transit Proposes Service Changes:!3{2}County Council to Hold Hearing

King County Councilmember Larry Gossett’s office is calling Central Area residents’ attention to proposed Metro bus route and schedule changes that will affect the C.D.  In particular, Gossett’s office notes that Metro #8 would have increased hours of service and more frequent service.  Route#48 would be cut into two routes, offering the possibility of better on-time service, but a transfer will be necessary for some whose destination is beyond the end point of either of the new routes.

The County Council’s press release states:

The launch of Sound Transit’s Link light rail service in July has led to a proposal from Metro Transit for a series of significant service changes. The public will have a chance to comment on the proposed changes at a special joint meeting of two committees of the Metropolitan King County Council.

The joint meeting of the Council’s Physical Environment Committee and the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee will be held:

Tuesday, April 28  6:30 p.m.
Council chambers 
10th floor,  King County Courthouse ,  Third and James Streets

“We need to consider each of the transit service changes carefully, as we balance competing goals,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, chair of the Physical Environment Committee. “We want efficient bus service that does not duplicate light rail, yet meets customers’ needs without worsening Metro’s budget gap.”

“Metro is proposing changes in bus service as a result of rail service in southeast Seattle,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, chair of the Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “I want to make sure that transit users are aware of the impact those changes may have on their commute and have an opportunity to give us their input before we make any final decisions.”


The council is scheduled to vote within the next six weeks on proposed Metro bus service changes for the southeast Seattle area and southwest King County that could occur next September or February.

Metro is proposing to change bus service once Sound Transit’s Link light rail service begins. The purpose of these changes is to connect neighborhoods to Link stations, avoid duplication of transit services, and make bus service more efficient.

These changes could affect Metro routes:7, 7 Express, 8, 9 Express, 14, 32, 34 Express, 36, 38, 39, 42, 42 Express, 48, 60, 106, 107, 126, 128, 140, 154, 170, 174, 179, 180, 191, and 194.


Over the past six months, Metro involved the community in planning these changes and held several open house meetings, conducted surveys, and revised proposals based on citizen comments. A major effort was made to reach out to bus riders with limited English proficiency. Two community advisory groups worked with the agency over the six-month period to help Metro evaluate all public input.


All service changes must be approved by the King County Council.

The special evening meeting will be carried live on King County TV on Comcast and Broadstripe Cable Channel 22, and replayed in its entirely several more times in the weeks to follow. For a schedule visit the KCTV Web site atwww.kingcounty.gov/kctv.

Metro will post full details of the proposed service changes online on Friday, April 17.

The public may comment before the council vote by testifying at the April 28 public hearing. You can also e-mail comments to[email protected], call (206) 296-1683 (TTY Relay 711), or mail a letter to:King County Council Physical Environment Committee, King County Courthouse, 516 Third Avenue, Room 1200, Seattle, WA 98104.

City Councilmember Tim Burgess at Saturday’s Squire Park Meeting

Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess will be a guest at the Squire Park Community Council meeting this Saturday 10:00 A.M. to noon, at the Central Area Motivation Program (C.A.M.P.) Firehouse, 722 18th Avenue. 

    One of Burgess’s priorities as a Councilmember has been working on strategies to stop youth violence.  This meeting will be an opportunity to talk with a City policy maker about this issue of concern to our neighborhood. Burgess is chair of the City Council’s Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee, and Vice-Chair of the Planning, Land Use, and Neighborhoods Committee.

Burgess was a lead Councilmember for the  “Safer Streets Initiative” a 12-part program to address aspects of social disorder.  According to Burgess, “(i)t’s a beginning designed to address a complicated set of problems. The Initiative would pair police officers with mental health professionals to respond jointly to incidents, create alternatives to jail or hospitalization, continue the city’s plan to increase the number of patrol officers in our neighborhoods, increase financial penalties for patronizing a prostitute and use the funds to restore peer-counseling and support groups for women involved in prostitution, create safe housing and transition services for children involved in prostitution, impose civil and criminal penalties on business owners and property owners who ‘knowingly allow criminal behavior to occur and fail to take steps to stop it,’ call for more assertive policing targeted at gangs, illegal weapons, graffiti, and open-air drug markets, re-establish the city prosecutor’s High Impact Offender Targeting Program, and return School Resource Officers to some Seattle Public Schools.”

Councilmember Burgess is chair of the City Council’s Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee and also is the Vice-Chair of the Planning, Land Use, and Neighborhoods Committee.

    Saturday’s SPCC meeting also will host Judith Kilgore of the Seattle Housing Authority who will talk about the plans for extensive redevelopment and expansion of SHA’s Yesler Terrace.  SHA’s vision would expand Y.T. to as many as 5,000 units of housing (from its current 500+ units) and would create as much as 800,000 square feet of new office space and as much as 100,000 square feet of new retail space, along with several acres of new parks and open space.
    The Squire Park Community Council is the community council for the neighborhood bounded by E. Union, 23rd Ave., S. Jackson, and 12th Ave., but all who have an interest in the Central Area are encouraged to take part.  Come, take part in the discussion with policy makers, and with your neighbors. 


Carmack House:!3{2}Landmarks Board to Consider Nomination

At its next meeting, on Wednesday,  the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board will consider whether or not to accept the nomination of the George Washington Carmack House.  The meeting, in room 4080 of the Seattle Municipal Tower, begins at 3:30 P.M. and public comment will be taken.  Community interest and support is noted by members of the Landmarks Preservation Board in considering whether or not to accept a nomination (although it’s not a listed criterion.)

The Carmack House, on E. Jefferson Street between 15th and 16th Avenues, has been the subject of two earlier stories in CentralDistrictNews.com.  A representative of the National Park Service first suggested that the house be considered for designation as a landmark because of its association with George Washington Carmack, credited with making the strike that set off the Alaska Gold Rush.

The house is on a lot within the Swedish Medical Center master plan area and is embraced on two sides by parking garages.  The property has been put on the market by the Jewdoschenko Estate, owners of the site, with a listing at a price of $1,250,000 suggesting the most valuable potential use of the site does not include the house.  A feasibility study has been completed for developing a five-story medical office building on the site.

Since the Squire Park Community Council submitted the nomination of the house for Landmark status most of the interior architectural features were removed by unknown persons. (See the earlier CentralDistrictNews.com story).  Nevertheless, an interested party is exploring the possibilty of purchasing the house, moving it to a nearby site, and restoring it. 

A representative of the owner of the site has stated that the owner opposes the Landmark nomination and it’s expected that opposition will be stated at the April 1 Landmarks Preservation Board meeting.

In addition to in-person statements on April 1, the Landmarks Preservation Board will accept written comments before  the time of the hearing (contact [email protected] )

The nomination documents, including a detailed history of the house and the neighborhood are at the Department of Neighborhoods Web site >http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/preservation/LPBCurrentNom_CarmackHouse.pdf



House Moved by Tree

The tree doesn’t always fall.  On the site of one of the proposed developments mentioned in Scott’s earlier story, at 1114 14th Avenue, the current scheme calls for replacing the existing six-unit building with a duplex and a triplex for a total of five units. This is a change from the developer’s earlier proposal.   According to the Department of Planning and Development decision approving the Land Use application (No. 3009237) “(t)he site was originally designed with a triplex and two single family units, but a large cedar tree located on the northeast portion of the site is considered exceptional,and is required to be retained. Revising the eastern portion of the design with a duplex instead of two single family units allows the tree to be preserved.”

“Exceptional” trees,the definition of which is set forth in a five page DPD “Director’s Rule”  http://www.seattle.gov/dclu/codes/dr/DR2001-6.pdf are protected. “Exceptionalness”, in general, depends on species and size.  In the case of the development on 14th Avenue the tree in question is a Western Red Cedar which is a species “sometimes” considered exceptional if it is big enough.

Looking at the site and the tree, different people will come to different conclusions as to whether or not this was a good result.

DPD is re-writing the tree protection rules.  New regulations will change the definition of what qualifies as an exceptional tree.  To learn more details, the e-mail address for the DPD contact person is [email protected]

On the other hand, the existing building which seems to have had more living units (six) than the five units that will replace it, will apparently fall.

More Weekend Plans:!3{2}Theater of Note

Several decades ago New City Theater, with John Kazanjian and Mary Ewald, and others, began enriching the Seattle with high quality theater. (Some may remember when they held forth in the theater in what is now the Richard Hugo House.)  Now, NCT is right here in the Central District at the Shoebox Theater, in the increasingly interesting block of 18th Ave. just north of Union.  This weekend and next, Mary Ewald will be perforiming in two plays by Samuel Beckett, Footfalls and Rockabye directed by Janice Findley.    Dates and time:  Feb. 27- 28 and Mar. 6-7 at 8:00 P.M.

www.newcitytheater.org has ticket details.

Washington Hall is Historic Landmark

The City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted unanimously to designate Washington Hall an historic landmark.  Historic Seattle, a local organization in the business of fostering preservation,  is still trying to purchase the building from the current owners, the Sons of Haiti. If that purchase takes place, Historic Seattle will be seeking tenants who can bring back the lively arts and performances that made Washington Hall an important center of culture for overy one hundred years.  Community interest and support will be a key to success.