About Megan Hill

Megan Hill is the Editor of Central District News. She's also a freelance food, travel, and feature writer.

Ten year dream culminates in new Madrona shop


Former interior designer Erin Krohn had a dream: to obtain an outlet for her long-held obsession with retail and fashion — especially when it comes to accessories. So when she came across a space for lease at 33rd and Pike in Madrona over the July 4th weekend last summer, Krohn knew this was it.

“I was told that finding a space would be the catalyst for everything and it definitely was a whirlwind from there,” Krohn says. “Opening my own shop is something I had been thinking about for over ten years. But, it was always on just a thought as my career as an interior designer occupied my life.”

HammerAwl044Hammer + Awl offers boutique goods — mostly men’s accessories like ties, watches, hats and bags, all carefully sourced by Krohn. Her shop occasionally sells outerwear and shirts, too.

“The idea evolved over the years from women’s to men’s to specifically men’s accessories. I have always been a fan of how accessories can help define one’s style and thought there are plenty of places like this for women, but not so much for men. Hence, Hammer + Awl was born,” Krohn says.

Krohn’s shop reflects her own aesthetic, and she hunts for items with one-of-a-kind details, colors, or patterns. These are accessories you won’t find mass-produced in a department store.

“My starting point in sourcing is finding brands and crafters that are US made and whose aesthetic and quality aligns with what has been created with the shop,” Krohn says. “Acting with that as a baseline, from that point it is all about searching for the unique. Finding items you don’t see everywhere and bringing them to my customers in a setting specifically created the product. In a way, what I look for when curating is how I see accessories individualizing one’s style – unique, interesting, special.”

As for the ladies, Krohn says she’s pleased when women can occasionally find an item or two for their own wardrobe.

The People of the Central Area: Yosh Nakagawa, Retired President of Osborn & Ulland

This post is part of a series of profiles of Central District residents, part of “The People of the Central Area” project developed and written by Madeline Crowley.

Photo by Madeline Crowley

About Yosh:

Yosh’s love of sports not only introduced him to towering figures like: Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe and Billy Jean King and a career but cemented a sense of fair play that drives him to pursue social justice and understanding even today.

Yosh on his life:

I was born in 1932. My name is Yosh Nakagawa. The story I will share with you is the story of the Japanese-American, the Nikkei community and their incarceration in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II (WWII). We were born and raised in America where we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. Yet, it is only as good when it is abided by, that paper is worthless when citizens lose their freedoms. In wartime, I lost my freedom because I looked like the enemy.

That’s the central question in my story. When I look at this in context of today, in the very church building that was boarded up and closed in 1942, because all its congregants were removed physically, against their will, to be interned without due process of law by Executive Order 9066 signed by President Roosevelt.

On Executive Order 9066 

It is ironic that 120,000 Japanese-Americans living west of the mountain ranges from Alaska to San Diego were physically removed from their homes. When in the (then) territory of Hawai’i 160,000 similar people were never removed [from their homes] despite the fact that they lived where the bombs fell in Pearl Harbor. If I had lived over on the other side of the mountains, I would have been free. How do I know this? When I was in Camp Minidoka, the American Concentration camp, I had a friend who looked like me, who lived in that area (Idaho) could come into the camp to visit me but I could not leave to visit him.

If we had lived in Washington D.C. or New York City or anywhere else, our jobs would have been considered key (to the war effort) and never would have been threatened. This isn’t in the history books, so the educated American knows little, by intentionality, of this story. My story of my community is not just a Japanese-American story; it is an American story. It does not simply belong to my people; it belongs to American History. The Eurocentric model must come to include that Columbus did not discover America, nor did this city begin when settlers founded Seattle, in both cases the indigenous people were already there.

My story is part of what I call the awesomeness of America.

Today I have found that if I do not speak about what happened to people, our freedoms as citizens will soon be challenged. 9/11, the bombing at the Boston Marathon are instances where people are subject to looking like the enemy. We must be very careful for it might not be me [this time] who will be incarcerated or interned but it may be my neighbor.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Seattle Bike Blog | City cuts safety out of 24th Ave plans + 2 chances to weigh in on high-budget street remake

Editor’s Note: This post is a reprinting of former CD News Editor Tom Fucoloro’s blog post on his Seattle Bike Blog. We found it relevant to our readers and wanted to share it with you.

This is not a complete street.

This is not a complete street.

Despite having a $45 million budget and being billed as a “complete streets” project, the city has proposed no safety improvements for the stretch of 24th and 23rd Avenues connecting the Montlake neighborhood to Capitol Hill and the Central District (north of Madison).

Instead, the current proposal — which project heads will present to the public in two upcoming meetings — includes four lanes, with curb lanes wider than lanes on many freeways: 14.5 feet. Wide lanes are proven to encourage speeding, a leading factor in traffic deaths and injuries. In fact, the city’s own Road Safety Summit Action Plan notes, “Reducing speeding can be accomplished by ensuring that our travel lanes are not overly wide” (page 20).

The city’s proposal is not a complete street and does not belong in any neighborhood, especially not one with so many people of various ages and abilities walking and biking.

You will have two chances coming up to hear from SDOT officials and give feedback on the project: A community meeting at 6 p.m. today (February 18) at the Miller Community Center and a project open house 5 p.m. February 26 at Thurgood Marshall Elementary.

You are needed at these meetings to speak up for walking and biking safety in Montlake, Capitol Hill, Miller Park, Madison Valley and the Central District.

Outreach about this project has been rather confusing, so I will attempt to break it down into a couple easier-to-digest sections.

Phases 1 and 2

23rdAve_ThreePhases-phase1The first section of 23rd Ave to be constructed runs between E John Street and S Jackson Street. During early outreach, this was the only stretch discussed (Phases 2 and 3 were added to the project well after an open house last year, confusing people who attended that open house). This is the phase that requires the most immediate feedback, since it is approaching final design.

The sidewalks through this stretch are in dismal shape and are rather skinny. The road is also skinnier than other stretches of the street. So planners decided to widen and rebuild the sidewalks and convert the street to a safer three-lane configuration. While I pushed for a protected bike lane on 23rd, the planned design will increase safety and make it much more comfortable to cross this neighborhood barrier of a street.

I especially urge planners to include safety improvements for people crossing at non-signalized streets (median islands, curb bulbs, etc). Today, 23rd Ave is the neighborhood’s most dangerous street. This is the city’s chance to allow neighbors to walk across 23rd at every street, which would revolutionize walkability and bikeability in the Central District.

This is also a chance to improve transit efficiency by making sure buses stop in-lane so they are not delayed by people illegally passing as it tries to pull away from the curb (a violation so ubiquitous, it must be planned for).

The plan for Phase 2 (Jackson to Rainier) is roughly the same as Phase 1.

Phase 3

23rdAve_ThreePhases-phase3Unlike Phases 2 and 3, the city does not plan to improve safety for Phase 3 even though this northernmost segment has nearly identical daily traffic levels and has more road width than the other two phases.

Essentially, Phase 3 aims to preserve the highway-like feel the road has today. Unlike with Phase 1 — where planners presented a handful of options at an open house to study the pros and cons of each option and gather community feedback — Phase 3 has had no clear community outreach process.

Phase 3 also does not appear to have gone through a complete streets analysis (which it would surely fail). A city ordinance mandates that projects receiving significant investment consider the needs of all road users.

At a recent “drop-in session” about the projects, planners included this board to explain why they planned a design change for parts of 23rd:

IMG_2325The city’s 2012 traffic counts show 24th Ave had 18,000 vehicles per day, only 500 more than 23rd Ave through the Central District and well below the 25,000 threshold where a redesign would begin to have some significant impact on traffic flow. The city’s board also lists a bunch of benefits of a safer street design: Fewer collisions, less speeding, less stressful turning, easier to cross the street, and on and on.

If a redesign is good for the Central District (which it is), why is it not good for Montlake, Madison Valley, Miller Park and the eastern edge of Capitol Hill?

When I asked SDOT what kind of complete streets process Phase 3 went through, they sent me an unfinished checklist that references improvements made in Phases 1 and 2 (the checklist was described as “a work in progress”). A safety improvement made in the Central District a mile up the road does not help people crossing the street in Montlake.

The good news is that Phase 3 has a long way to go, and there is time to change the design.

“While we’ve been fortunate to expand the scope to include improvements in Phase 3, it is the last phase of the project and therefore not as far advanced in both design and outreach as the other two phases,” said SDOT spokesperson Rick Sheridan in an email.

Image from the ITO road fatality map (2001-2009)

Image from the ITO road fatality map (2001-2009)

The bad news is that the city is already talking about Phase 3 as though the four-lane design is final.

“Between E Roanoke Street and E John Street (Phase 3), the road will remain four lanes,” reads a press release announcing the February 26 open house.

This is our chance to reconnect neighborhoods long split by a very dangerous and wide street. Maintaining it as a neighborhood highway is not acceptable, but people will need to speak up to change the project’s direction.

Unlike many other city projects, there is a wealth of budget and road width in Phase 3, leaving a huge number of options for safety on the table. In the city’s Road Safety Action Plan, the city made it clear that safety is the city’s top transportation priority, a desire also clearly voiced in Seattle resident surveys.

People need to speak up for the right to cross the street, and demand an end to dangerous streets in the neighborhood. Complete streets are about everyone, including people in cars. We will not accept any more senseless deaths and injuries on our neighborhood streets, big or small. Traffic can flow and be safe at the same time. We cannot wait any longer to act.

Central Area Neighborhood Greenway

The last aspect of the 23rd Ave project is the Central Area Greenway, an attempt to build a route on parallel neighborhood streets that are optimized for biking and walking. Working with Central Seattle Greenways, the city has developed some quality route options between the I-90 Trail and Miller Park.

However, extensive research, including community rides led by Central Seattle Greenways and members of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (spearheaded largely by the wonderful Merlin Rainwater) have come up empty-handed in trying to find a reasonable parallel route at the north section of the project (south of the I-90 Trail could also be difficult). All options are either too steep or too circuitous to be considered a “parallel” route.

And a nearby neighborhood greenway — even if a reasonable route did exist — cannot make a street “complete.” A parallel neighborhood greenway does not reduce collisions between cars, and does not make it easier or safer to cross the street on foot or by bike.

Central Seattle Greenways has presented a preferred route for the greenway, but the group has also heard from residents upset that their side of the street will not see improvements. This is the folly of trying to build a neighborhood greenway as an alternative to making a main street safe: It only helps one half of the nearby residents. A neighborhood greenway on 25th Ave does not help someone at 21st and Yesler cross the street or get to Douglass-Truth Library. A greenway on 22nd Ave does not help someone at 24th and Madison cross the street or get to Safeway.

Between John and I-90, the planned road diet and neighborhood greenway combo seems mostly workable. But the north section will likely require an actual complete streets design on the main street due to a lack of connected and gently-graded options nearby.

Conclusions (tl;dr)

Phases 1 and 2 are close to having a workable solution, but Phase 3 is miles away from a plan that adequately addresses safety, walkability and bikeability. It’s a bit insulting that the city even presented this four-lane option with freeway-width lanes through a dense neighborhood that includes parts of Montlake, Capitol Hill, Madison Valley, Miller Park and the Central District.

Putting this four-lane proposal forward suggests the city was not actually serious when they said safety was the top transportation priority (a statement Mayor Murray agreed with during the mayoral race). Residents need to attend the upcoming meetings and voice support for safety and reconnecting these neighborhoods.

Ending traffic violence means taking action whenever we have the means. Here, we have the means. Let’s do it.

Leadership Legacy Awards honor Central District’s K. Wyking Garrett of Umoja P.E.A.C.E. Center

This year’s 9th Annual Leadership Awards from the Center for Ethical Leadership will present honors to three local individuals, including the Central District’s own K. Wyking Garrett.

Garrett founded and directs the Umoja P.E.A.C.E. Center whose mission is “to inspire and empower youth through Positive Education, Art, Culture & Enterprise (P.E.A.C.E.) from our African-American and Central Seattle roots.” Garrett is a lifelong Central District resident. He was recently involved in the More 4 Mann youth program efforts at the Horace Mann building.

Garrett will be honored at the 9th Annual Legacy Event, Thursday, March 27, 6:30-8:30P at the Lake Union Café. The other honorees include Tita Begashaw, Community Activist & Laughter Therapist; and Linda Park, Co-Founder, Sustainable Path Foundation.

More on the event:

The Center for Ethical Leadership has selected the recipients of the 2014 Leadership Legacy Award.  This award identifies and celebrates Puget Sound individuals or groups whose vision, leadership, and commitment advance the common good in local communities.  The Center is particularly interested in celebrating those who are often out of the traditional spotlight.

Richard Woo, CEO of the Russell Family Foundation, is the keynote speaker.

Tickets are $60 and include dinner.  Tickets must be purchased in advance online at http://2014legacyevent.brownpapertickets.com/.


SPD arrests burglar for multiple felonies

Seattle police say they arrested a burglar yesterday who was high on crack and tried to evade arrest. They eventually booked him on multiple felonies.

From the blotter:

On 2/16/14, at approximately 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a call of a burglary in progress in the 1100 block of  26 Av S.  The resident and his girlfriend heard someone breaking a window at the rear of the house.  They called 911 and hid in the bathroom as the suspect kicked in the door.

The suspect was last seen by the victims walking north on 26 Av S, carrying 3 purses.  Officers responded  and spotted the suspect walking away from the house.  Officers attempted to stop the man who ran through a nearby parking lot until he was cornered near a blackberry patch.

The suspect attempted to flee through the blackberries but only made it about ten feet.  The man refused to comply with verbal commands and became resistive.  At one point, he reached back and grabbed hold of an officer’s duty weapon.

Officers gained control of the suspect and a stolen revolver fell from his waistband. The handgun was recovered and will be placed into evidence.

Seattle Fire responded and evaluated the suspect. While being evaluated and still handcuffed, the suspect  took off running on foot.  As the suspect was running away from the officers he slipped and fell into a parked car. He was once again taken into custody.

The 20-year-old suspect was transported to the East Precinct for processing. He was later booked into King  County Jail on multiple felonies.  The two officers were treated at HMC for minor injuries and released.

Blotter | Gunfire at 25th and Cherry; Burglary suspect busted

We have details surrounding the reports of multiple gunshots that rang out last night just after 11 PM. According to the Seattle Police blotter:

Gang detectives found a damaged car and two shaken—but uninjured—men several blocks from the scene of a shooting in the Central District late Wednesday night.

Around 11 pm, police received several 911 calls about gunfire at 25th Ave and E. Cherry Street. At the scene, several witnesses described seeing a black male, wearing a brown coat and dark pants, open fire on a sedan as it drove down the block.

Officers found several shell casings and discovered a car with bullet damage about two blocks away from the scene of the shooting, and found the driver and a passenger of the damaged vehicle. No one was injured in the incident.

Gang Unit detectives interviewed the two men, who told officers they had no idea why anyone would have shot at them.

Gang detectives are handling the investigation.


Also yesterday, a burglary suspect returned to the scene of his crime and was subsequently busted:

A suspect stole the victim’s car keys during a burglary and returned an hour later to steal the victim’s car. On 2/12/14, at approximately 5:00 a.m., a homeowner in the 400 block of 22 Av woke to find a burglar in his house.  The homeowner gave chase but lost the suspect.

The suspect stole multiple items, including car keys.  At approximately 6:00 a.m., the embolden suspect returned to the scene of the burglary and attempted to steal the homeowner’s car.  Officers quickly arrived in the area. The suspect fled on foot and officers gave chase.

After a short foot pursuit the suspect was cornered in a nearby yard.  Officers found the suspect and arrested him without incident.  The victim positively identified the suspect as the burglar.

The suspect was arrested and later booked into King County Jail for Investigation of Burglary.

The 31-year-old man is also suspected of several car prowls in the area.

The People of the Central Area: Anonymous female member of Sephardic Jewish community

This post is part of a series of profiles of Central District residents, part of the “People of the Central Area” project developed and written by Madeline Crowley.

Originally the Bikur Cholim Synagogue. Photo by Madeline Crowley

About Anonymous:
Anonymous remembers a time before the blare of TV and the constant roar of cars when the Central Area was a village of small shopkeepers where people gathered together to talk and play as the primary form of shared, joyful entertainment.

Anonymous on the Central Area:

I guess I should start at the beginning. The first Jewish settlers in Seattle were Ashkenazim (Jews of Eastern European or German descent) who arrived in the late 1800s. My family is Sephardic from Turkey (Jews originating from Spain, Portugal or North Africa) my uncles came to Seattle in 1909 and my father joined them in 1911. My mother came after World War One in 1920.

Now, don’t forget it was a different life over in Turkey. When my Dad first came over to America he did shoeshine for a while. A lot of the Turkish men when they first came they did shoe shine and shoe repair. Whatever it took to provide.

The Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities were pretty separate before World War II, we had different synagogues and different traditions and food. There’s a big difference between their practices and ours. After the war, there was intermarriage and we learned their dishes and they learned ours; it was a very rich time.

It was a very Jewish community but we had non-Jewish neighbors that we were very close to and don’t forget there were three churches within a few blocks. We lived around Irish, Italian, Turkish, German and Russian families in one apartment building. Everyone spoke broken English and we spoke Ladino at home. The children were all first generation Americans.

My father really discouraged us from speaking Ladino, ‘We’re in America, we speak English’ which was a point of contention with my mother.

I was a few years old; I remember that apartment and my crib. It was so crowded in that apartment that the crib was against a mirror. I was looking in it while the neighbor women were over. They got together every day for coffee. I overhead them talking about the ‘bogeyman.’ They said, beware there was a burglar, a bogeyman, in the neighborhood. I remember looking into that mirror and seeing the reflection. I was old enough to know that the bogeyman sounded scary.

When I was about three years old, I remember my Mom sent me down the side stairs to the apartment below with a bowl of melon seeds wanted for a recipe. Kids in those days were very capable, they followed orders and they delivered. If they were asked to do something they could handle it.

We learned from our neighbors. It was a real education for us, it was a benefit to see and appreciate different ways. We understood how different cultures had different ideas. The differences made us happy and appreciative. Once we moved to a house, we loved to go to our neighbors. We loved the smells of the kitchens. We loved even the Christmas tradition of the Italians.

It was a wonderful neighborhood, very diverse neighborhood; we were surrounded by great neighbors. One neighbor was Swedish, she had lots of cats, too many cats. The lady behind us, her landlord was Chinese, and she had two tenants who were Jewish.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Ethan Stowell’s Red Cow is open for business in Madrona

photoThe latest installment of Ethan Stowell’s apparent attempt to take over Seattle is Red Cow, a brasserie in Madrona. Red Cow opened last night with a packed house; diners filled nearly every spot in the 1,800-square-foot restaurant on 34th avenue.

Red Cow takes over the spot formerly occupied by much-loved Restaurant Bea. The space is divided into a brighter, family-friendly dining room, with 35 seats, and a 20-seat bar area that’s dim and romantic and looks into the kitchen.

The menu is decidedly meaty, with a focus on steak frites. You have six cuts to choose from: Hanger, Chuck Roast, New York Strip, Filet Mignon, Boneless Ribeye, and Short Ribs. Housemade charcuterie and local seafood round out the menu.

I stopped in and tried the short ribs, because…short ribs! I added a compound butter sauce, which the ribs soaked up beautifully. I also tried the frisee and bacon salad, which came topped with a lovely poached duck egg and thankfully didn’t shy away from the dressing.

Stowell isn’t finished with Madrona. He’s working on a small, boutique dining space called Noyer, which will open behind Red Cow this spring. Expect to pay $300 per person for the privilege of dining here.

“This will be a special occasion restaurant, a luxurious experience in Seattle with excellent wine and excellent food,” Stowell told the Puget Sound Business Journal back in November. “We want to give people something where they say, ‘Wow, we got a great experience for the money we spent.’”

Meanwhile, Red Cow is open for dinner seven days a week. Given the opening night reception, you’d do well to make a reservation.


The Madrona Company planning four-story residential building at MLK and Union

Developer The Madrona Company has set its sights on 1141 MLK Jr. Way, at the corner of Union Street. There’s long been an empty lot and a small, two-story building at the address; soon, the spot will hold four-story residential building.

According to a Land Use Information Bulletin, the plans by developer Marty Liebowitz include a proposed “4-story structure containing 50 residential units and 7,500 sq. ft. of commercial space. Parking for 25 vehicles to be provided in below grade parking garage. Existing 2-story structure to be demolished.”

Back in 2008, The Stranger gave Liebowitz the title of “coolest developer in Seattle,” for his ideas to add cheap music practice spaces for “the rock-and-roll kids” who make only 10 to 20 thousand dollars a year. It’s unclear whether that vision is still a part of the design, though, as the building’s plans have undergone changes since the post. The Madrona Company also built the Central District’s Yesler Mews and Madrona’s Bowling Green building.

The public has the opportunity to learn more at an Early Design Guidance Meeting:

February 26 at 8 PM
Seattle University
1000 E James St
Student Center – Multi-Purpose Room #210

You can also comment before the meeting in writing “to assist in the preparation of the early design guidance through February 26, 2014. You are invited to offer comments regarding important site planning and design issues, which you believe, should be addressed in the design for this project.” Email [email protected] or write to:

City of Seattle – DPD – PRC
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA  98124-4019

For more information, check out the Notice of Design Review online.