There have been many highs and lows in 2016, and the Capitol Hill Times has again rounded out its Year in Review, identifying the most interesting developments in the Capitol Hill, First Hill and Central District neighborhoods.
— Longtime Congressman Jim McDermott announced he wouldn’t seek a 15th term in the House of Representatives on Jan. 4.
43rd District Rep. Brady Walkinshaw advanced to the general election, where he was defeated by 37th District Sen. Pramila Jayapal, who will be the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House.
— Dick’s Drive-In co-founder and namesake Dick Spady, 92, died on Sunday, Jan. 10.
The first Dick’s Drive-In opened in Wallingford in 1954. The Capitol Hill location on Broadway East opened a year later, followed by Holman Road, Lake City, Queen Anne and Edmonds.
— The Capitol Hill-based Artist Trust nonprofit began celebrating its 30th anniversary with a kickoff at January’s Capitol Hill Art Walk.
— Seattle Area Support Groups moved out of the house on 17th Avenue East it’s operated in for more than 20 years, settling into its new space on 15th Avenue East.
— The First Hill Streetcar line delivered its first passengers from Pioneer Square to to the last stop in front of Seattle Central College on Saturday, Jan. 24.
— The One Night Count was conducted at the end of January, guided by the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and more than 1,000 volunteers.
There was a 19 percent spike in the homeless population from 2015, with about 3,000 of the 4,505 people counted being in Seattle.
— The Downtown Seattle Association expanded its outreach program to Capitol Hill, where outreach workers coordinate with East Precinct police officers to identify and assist homeless individuals.
— The Broadway Post Office moved down the street to the vacant Office Max storefront at 212 Broadway E. The search started when USPS learned its new landlord was demolishing the former building for a new development.
— Velocity Dance Center, the Capitol Hill Arts District and One Reel announced its partnership to repurpose the Capitol Hill Value Village as a temporary arts and meeting space. V2 operated until late December.
Legacy Commercial is preserving the structure and adding office space on top of its Kelly Springfield Building development.
— The first Washington campaign office for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders opened Sunday, March 6, on East Pike Street, with organizers being met by a strong showing of supporters looking to canvass votes ahead of the March 26 caucuses.
— The Washington State Convention Center terminated its partnership with Skanska-Hunt, the general contractor/construction manager brought on more than six months ago for the $1.4 billon WSCC Addition project. Skanska-Hunt ended up suing the WSCC, settling in April, reportedly for nearly $8 million.
— Mayor Ed Murray’s office announced a $650,000 stabilization fund had been formed to help businesses impacted by the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements project.
— More than 300,000 people rode University Link light rail between the University of Washington and Capitol Hill on Saturday, March 19.
King County Executive Dow Constantine told another crowd of people how the project was completed six months ahead of schedule and $200 million under budget.
The mayor and his husband, Michael Shiosaki, pulled the ceremonial cord to open the Capitol Hill Station.
— LoveCityLove, a nonprofit art collective that repurposes shuttered buildings as performance space, opened its latest location in the American Artificial Limb building at 1402 E. Pike St.
— The 12th Avenue Square Park had its grand opening on April 14. The pocket park’s largest feature is a public art piece, “Cloud Veil,” created by Capitol Hill artist Ellen Sollod, which includes seating.
— Body parts were discovered inside a recycling bin resident in the 1600 block of 21st Avenue on Saturday, April 9. Those remains were identified as those of 40-year-old Ingrid Lyne.
John R. Charlton, 37, whom Lyne met online, is facing one count of first-degree murder and theft of a motor vehicle, and is awaiting trial.
More remains were found later in April, by sanitation workers in the 900 block of 20th Avenue and at a recycling center in the 200 block of South Hanford Street.
— Following the April 21 death of prolific musician Prince, a dance party in Capitol Hill ended up spilling into East Pike Street, closing the street down with purple flair.
— Rather than allowing anti-capitalist marchers from making their traditional route from Westlake Park to Capitol Hill for May Day on Sunday, May 1, Seattle Police herded protesters down Fourth Avenue South with blast balls, bikes and other tactics.
— Writers nonprofit Hugo House held a final sendoff for its longtime creative and educational space at 1634 11th Ave., on Saturday, May 7.
Epilogue/Prologue: A Celebration of Hugo House participants had the opportunity to write stories and draw illustrations on the walls of the old house before it was demolished, making way for a 125,00-square-foot mixed-use residential building. Hugo House will move back into an 11,000-square-foot ground-floor space once construction is completed.
— Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange was announced as Seattle Central College’s new president in early April, having served in the position in the interim since August 2015.
— Capitol Hill Housing received city council approval to provide transportation options to low-income residents in three of its affordable housing developments, and to partner with the University of Washington to create shared-parking technology; the concept is to allow people to rent parking spaces not being used around Capitol Hill by those who still have to pay for them. That technology remains under development.
— Students of Matteo Ricci College at Seattle University began occupying the office of dean Jodi Kelly, calling for her resignation and changing the college’s humanities program curriculum. Seattle U placed Kelly on paid administrative leave in early June. Kelly’s retirement from the college was announced in late July.
— Seattle Fire Station 22 came down in mid-May, the station crew moving to a temporary outpost at 3100 Eastlake Ave. E. Construction of a new 10,000-square-foot station is slated for completion in June 2017.
— The Central District’s Washington Hall celebrated its grand reopening on June 1. The historic performance space was spared from demolition when Historic Seattle purchased the building in June 2009.
— Cal Anderson Park was filled with LGBTQ community members and allies in honor of the shooting massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Sunday, June 12.
— Fences came down in late June for the newly developed Broadway Hill Park at 500 Federal Ave. E., the project spearheaded by the Friends of Broadway Hill.
The park includes barbecues, green space, a P-Patch and ADA-accessible walking path.
— In late May Plymouth Housing broke ground on an 80-unit apartment complex in First Hill that will provide housing for the homeless and other support services, with an anticipated opening of the $24 million development in fall 2017.
Using $7.7 million in city support, primarily through the 2009 Seattle Housing Levy, the 77-unit apartment complex will open at 710 Cherry St., for medically fragile homeless individuals.
— Following an ethics investigation into the Seattle Department of Transportation director’s involvement in negotiating the expansion of the Pronto bike-share program in the city, Scott Kubly has agreed to pay $5,000 for violating city code.
Kubly came to the city from Alta Bike Share, now known as Motivate, which continued managing Pronto following the city’s purchase of the bike share program for $1.4 million, to avoid its insolvency and having to repay $1 million from a federal grant to buy 28 of its 54 stations.
— The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission states discussions between Kubly and Alta CEO Jay Walder “led SDOT to formally propose taking over the bike share system.” From April to August 2015, Kubly was actively involved in managing the city’s takeover of Pronto. SEEC strategic advisor Gary Keese advised Kubly in May 2015 to file a waiver and disclosure in May 2015, but none was filed, the settlement agreement states.
— The Capitol Hill Block Party celebrated two decades rocking the neighborhood July 22-24. The multi-block street party spilled into participating music venues.
— The Seattle City Council’s Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee voted on legislation banning conversion therapy in the city. The full council approved the measure in August.
— The Sound Transit Board unanimously approved a purchase and development agreement with Gerding Edlen during its July 28 general meeting, allowing Capitol Hill Housing to begin constructing its 100-percent affordable housing complex on the north end of the Capitol Hill light rail station in 2018.
— A number of reports of drugged drinks at popular Capitol Hill bars and nightclubs caused business owners to take steps to address concerns the Seattle Police Department claimed it could not confirm. This included providing test strips for drinks, which was spearheaded by Bar Sue.
— Responding to a number of shootings around the Harvard Market QFC, property owners worked with the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and Seattle Police Department and ended up closing the top parking lot on Friday and Saturday nights.
— An unflattering statue of then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump popped up at the corner of 11th Avenue and East Pike on Thursday, Aug. 18, attracting large crowds that stopped to admire the art installation by activist collective INDECLINE. The statue was later relocated to the No Parking on Pike thrift store up the street.
— The Sound Transit Board unanimously approved a development agreement for 99-year ground leases on the three remaining sites around the Capitol Hill Station slated for transit-oriented development last Thursday, Aug. 25.
— The Bat ’N’ Rouge game between the Drag Queens and Lez-Bros took place at Cal Anderson Park, raising funds for the Seattle Area Support Groups, which started in 1984 as the Seattle AIDS Support Group, but now also focuses on promoting health and wellbeing through peer support.
— The Seattle Department of Transportation closed a walking path and city right of way running through the Lowell Elementary campus on Sept. 2, following concerns about homeless campers, discarded drug needles and used condoms.
SDOT held two public meetings to gather opinions about what to do about the pathway. A permanent plan for addressing the troubled pathway had been expected by the end of November. According to SDOT, no decision had been reached as of Dec. 27.
— The National Labor Relations Board counted ballots cast by non-tenured Seattle University staff, which found they’d voted 73-63 to unionize.
Seattle U adjuncts voted in summer 2014 whether to form a collective bargaining unit with Service Employees International Union Local 925, but the university appealed the election to the National Labor Relations Board under the argument it should be exempt from the NLRB as a religious institution. This caused the ballots to be impounded and not counted. The university president announced in late October that Seattle U would appeal the decision.
— In recognition of its 50 years as an educational institution and hotspot for social activism, Seattle Central College held a civil march around its Capitol Hill campus on Thursday, Sept. 22.
— The 30th annual Lifelong End AIDS Walk was held in Volunteer Park on Saturday, Sept. 24, the 5K run/walk raising more than $231,000 for HIV prevention and care services.
— Jimi Hendrix Park opened Friday, Oct. 7, next to the Northwest African American Museum.
Construction of Little Wing, the first phase of the park, was completed earlier this year. A second phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2017.
— A number of Capitol Hill businesses in the Pike/Pine corridor were switched to a new solid waste bag program, Seattle Public Utilities implementing the change to enhance safety by removing numerous dumpsters in the neighborhood. SPU is currently working with some bar owners, who have seen significant cost increases from having to use so many recycling bags for large volumes of canned products.
— Seattle University announced it will use a three-year $500,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase to continue work started this summer to support Central District businesses as they seek to grow and thrive in a rapidly changing neighborhood.
— Former Seattle Police officer Cynthia Whitlatch was found guilty in a civil jury trial of violating an elderly man’s constitutional rights during a terry stop in 2014, awarding William Wingate $325,000 in damages.
— Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole fired Whitlatch last September, following an Office of Professional Accountability investigation into allegations the stopping of Wingate as he walked along East Pike Street on July 9, 2014, and subsequent arrest was racially motivated.
— A call to create a collective of neighborhood action coalitions in Seattle in response to concerns about an even more heated political climate during Donald Trump’s presidency was answered by an overwhelming number of Capitol Hill residents — so much so that three groups were formed to accommodate them all.
— The Seattle City Council unanimously passed an ordinance restricting move-in fees for renters and establishing privileges for renters to pay those fees over time.
— Under the law, landlords may only charge move-in fees that include first and last month’s rent, plus a security deposit that is no more than one month’s rent. The entirety of those fees must also be split up into a payment plan over a period of no more than six months upon a tenant’s request.