NEWS GLEAMS | Community Builder Elijah Lewis Killed; Mayor Harrell Pays Consultant to Lobby for Preferred Light Rail Stations

A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Photo depicting Elijah Lewis' mother wearing black and speaking into a microphone as other community members support her.
Supported by a family member and friend, Elijah Lewis’ mother says a few words at a vigil held for son at the corner of Broadway and Pine on Sunday, April 2, not far from where he was murdered the day before. Hundreds of people showed up to show their love for Elijah, a young man who was deeply involved in the community. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Entrepreneur and Community Builder Elijah Lewis Killed in Capitol Hill

Early Saturday evening, a deadly shooting took place in Capitol Hill on Harvard and Pike, close to the bar Life on Mars. Two victims were shot, including beloved 23-year-old entrepreneur and community builder Elijah Lewis, who died at the hospital; the other was his 9-year-old nephew, who is in stable condition. A suspect, Patrick Cooney, was arrested at the scene.

According to Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, “John Richards, co-owner of the nearby bar Life on Mars, posted an update on the situation and says a customer from the establishment rushed to the vehicle after the shooting and rendered aid.”

A vigil for Lewis took place in Capitol Hill, on Broadway and Pine, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 2.

Cooney made his first appearance hearing in court today and waived his right to appear. He was represented by a defense attorney. According to a press release by King County, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office asked for Cooney to be held on $2 million bail and argued there was probable cause for murder in the second degree and assault in the first degree. The court agreed and set bail at said amount; Cooney is still in custody.

In support of the family, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched. It writes, “Elijah was a vibrant young man of 23, a business owner, community organizer, and advocate who was working tirelessly to create a better and safer community in Seattle. He was also a loving and loyal friend, son, brother, and uncle. His last incredible act was using his body to shield his 9- year-old nephew from a barrage of bullets.”

“He was a young man fully embracing the possibility of his life and now our world will never get to experience the fullness of what he was divinely designed to manifest,” wrote Sean Goode, executive director of Choose 180, on Facebook.

Other community members also poured out their love and memories for Lewis on Facebook. “He was trying to bring people together to heal, but not some ‘swallow your hurt, brush over your feelings’ kind of healing. He wanted real restoration and I had immense respect for him because of that. He wanted to really heal the hood — for real,” wrote Nikkita Oliver.

The Emerald will release an in-depth reflection on Lewis’ life in the future.

The historic Chinatown Gate in the Chinatown-International District
Historic Chinatown Gate in the Chinatown-International District (Photo: Jaidev Vella)

Mayor Bruce Harrell Pays Consultant to Lobby for Preferred Seattle Light Rail Stations

South Seattle Emerald has recently covered the controversies and community debates around preferred locations for the future Sound Transit light rail station in the Chinatown International-District. During a March 23 meeting, Sound Transit’s board of directors made the decision to back two stations to the north and south of the current station – both of which were more recently added than the 4th Avenue and 5th Avenue station options and have yet to undergo an environmental impact statement process. They have decided to keep the 4th Avenue Station option as one for further consideration.

According to reporting by The Seattle Times on April 3, it has been revealed that Mayor Bruce Harrell awarded a no-bid contract in 2022 to Tim Ceis, the 2015 deputy mayor of Seattle, “to provide advice and political support for his light-rail positions, which include shifting a future underground stop away from convenient Union Station in the Chinatown-International District.” Ceis worked 20 hours a week and contacted half of Sound Transit’s 18 board members to explain the mayor’s positions.

While groups like Seattle Subway have called the hiring of Ceis “a backroom deal” on Twitter, Harrell disagrees. “How do you enforce a 16-member backroom deal?” he questioned via The Seattle Times. “I don’t know how you would go about that.”

Harrell is not the first mayor to hire outside help for Sound Transit strategy. Former Mayor Jenny Durkan also hired a former Sound Transit public affairs consultant to assist with transit strategy.

Photo depicting a waterfall in the Mount Rainier National Park.
Waterfall at Mount Rainier National Park. (Photo: Jaidev Vella)

Washington State Department of Ecology Opens Environmental Restoration Grants

The Washington State Department of Ecology is now soliciting proposals from those pursuing environmental restoration projects around the state for their 2023 Restoration Grants.

According to their press release, “Local and tribal governments, state and federal agencies, and public benefit nonprofit organizations are all eligible. Private entities and ineligible organizations can partner with another eligible group. Previous funded projects include salmon habitat restoration, livestock exclusion fencing, derelict crab pot removal, land acquisition, and stormwater improvement projects. These are reimbursable grants, meaning that applicants must spend their own funds and will be reimbursed afterward.”

Possible projects include oil spill cleanup projects, environmental restoration projects to rehabilitate shorelines, wetlands, salmon habitats, and other natural areas. Added this year is also a metric on environmental justice. Projects that can demonstrate a commitment to “historically overburdened groups” will have that reflected in their score.

Applications are open from April 4 to May 4, 2023, at 5 .p.m. via the Department of Ecology website. Funding will be awarded around July 2023.

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