Category Archives: News

Hillman City’s Business District: A Rose Grows From Concrete

by Robin Boland Hillman City

The flourishing Hillman City business district reminds one of a tenacious wild flower, sprouting up between the cracks in the sidewalk. The energy of the neighborhood and its local entrepreneurs is in stark contrast to the derelict buildings and deserted businesses one might have previously rushed past on their way to the well-established Columbia City business district scant blocks away. The hope of this fledgling strip of independent entrepreneurs is that you will forgo your familiar, fast paced visit to Starbucks and instead take a few moments to chat up your neighbors at the Tin Umbrella or sample the seasonal menu at the Union Bar while testing your trivia knowledge (note that a yoga class at Rocket Crossfit may be in order afterwards). It may take a few moments longer to get your coffee but as you leave you’ll feel like you just left a friend’s living room and yes, their baby is indeed eating Cheerios off the floor.

The newest additions to the growing business community in this neighborhood include a home furnishing store & a soon to open rotisserie chicken restaurant with outdoor seating. These join, among other neighbors, a thrift store, a halal pizza café, a martial arts academy and a local brewery. Nestled amongst these locally grown endeavors is a gem of an idea, the Hillman City Collaboratory (http://hillmancitycollaboratory.org/).

The Collaboratory, self-described as an “Incubator for Social Change” offers shared office space, mixing chamber (a large, multi-purpose area), learning kitchen, community garden and drop in center. Drop in hours are Monday through Friday from 10-2 while partners have access anytime. The idea is that dreamers and doers have a place to go, echoing the vibrant spirit of the neighborhood. The community building HCC has become a pick up location for a local CSA (http://www.farmigo.com/join/growingwashington/summer2014), offered organic gardening classes, hosted fundraisers and are possible future partners with Families of Color Seattle (http://focseattle.com/). FOC Seattle hopes to partner with the HCC to open a Cultural Cornerstone Café in the fall, hosting multilingual family events for the community. The Hillman City Collaboratory seems to represent the very earnest spirit of regrowth throughout the neighborhood, bringing light back to what had been in shadows.

Robin Boland is a contributing columnist, South Seattle Enthusiast, and is often referred to as “little bird” by friends of hers with heights over 5 ft 7

Editor’s Note: The article was heavily influenced by the following poem

The Rose That Grew From Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk without having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

Tupac Shakur

Seattle Police Seeking Assistance In Othello Homicide Case

originally appeared in SPD Blotter

After arresting a 46-year-old man in last week’s “shopping cart” homicide in the Othello Park neighborhood, detectives are now seeking more information about the victim of this terrible crime.

Police believe the victim in this case, Daryl M. Ford, was homeless and detectives are asking for help identifying where Mr. Ford may have frequented or camped in the Seattle area.

If you have any information which could aid in the prosecution of this case, please call the homicide tip line at (206) 233-5000.

Dept of Licensing photo of Mr. Ford

Police Looking For Gunman In Skyway Area

Skywayby Staff Reporter

Police are looking for a gunman in the Skyway area after someone fired shots at a car during a traffic stop yesterday evening, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Someone shot at a car that was pulled over by a King County sheriff’s deputy at South 116th Place and 72nd Avenue South, as stated by the sheriff’s office. No one was injured, but several bullets hit the vehicle while the deputy was standing at the window talking to the driver.

The male then jumped into a car and drove away, officers said. Officers and a K-9 searched the area last night but as of today were not able to locate the suspect.

Officers believe the man was shooting at the vehicle, not at the deputy, the sheriff’s department said.

Buy Nothing: South Seattle Group Exhorts The Virtue of Less Consumerism

Buy NothingBy Robin Boland

 

The recent growth of gift economies such as the hyper-local “Buy Nothing” Facebook groups & Freecycle seem to be the perfect answer for living a less materialistic life while growing your community. With most families trying to get by on less (or buy less) sharing bounty amongst communities is an elegant solution.

The etiquette in these groups is fairly basic. No soliciting, no bartering, giver gets to decide who the recipient is. Explaining why you want something is helpful when attempting to claim a posted item as well as when asking for something specific. A post may clearly state “First responder takes it” or “Get it off my porch by tomorrow & it’s yours”. Others use a random number generator, saving them from having to select a recipient. Two certificates for a free haircut at a fancy salon received huge responses. Random number generator picked the 7th & 13th responders.

The SE Seattle Buy Nothing group, with a little over 600 members, is a hopping place. With everything from trees to t-shirts on offer there’s bound to be something you can use. The biggest beneficiaries are clearly parents, attempting to keep pace with the near daily changes their children go through. Bottle sterilizers, breast feeding aids (and advice), training potties, wheeled vehicles, play houses and, of course, clothes. With the rapid turn over rate any barely used kid’s item could easily be recycled 6 times, at least, before wearing out. Gardening is a hot topic right now along with chicken coop building materials, giving your neighbor’s old doors or cabinets a second life.

Other requests are also for a short-term use, such as needing a red dress for an event but not wanting to buy one to use just once. Need crutches? Ask. Have fertile gardening ground but aren’t able to garden anymore? Offer.
When trying to ‘claim’ an item you may find yourself on a bit of a treasure hunt, navigating back streets of your neighborhood that you’ve never been down before. Helpful group members may offer their truck to transport large items simply out of generosity and that’s really the flavor of the whole endeavor, generosity & community. Everyday your neighbors are freely giving and receiving and it makes so much sense. Got too much stuff? Give some away. Maybe someone can use it.

Robin Boland is a contributing columnist, South Seattle Enthusiast, and is often referred to as “little bird” by friends of hers with heights over 5 ft 7

 

Homegrown Documentaries

Seed ArtsSeattle, WA – Bicycling nudists, Rwandan filmmakers and a Seattle family confronted by terrorism are the intriguing characters you’ll meet at the second annual SEED Arts Cinema Series SEEDArts Cinema Series, “Made in Seattle: Homegrown Documentaries”. The two-day series, April 4 & 5, is comprised of three dynamic, award-winning, locally made documentaries to be screened at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center, 3515 S Alaska St, Seattle, WA 98118. The films are Finding Hillywood (4/4 at 7pm), Barzan (4/5 at 5pm), and Beyond Naked (4/5 at 7pm). Each film will be followed by a community conversation with the filmmakers and moderated by Rustin Thompson, The Restless Critic.

The Cinema Series opens on Friday, April 4 at 7pm with a screening of Finding Hillywood. Set amongst the hills of Rwanda, Finding Hillywood chronicles one man’s road to forgiveness, his effort to heal his country, and the realization that we all must one day face our past. A unique and endearing phenomenon film about the very beginning of Rwanda’s film industry and the pioneers who bring local films to rural communities. A real life example of the power of film to heal a man and a nation.

The Series continues on Saturday, April 5, with an evening double feature. At 5 pm, we present Barzan by directors Alex Stonehill & Bradley Hutchinson. Barzan is an intimate portrait of a suburban family ripped apart by a terrorism accusation. Shot both in Iraq and Seattle, this investigative documentary examines terrorism, immigration, and the sacrifices we make to protect the American dream.

The series concludes at 7pm with Beyond Naked, the “Best Documentary” of the Seattle True Independent Film Festival (2013). This film shows what happens when four first-timers accept a challenge to ride naked in Seattle’s legendary Solstice Parade. This feature-length documentary explores our deep-rooted fear and awkward fascination with nakedness through the lens of one of Seattle’s most popular traditions.

Admission to the Cinema Series is $5 per film. All films will be screened on the new digital projection system at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center, 3515 S Alaska St, Seattle, WA 98118. Limited concessions will be available. For more information and updates, call 206.760.4285 or visit http://www.rainiervalleyculturalcenter.org/cinema.

Rainier Valley Greenways Create Pop-Up Greenway

Seattle, WA — Rainier Valley Greenways announces the first Pop-up Greenway Event in South Seattle, Sunday, April 6, 2014, from 11am to 3pm in Columbia City at Ferdinand Street between 35th and 37th Street.

A Pop-Up Greenway is a temporary installation to demonstrate and celebrate the effectiveness of neighborhood greenways. The Rainier Valley Pop-Up Greenway, located on a proposed greenway route near the Columbia City light rail station, will include faux painted speed humps, way-finding signs, sharrows and intersection improvement suggestions that demonstrate what a greenway could look like. The event will also feature food, walking tours, hands-on activities, and games for the whole family.

Neighborhood greenways are residential streets close to commercial streets where people who walk and bike are given priority. They have slower speeds, less traffic and sometimes more trees, benches and other people-friendly features than main city streets. Greenways also connect community destinations like schools, parks, businesses and transit hubs.

“Neighborhood Greenways are for all of us, not just for bicyclists,” says City of Seattle Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “Greenways are for those who want to live in a quieter, calmer neighborhood. They are for those of us who want to let our children play outside safely, where neighbors like to walk and ride in front of their homes in relative peace. Greenways are for people who like green and flowering trees and want to recreate how their neighborhoods look and feel.”

“It’s been amazing to see how much interest there is in Rainier Valley for safer streets,” says Deb Salls, executive director of Bike Works, a key organizational partner in the Rainier Valley Greenways project. “We have a diverse community, where family members of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds are trying to walk, bike, and bus to different destinations — and in this community there can be a lot of obstacles, from uneven sidewalks, to poorly marked streets, and dangerous signal-timing.”

About Rainier Valley Greenways: Rainier Valley Greenways is part of a city-wide grassroots movement called Seattle Neighborhood Greenways that is helping residents and businesses transform Seattle into a city where we can all walk and bike more safely. Working with leading organizations, businesses, and social service groups in Southeast Seattle, the Rainier Valley Greenways group is participating in a variety of local events throughout the year, offering community presentations, and generating discussions online at: http://www.GoRVGreenways.com. By August 2014, they expect to have a Greenways plan that highlights the best opportunities for walking and bicycling routes from one end of Rainier Valley to the other. They’ll present the neighborhood-driven proposal to the City as a plan for prioritizing road and sidewalk repairs, traffic-calming elements, and other enhancements for safer walking and bicycling in Southeast Seattle.

Lake Washington Receives $50 Million Reinvestment

SEATTLE – Starting this month, the Lake Washington Apartments will undergo a complete renovation that will greatly improve safety and

 comfort for 960 residents.

SEED (SouthEast Effective Development), in cooperation with its development partner, Bayside Communities, is financing the transfor

mation of the affordable apartment complex in Rainier Beach with a $50 million reinvestment package that rolls over part of the property’s current debt and frees $20 million for structural and tenant improvements.

 

“This comprehensive renovation will greatly improve the home environments of the residents with upgrades to all 366 units-and will add 13 more,” stated Lance Matteson, Executive Director of SEED. SEED is a Southeast Seattle not-for-profit dedicated to economic, arts-based, and affordable housing development.

The new financing includes $28 million in bonds issued and $12.2 million in housing tax credits allocated by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Other development and funding partners include the City of Seattle, the State of Washington, Citi, R4 Capital, US Bank, and HomeSight.

“Each of these partners has been crucial to this project,” Matteson said. “We are proud to say that this project is being financed through private equity, with no grants from the state or federal government.”

The 66-year-old apartment complex is among the state’s largest affordable housing developments operated by a non-governmental agency. A great number of residents are people of color and immigrants from Africa, East Asia, and other countries, as well as a number of people transitioning from homelessness. Families eligible for housing earn below 60 percent of the area median income.

The renovation will replace roofs and siding, upgrade kitchens as well as bathrooms, and upgrade energy efficiency of lighting, radiant baseboard heaters, and water heaters. Energy-efficient washers and dryers will be fitted inside the individual apartments, freeing up common areas for new classrooms, study rooms, and activity and exercise rooms. Completion is projected for August 2015. The contractor is Synergy Construction, Inc. and property management services are provided by EPMI, a Bayside Company.

The Lake Washington Apartments, located at 9061 Seward Park Avenue South, are situated on a 16-acre site containing over 330,000 square feet of real estate that is adjacent to Lake Washington and Rainier Beach High School. The site is just a few blocks from the brand-new Rainier Beach Community Center.

 “At SEED, we are excited about our new direction and the opportunities represented by the redevelopment of the Lake Washington Apartments,” added Matteson. “This important step supports the livability of southeast Seattle and the diversity that enhances our city’s ongoing efforts to be recognized as a great international city.”

“We have worked to collaborate with commercial partners, government entities, public and regulatory agencies, legal and compliance experts, architects, and construction managers in a project that will bring tangible benefits to families and individuals in our community.”