Tag Archives: Central District

Bold as Love: Celebrating Jimi Hendrix’s Life 50 Years After His Death

by Elizabeth Turnbull

On Friday, exactly 50 years after Jimi Hendrix’s death, a group of roughly 100 people withstood smokey skies and rain to celebrate Hendrix’s life by listening to live music and watching as his image emerged from the paint strokes of roughly 20 local artists. 

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How a Weed Store Became a Symbol of Seattle Gentrification

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Since the Seattle protests began in late May, demonstrators have gathered in front of various police precincts and city buildings to protest police brutality and systemic anti-Black racism. Two protests this summer, including one held two weeks ago, have shifted to focus on the issue of gentrification in general, and on one pot shop in particular: Uncle Ike’s. 

On the evening of Aug. 7, a rally organized by the Engage Team, a group of young activists who posted their first rally in July of this year, gathered in front of the pot shop’s newly-opened location on East Olive Way, and marched to the original Uncle Ike’s storefront on 23rd Avenue and East Union Street, in the Central District (CD), calling for a boycott of Uncle Ike’s weed shops and a halt to predatory development.

“The main goal is to pretty much expose gentrification, expose what’s going on and how it’s working in Seattle,” said Peyday, one of the organizers with the Engage Team. “We want to expose the little details of racism that people don’t really understand, and so now we’re trying to expose gentrification as well.”

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Coffee in the Time of COVID: Geetu Vailoor Takes On Central District’s Union Coffee

by Mark Van Streefkerk


Coffee professional Geetu Vailoor had never thought about owning a café, but in February the idea was pitched to her by the owner of Union Coffee, who was looking to pass the business on to someone else. After some rigorous soul-searching, Vailoor said yes. Previous owner Zach Reinig closed the shop on March 15, and on March 19 Vailoor reopened the Central District café as her own. The turnkey operation happened right as Washintgon imposed a stay-at-home mandate. Seated service was put to a halt by March 22. For some cafés, COVID-19 has meant temporary or even permanent closures — but Geetu has remained open for takeout coffee and pastries throughout the pandemic.

“I never expected anything like what is happening right now,” Vailoor remembered. “I think I wanted to be super optimistic. I reached out to SBA to get a small business mentor, and all of them were like, ‘Don’t do this. This is crazy. You should not be taking over a small business right now, especially one that’s a commodity product.’ I just believed it would work out. I just had a feeling.” 

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An Elder’s Tiny Dog Is Stolen From His Car in a Public Parking Lot — South End Social Media Springs to Action

by Jessie McKenna

Travis Jefferson lost his wife of 52 years and six months later — to the day — someone kidnapped his dog while he shopped at a Central District Walgreens. What happened next was unthinkable but ultimately fortuitous and rather beautiful.  


At approximately four in the afternoon on a warm Sunday, July 5, 73-year-old Travis Jefferson parked at a Walgreens. For the first time in over 40 years living in the CD, a mole was tearing up his yard, so he was on the hunt for castor oil to flush it out. 

Travis, a Marine veteran, lives with his disabled adult son Dennis who likes to ride around in the back seat of his car with their two Yorkies, Chuckie and Solomon. Solomon rides on Dennis’s lap so he can look out the window. They all enjoy their car rides together, especially on sunny days.  

The Walgreens at the bustling historic — and all kinds of gentrified — Central District intersection of South Jackson Street and 23rd Avenue shares a parking lot with East African Imports, an AutoZone, a Magic Dragon Chinese restaurant, a T-Mobile store, and a Starbucks. Travis left Dennis and the dogs in the car while he shopped. He intended to be in and out. He left the windows down a little more than usual for ventilation due to the heat and locked the doors. It took a few minutes for staff to direct Travis to the castor oil, but not long. 

When Travis returned about ten minutes later, he unlocked the doors and got back into his SUV to find Dennis and Chuckie, but Solomon had vanished.

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Photo Essay: “4th of YouLie” Rally Spotlights Central District Gentrification, Exclusionary History

by Elizabeth Turnbull, Alex Garland, and Susan Fried


In place of Fourth of July celebrations, organizers of the King County Equity Now Coalition held a “4th of YouLie” rally and teach-in on 23rd Avenue and Union Street July 4 to address gentrification in the Central District (CD) and the exclusive history of the holiday and its celebration. Continue reading Photo Essay: “4th of YouLie” Rally Spotlights Central District Gentrification, Exclusionary History

Africatown Media’s Morning Show Champions the Voices of the Historic Central District

by Thea White


“My Mother is 73, she still has her own radio show, my dad opened the first Black-owned photography studio in the Pacific Northwest … media is not on me, it’s in me.”

—Omari Salisbury

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to speak with Omari Salisbury, manager of Africatown Media, to talk about the Morning Update Show, a pop-up broadcast show that he and his team of volunteers — Trae Holiday (co-host), Darryl Glover (live streaming production), Anthony Austin (production assistant), and Acacia Iyana (producer/researcher) — have been producing.

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PHOTOS: Umoja Fest is the Soul of Seafair and a Celebration of Seattle’s Black Community

by Susan Fried

Thousands of people attended the annual Umoja Fest at Judkins Park Aug. 2–4. This year’s event was better than ever featuring the annual AfricanTown Heritage Parade, a youth football scrimmage, the Heal the Hood Basketball Tournament, more than 100 vendors, live music, delicious food, culture, and fashion.

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Central Area Home Reimagined as Haven for Black Art, Historic Preservation

by Georgia S. McDade
photos by Susan Fried

Do you remember Jordan’s Drug Store? Have you heard of Bluma’s Deli? Accent on Travel? Liberty Bank? Kirk’s Laundry? Black Arts West? Joy Unlimited? Thompson’s Point of View, Black and Tan, Miss Helen’s Diner? Tiki’s Tavern,? Mardi Gras? Red Apple? The list could be longer, but if you recognize these names, you know they are businesses gone from Seattle’s Central District or CD. Though reasons for their disappearances differ, the word “gentrification” enters conversations often. New buildings, several stories high, often in bright colors, dot the neighborhood. By the time this is printed, a few more landmarks may be gone or going. This is today’s CD.

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Clean Greens Brings Sustainable Food Economy to Seattle

by Nicole Pasia

Rev. Dr. Robert Jeffery, Sr. always enjoyed his meals, but never thought much about what he was eating. That changed in the early 2000s, when he was diagnosed with diverticulitis, an intestinal disease that affects food digestion.

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