Tag Archives: Central District

Cortona Cafe Will Close at the End of November, to Be Replaced by Melo Cafe

by Jack Russillo


When Isolynn “Ice” Dean, the owner of the Central District’s Cortona Cafe, made the decision to close her coffee shop, she wanted the space to continue to be a hub for the community even after she locks the doors for the final time on November 29.

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OPINION: Segregated Seattle — How Our Racist and Exclusionary Past Has Shaped Our Present

by Alycia Ramirez


Looking back through the last five months of current events and daily protests in Seattle, one might think that the wheels have finally come off. However, the truth is that Seattle has a long and deep history of racism, white supremacy, police brutality, and protesting that goes back to the city’s founding. 

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Chukundi Salisbury Wants to Bring a ‘Wealth of Real-World Knowledge and Lived Experience’ to Olympia

 by Emerald Staff 


Organizer, promoter, entrepreneur, computer scientist, father, and community gardener — Chukundi Salisbury has amassed several titles since moving to Seattle as a 5-year-old boy in 1975. He’s looking to add at least one more come November: state representative for Washington’s 37th Legislative District. 

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Ownership of Three Central District Properties Is Being Transferred From the City of Seattle to Community Organizations

by Jack Russillo


The City of Seattle is finally making some real investments in its communities of color. Last week, the City published plans to transfer ownership of three properties in Seattle’s Central District to Black-led community organizations.

On Monday, the Seattle City Council voted to officially transfer ownership of Seattle’s old Fire Station 23 to Byrd Barr Place, an organization that has offered financial, food, and housing assistance in the area since 1964. Byrd Barr Place has been operating out of the building, located on the 700 block of 18th Avenue East, since it started leasing the property in 1967.

The former Fire Station 6, on the corner of 23rd Avenue South and East Yesler Way, is also being transferred to the Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT) in the form of a 99-year lease before permanent ownership is made official, a press release from the Mayor’s office announced last week. Since 2012, ACLT has been working to acquire the property to “acquire, develop, and steward land in Greater Seattle to empower and preserve the Black Diaspora community.”

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Women of the Diaspora Helps Bring Much-Needed School Supplies to South End Students

by M. Anthony Davis


Women of the Diaspora (WOD) is a new collective working to empower individual and grassroots support of Black and Brown communities. The five women responsible for the formation of this collaborative came together during this summer’s protests in Seattle sparked by the death of George Floyd. 

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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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