Tag Archives: Columbia City

The 27th Year of Beatwalk Brings Free Live Music Back to Columbia City

by Mark Van Streefkerk


After over a year of empty stages, live music has officially returned, and Columbia City Beatwalk is one grassroots organizing team that’s making it happen. Now in it’s 27th year, Beatwalk is bringing folks together from all walks of life for free outdoor music and entertainment right in the heart of Columbia City. 

Their next Block Party event on Saturday, July 31, is something you don’t want to miss. Partnering for the first time with B.U.I.L.D. 206 — an organization with the vision that Black men are empowered leaders and mentors making positive changes in the lives of Black men and youth — the Block Party will feature games, contests, prizes, and a star-studded lineup of DJs, ending with neo soul and hip hop conscious group Black Stax. The family-friendly event will also include mostly Black and POC vendors with a focus on locally-made wares like oils, jewelry, candles, clothing, and more. The party takes place at “The Patio” on Rainier Avenue South and South Ferdinand Street between Geraldine’s Counter and Lottie’s Lounge. 

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Couple Killed in Light-Rail Accident Remembered as Kind Community Members

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Emoke Rock, 76, and Steven “Skip” Wayne, 66, both involved community members, died July 2 after being struck by a Sound Transit light-rail train near the Columbia City Station.

The couple were crossing the street at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr Way South and South Alaska Street in the Columbia City neighborhood in South Seattle at roughly 6 p.m. They were hit by the train while walking during a “Don’t Walk” signal, according to a Seattle Police Department (SPD) statement. Detectives from the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad are investigating the incident. 

Both Rock and Wayne were recently retired real estate agents — Rock at the Edmonds Windermere office and Wayne at the Seattle-Mount Baker Windermere location. They were known for being community-minded, cheerful, and for their love for each other by many who knew them.

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The Pandemic Turned a Neighborhood Cafe Into Columbia City’s Only Record Store

by Mark Van Streefkerk


Like many other cafes, Columbia City’s Empire Roasters and Records had to make some changes in order to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. While some coffee shops expanded their offerings to include grocery items or wines during lockdown, Empire went a different direction. Owner Ian Peters repurposed the cafe’s upstairs seating area into a record shop, which opened last November. Adding a record store to a cafe might have been an unconventional choice, but based on the positive community response, Columbia City’s only record store is here to stay. 

“We would have never come up with this idea had it not been for the pandemic,” Peters said. 

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Live Music Returns to South End Venues

by Mark Van Streefkerk


Last spring, restaurants and bars braced themselves against a flurry of rapidly escalating news about the COVID-19 virus that led to a statewide lockdown mid-March. In the midst of so many unknowns, one unfortunate fact was certain: Live music venues were among the first to close. In the months since, it became clear that if they survived, the same venues would be the last to reopen. Now that the state has lifted pandemic restrictions, live music, performance, comedy shows, and even dance parties are returning to South End venues. Here’s what the return of live entertainment will look like for Rumba Notes Lounge, Clock-Out Lounge, and The Royal Room. 

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NEWS GLEAMS: South King County Vaccine Pop-Ups, Composting Classes, & More!

curated by Emerald Staff

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


South King County COVID-19 Vaccine Pop-Up Schedule

If you haven’t yet been vaccinated for COVID-19, you can receive it free by contacting your doctor, or by visiting one of several south King County pop-up clinics run by Public Health – Seattle & King County:

Friday, July 9, 1:00–5:30 p.m.
Lutheran Community Services NW – Refugee, 12608 SE 240th St., Kent, (in partnership with Lutheran Community Services and Masjid Al-Quba)
Vaccine Offered: Pfizer

Monday, July 12, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Multi-Service Center, 1200 S 336th St., Federal Way, (in partnership with Multi-Service Center / Medical Teams International)
Vaccine Offered: Moderna

Wednesday, July 14, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Multi-Service Center, UW Valley Medical Center, 515 W Harrison St. Kent.
Vaccine offered: Pfizer

For more information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine in King County visit, https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/vaccine/schedule.aspx or call 206-477-3977.

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PHOTO ESSAY: First Weekend of ‘Reopening’ in South Seattle

by Susan Fried


The Fourth of July weekend was also the first official weekend that King County dropped all COVID-19 restrictions, and many people in South Seattle were excited to finally go to their favorite places, sit down across from friends and family, and take their masks off (as long as they’d been vaccinated). 

Individual businesses could ask customers to wear masks, but many allowed those who had been vaccinated to go mask free, trusting them to be honest about whether they’d been vaccinated or not. Some businesses chose to ask patrons to continue wearing masks while others opted to not fully open.

For many South End residents, things almost felt like they were back to a pre-pandemic normal.  

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Summer Blockbusters Return to an Air Conditioned Ark Lodge Cinemas

by Mark Van Streefkerk 


These days, The Ark Lodge Cinemas is in a  much different place than it was last year, and the return of summer blockbusters is part of the upswing. Columbia City’s only movie theater weathered the pandemic through generous contributions from community members, a bold new plan for the future conceived by Managing Director Justin Pritchett, and the sheer grit of owner David McRae. During last year’s pandemic-induced closure, McRae launched an ambitious GoFundMe campaign and promoted T-shirt and gift card sales, all with the aim of keeping past-due bills at bay and fighting for the future of the Ark. 

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El Sombrero Closes After 17 Years, Leaving With ‘Love Full in Our Hearts’

by Mark Van Streefkerk 


For the last 17 years, Maria and Andres Rodriguez, along with Andres’ brother Daniel, made everyone who frequented El Sombrero feel like family. A favorite destination for many Columbia City residents, El Sombrero was an authentic family Mexican restaurant, with dishes like carne asada, enchiladas, and Borrego and an atmosphere where the whole family could gather for a midweek meal or celebrate birthdays or special events. When the Rodriguez family announced April 25 would be El Sombrero’s last day, devoted customers came out in droves, ordering takeout or dining in at reduced capacity, for one last show of appreciation.  

“It was definitely hard. There were a lot of customers that cried,” said Raquel Rodriguez, daughter of Maria and Andres, who worked at the restaurant for 16 years. “We weren’t expecting the amount of customers … and to know that so many loved us and came over to say one last goodbye and have one last meal at El Sombrero — It was great for my parents. I think they just felt really appreciated and felt so loved by the community.”  

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PHOTO ESSAY: Columbia City Farmers Market Opens for the 2021 Season

by Susan Fried


The weather was perfect, sunny and around 70 degrees, on May 12, opening day of the Columbia City Farmers Market. Although the crowds were probably a little smaller than they were pre-pandemic, a lot of people showed up to support the dozens of small farmers and local businesses selling everything from fresh produce and baked goods, to ice cream and wine.  

Despite some COVID-19 restrictions, people were happy to see the market back in business. Last year, during the height of the pandemic, the Columbia City Market opened a month later than usual and limited the number of shoppers. But as the pandemic restrictions have been lifted this year, more people are able to shop at a time.  

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Laugh Rehab Returns Live Comedy to Seattle’s South End

by M. Anthony Davis


About two years ago, Julius Caesar founded “Laugh Rehab,” a monthly live comedy series in Seattle that featured both local and national comedians. After a long one year hiatus due to COVID, Caesar is proud to announce that Laugh Rehab is back and better than ever. 

Laugh Rehab is all in the name, Caesar says explaining the show — “It’s rehab. It gives you an opportunity for an hour and a half to unplug from everything in your life and just chill, have a great laugh, meet some of your neighbors, and catch with friends you haven’t seen in a long time.”

Caesar envisions this monthly comedy series as more than just a show. Located at the Rainier Arts Center in Columbia City, it is a community event geared to revitalizing the neighborhood and safely bringing people back together after a year of isolation. 

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