Tag Archives: Rainier Beach

Rainier Beach Iftar Meal Focuses on Ramadan and Stewardship

by Ronnie Estoque

The Emerald is the only place that truly covers my neighborhood’s news stories and makes my news puzzle (and me) whole. I used to feel exasperated at the invisible South End news pieces, but the Emerald makes my picture complete. Join me in supporting the Emerald as a recurring donor during their 8th anniversary campaign, Ripples & Sparks at Home, April 20–28. Become a Rainmaker today by choosing the “recurring donor” option on the donation page!

—Susan Davis, Rainmaker 

Last Saturday evening, community members gathered at the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands for Iftar, a meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan. The event was organized through a partnership between Wasat, Masakan, and Tilth Alliance

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What Led to an Impending Hutchinson Park Overhaul: An Advocacy Story

by Ari Robin McKenna


Following an early afternoon shooting in October 2020, where almost 70 shots were fired and five people were hit with bullets on the dead-end street between Hutchinson Park and Emerson Elementary School, neighbors were on edge.

For some, it set the tone for the nervy pandemic months that followed, the violence echoing across Hutchinson Park and its playground. Community members in this slice of Rainier Beach pined for a playground and park that reflected their hopes for public, communal space to ease the isolation of the pandemic. The Hutchinson Playground is also the playground for Emerson Elementary School students and neighborhood children, a place for play and learning.

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OPINION: Rainier Beach — A Beautiful, Safe Place to Live?

by Reagan Jackson


This fall marked my 10th anniversary of owning a house in Rainier Beach, making this the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. This year, instead of hosting a celebratory gathering or painting another wall, I stood sobbing in my living room, trapped in a nightmare while my neighbor boarded up my window and hung a sheet of canvas to keep the glass from further falling into the house.

When I arrived home on the evening of Oct. 26, 2021, I knew something was wrong.

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Neighbors and Veterans Team Up for Mapes Creek Walkway Cleanup

by Patheresa Wells


Under the first clear skies the area had received in days, this past Saturday, Nov. 20, community members teamed up with volunteers from The Mission Continues, a veterans organization that promotes community service, to spruce up the Mapes Creek Walkway in Rainier Beach. 

The walkway is not only an essential pedestrian path for the neighborhood but environmentally, Mapes Creek plays a critical part as a Chinook salmon-rearing habitat with the creek flowing into Lake Washington. But the walkway has transformed over the years: Once used as a dumping ground, community members like those present Saturday are now working to address the need for a safe, accessible, and artistic pathway reflective of the neighborhood. 

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Light Rail in the Rainier Valley, 10 Years Later

by Lizz Giordano


For more than a decade, light rail trains have whizzed through the Rainier Valley, but the development along the corridor that many expected would follow has lagged behind. 

The 2008 recession combined with a negative perception of the South End by developers are both blamed for some of that lethargic growth around the South End stations. Though the pace of development has picked up in recent years, swaths of land still lie vacant near many stations. Meanwhile, frustrations over Sound Transit’s decision to build the line along Martin Luther King Jr. Way South at street level linger because of increased safety concerns.

“The big story with light rail is that some parts of the corridor saw the kind of development that was anticipated and some didn’t, notably Rainier Beach,” said Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales. “The things that were anticipated were delayed substantially, but they are coming.”

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New Mural Brightens Pho Van Restaurant Building in Rainier Beach

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Earlier this month, volunteers and community members painted on saturated oranges, blues, and pinks to warm the abandoned Pho Van Restaurant building on Rainier Avenue South and to bring some light to the Rainier Beach area through art.

The idea for the mural was spearheaded by the Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth initiative (RB:ABSPY) which partners with the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, the Seattle Police Department, the Rainier Beach Action Coalition, and others to reduce neighborhood violence in Rainier Beach.

Instead of fighting crime with arrests, the initiative identifies certain physical spaces, such as the Pho Van Restaurant building, where crime happens and then works to change the physical environment, increase supervision, or change policies, rules, and/or other approaches.

“Our objective was to transform [the Pho Van building] space into a positive space to uplift and beautify our community,” Cathie Wilmore, the project manager of RB:ABSPY, said in a statement. “Community murals have the opportunity to tell a community’s story, create a unique experience, engage the community, and increase appreciation for the arts and artists.”

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‘Back 2 School Bash’ Pivots to Walk-Through to Provide School Supplies

by M. Anthony Davis


The annual Rainier Beach “Back 2 School Bash” is back this Saturday, Aug. 28, in the Rainier Beach Plaza. This annual event, which started in 2003, has become a staple in the community. This year, even with a few COVID-19 restrictions, the Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC), led by RBAC organizer Danielle Jackson, will present an event full of entertainment, school resources, and the backpack giveaway that has supported students for the last 17 years.

“Because of COVID, we decided we were going to do a drive-through this year,” Jackson tells me. “But because of the bus stops and the layout of the street, we weren’t able to because that would cause traffic to be backed up. So instead, we decided to do a walk-through.”

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Student Activists Reflect on Long Overdue Rainier Beach High School Rebuild

by Ari Robin McKenna


For decades, the Rainier Beach community watched as other better-resourced high schools got major building renovations, waiting for their turn. Yet as various Seattle Public Schools’ (SPS) building levies passed them by, many members of the student population at Rainier Beach High School (RBHS) — which is currently 97% students of color — began to speak out.

From within a building built in 1961, students have been mounting pressure on the district for more than a decade. Finally, in 2019, the school board approved a replacement building as part of the Building Excellence (BEX) V Capital Levy. With RBHS set for a rebuild beginning next summer, the Emerald spoke to four students who were active in different waves of the push to make that happen.

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Rainier Beach Chess Park Pop-Up Brings a Vision of a Future Permanent Home for Chess

by Susan Fried


It didn’t take long for chess lovers to fill the tables at the future site of Detective Cookie Chess Park in the Rainier Beach neighborhood on Saturday, Aug. 21. Members of Detective Cookie’s Chess Club, volunteers, and even the president of the Washington State Chess Association (WSCA) showed up for the second of three Chess Park Pop-Up events to be held this summer. 

Seattle Police Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin started the chess club in 2006 for Rainier Beach youth. Today, the club serves community members of all ages. The outdoor park, at the corner of Barton Place South and Rainier Avenue South, will eventually be home to built-in chess tables and a giant in-ground chess board. Community leaders and volunteers who formed the Friends of Detective Cookie Chess Park group began fundraising in 2015 and are on track to have the park fully funded by the end of 2021. 

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Rainier Arts Center Hosts Weekly Porch Festival Showcasing BIPOC Artists

by Chamidae Ford


This Wednesday, Aug. 11, the Rainier Arts Center will be hosting its second installation of the August Porch Festival. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. you can find local BIPOC artists taking the stage to perform music for their community. Each week offers a wide range of styles and genres of music and performances. 

The Center was opened in 1997 and has served as a gathering space to support the arts for the Rainier community since. Throughout the summer, the Center hosts a wide array of events and activities located in Columbia Park. As a part of that, the Porch Festival aims to provide local artists the space to demonstrate their talents while keeping everyone safe and socially distanced. 

“We primarily wanted to showcase South End artists that were BIPOC,” said Ben Leiataua, manager of the Rainier Arts Center.

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