Capitol Hill church fundraising to repair historic windows damaged during protests

Central Lutheran Church sits at the corner of 11th and E Olive and holds its place in the middle of the communities around Cal Anderson Park including hosting religious services and providing space to feed the hungry in partnership with the Capitol Hill Community Lunch nonprofit.

The old church has also found itself in the middle of the protests that have continued in the area around the park and the East Precinct and, like many buildings near Cal Anderson, has suffered property damage during the unrest.

Some blows have hurt more than others. In August and again in September, Central Lutheran’s historic stained-glass windows were damaged. It is now hoping to raise $60,000 to repair the broken glass.

“Please help us restore our windows to their former appearance so that we can continue our service to the Capitol Hill community and greater Seattle for another 117 years,” the church’s Central Council writes.

You can learn more and give here.

‘It’s urgent’ — Mayor says launching initiatives to open Cal Anderson, remove East Precinct wall amid encampments and ongoing protests — UPDATE

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Mayor Jenny Durkan tells CHS that her office will “in coming weeks” launch two initiatives planned with local businesses and community representatives to “restore” Cal Anderson Park and take down the barricades around the East Precinct.

“It’s urgent,” the mayor said Tuesday. “It is our densest neighborhood with a very high ratio of people who are renters. There’s very little open space.” The mayor said business and property is also at the front of the discussion after months of demonstrations and ongoing police and protester clashes around the precinct, the park, and the Capitol Hill core.

Beyond reopening a park and clearing the sidewalk at 12th and Pine, the initiatives would be most important for their implications for the neighborhood’s 亚洲真人娱乐homelessness crisis and the ongoing, nightly protest and unrest. Continue reading

Four arrests after broken glass and graffiti as black bloc marchers mark ‘May 30th’ protest

Dozens of “direct action” protesters marched across Capitol Hill Monday night marking six months since the May 30th clash between demonstrators and police that brought fire, tear gas, and gunfire to Seattle’s core and sparked continuing unrest following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Police reported four people were arrested Monday night out of the group of around 100 for “property damage” and “obstructing a law enforcement officer.”

The “black bloc” marchers spray painted buildings, damaged banks, and reportedly used a baton to smash windows at a business. Images posted by SPD showed a damaged and tagged ATM, and shattered glass at the Broadway Starbucks. Later in the night following the arrests, police reported more attempts to break glass using bricks and an illegal fire at 11th and Denny. Continue reading

Three arrests as protest marches on Capitol Hill for ‘essential workers’

Protests in the street on E Olive Way (Image: SDOT)

A Black Lives Matter march for essential workers part of “Black Friday” protests across Seattle ended with arrests Friday night at Denny and E Olive Way on Capitol Hill.

A group marching through the neighborhood was reported blocking traffic and had been given dispersal orders, Seattle Police said. Continue reading

Is the Capitol Hill protest season over?

With reporting by Renee Raketty

The marches, rallies, and actions have once again shifted and there have been more nights than not lately with quiet streets around Capitol Hill’s walled-off East Precinct. Some might think Seattle protest season has ended just as the drizzle season has arrived.

“The protest community is feeling the strain of almost 180 days of continuous action. Increasing COVID numbers, a change in Seattle police tactics, factionalization, and the logical progression of a protest into political activity have reduced daily turnout,” David Obelcz, a frequent protest live streamer and publisher of Malcontentment.com said. “It is worth noting the 150-day march and the November 4 march had more than 1,000 people. Anyone who is pouring one out for Black Lives Matter in Seattle is doing so prematurely.”

But the night of the 150-day march did seem to mark a turning point. In the weeks since, demonstrations have been spread out across the city including the International District, Northgate, and West Seattle, plus a tangle with some Proud Boys in Mill Creek, along with a couple nights of protest activity starting as it has for months in Cal Anderson. But groups on the Hill have been smaller and reports of vandalism at the East Precinct and business property damage have quieted since October. Even the E Olive Way Starbucks has reopened though the neighborhood’s parking meters remain busted.

For larger rallies and marches, the changes seem to be a focus on a wider area of the city and a push toward quality over quantity. There are fewer events but a more robust deployment of resources including the safety of the “Car Brigade” and sometimes a split of marchers into two or more groups to stretch Seattle Police resources and limit law enforcement interference.

SPD also has new tactics and new equipment — though its deployment in the East Precinct has also become a relative rarity.

The causes of the Black Lives Matter groups and the anti-police “direct action” activists don’t cleave to a legislative schedule but another season has also passed. Continue reading

Redfin says 30% want to live ‘somewhere else’ because of protests

In a new study, Seattle-based real estate service Redfin really gets to the heart of the matter of the summer’s Capitol Hill occupied protest zone — condo prices:

“Seattle’s condo market has really struggled in general during the pandemic, but the units that are closest to the CHOP have typically been selling even more slowly than other condos in Capitol Hill,” said local Redfin real estate agent Forrest Moody.

“I had one listing that was a block away from the CHOP and across the street from a Ferrari dealership that had its windows smashed,” Moody goes on to say. “The condo actually sold within five days, but that’s likely because we listed it for $25,000 less than we had planned to back in February.” Continue reading

Who ordered the abandonment of the East Precinct? — UPDATE

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

KING 5 is reporting new details of text messages and emails from city officials this summer as the CHOP occupied protest took shape on Capitol Hill including bizarre exchanges like this reported between Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and hip hop artist Raz Simone who had been part of the chaotic, exciting, and growing demonstrations and was asked to try to do something to help protect the abandoned East Precinct:

“Raz, I just got word that 4 people just broke the door at SPD and entered the building,” said a Scoggins text to Simone.

“A way to keep SPD out of the space is secure that building during the protest. Can you guys work with us on that?” Scoggins asked.

But despite former Chief Carmen Best’s new job with NBC, KING did not add much to the question at the center of how CHOP formed and grew on Capitol Hill in the first place — who ordered the abandonment of the East Precinct?

On Friday, May 29th, protests begin in Seattle after the police killing of George Floyd as thousands marched and demonstrated. Windows were smashed at Capitol Hill’s Amazon grocery and Ferrari dealership and seven arrests were reported. As the protests grew through the city, on Wednesday, June 3rd a “Defund Seattle Police” rally began in Cal Anderson after a battle of tear gas and blast balls as police moved on demonstrators and National Guard troops joined the lines with police outside the East Precinct. The next day, the city began bowing to protest demands, lifting its curfew as demonstrations continued. Cal Anderson continued to grow as a center of the ongoing protests and a battle line of sorts emerges at 11th and Pine. Clashes continued and on Saturday, June 6th Seattle City Council members joined the protest. Sunday, after the mayor’s speech on deescalation of the ongoing protest clashes between demonstrators and police, SPD responds with its strongest show of force yet in the “standoff” at 11th and Pine. That Sunday night, a man drives into the crowd at 11th and Pine and shoots a demonstrator. Nikolas Fernandez, the brother of an East Precinct cop, will be arrested and charged with one count of first degree assault. On Monday, June 8th, moving trucks arrived at the East Precinct as city officials said there were credible threats of arson targeting the building identified by the FBI. On Tuesday, June 9th, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone forms around an emptied East Precinct

The KING 5 report provides some color behind the chaos of the situation: Continue reading

A frequent target during Capitol Hill protests, E Olive Way Starbucks reopening

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Downtown and Capitol Hill locations of the Starbucks chain are reopening after weeks of closures amid bouts of regular property damage from protest groups targeting the Seattle-based coffee giant.

A call to the E Olive Way location confirmed that the store is open again on a limited schedule after what the manager said was a five-week closure. For now, it is open only on weekdays but weekend hours are planned to be restored after November 30th. For now, the shop is also takeout and delivery only.

Most questions about the closures needed to be answered by Starbucks media relations, the manager told CHS. The company has not replied to multiple inquiries from CHS in recent weeks.

The company has said it is also making changes to its locations to add better spaces for mobile ordering and pickup “due to a retail environment that has shifted because of COVID-19 and to meet the already evolving customer needs of convenience.” The E Olive shop was closed for weeks late this summer for an overhaul following that announcement.

Continue reading

More legal fallout for Seattle’s handling of months of unrest: 50 protesters suing for personal injury, wrongful death, and civil rights violations

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Protesters and family members of Summer Taylor filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle and the state for personal injury, wrongful death, and civil rights violations during Black Lives Matter protests. The lawsuit was filed in September. 50 plaintiffs, including journalists, protesters, and family members of the Capitol Hill activist hit and killed by a speeding driver on I-5 are represented by Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore and Cedar Law PLLC. A new claim was filed Thursday on behalf of one of Cedar’s clients who they say was injured by police while protesting in the East Precinct Wednesday night. While being arrested out of a group of protesters on suspicion of a property crime, Kel Murphy-DuFord was slammed to the ground by officers. His attorneys say witnesses heard the crack on impact and saw his head hit the pavement hard. Murphy-DuFord is currently receiving care at Harborview where he is now listed in satisfactory condition according to a hospital spokesperson.

Police say Murphy-DuFord may have suffered a medical episode “related to a substance the subject had ingested prior to police contact” but offered no further details, an account his lawyers say is “designed to turn public attention away from police misconduct and towards a victim who currently is unable to speak or stand up for himself.”

The lawsuit is part of a wave of legal fallout from the City of Seattle’s response to months of Black Lives Matter protests. The largest could be a lawsuit brought by a collection of Capitol Hill real estate developers, property owners, and small businesses suing the city over the CHOP protest zone. In October, CHS reported on a key decision by a federal judge in the case allowing the suit to move forward. The SKKM and Cedar cases could also be costly for the city. Continue reading

Police say new speaker system used at Seattle protests is an LRAD Long Range Acoustic Device

The new LRAD speaker system can be seen in this image from Wednesday night’s protest response (Image: Renee Raketty/CHS)

Seattle Police has clarified that new public address hardware used this week during its response to protests on Capitol Hill is a system developed as a sound energy weapon but the department says its new Long Range Acoustic Device has been modified so it can not  broadcast “high-frequency warning tones.”

“The department recently purchased, commercially, an enhanced public announcement system to address crowd communication issues identified over the summer months,” a statement sent to CHS about the new speaker system reads. “The purchase of such a system was a recommendation of both the Office of Police Accountability and the Office of the Inspector General following complaints from protest groups that instructions provided by Seattle PD during previous demonstrations could not be heard due to the quality of previous public announcement systems the department had used.” Continue reading