Jul 27, 2008

Seattle Pigeons


After some decidedly unscientific research I'd like to offer the following: Seattle pigeons are not as street-smart as New York City pigeons.

I come to this conclusion after passing by at least 3 road-kill pigeons in Capitol Hill in the last month. I don't remember ever seeing more than one or two smushed pigeon in the years I lived in New York.

This is one man's anecdotal evidence. But I'm sticking with it.

Jun 24, 2008

Zaw vs. Pizza Fusion

Not sure if this is old news, new news or no news, but looks like a place called Zaw is coming to the storefront at 15th & Pine. Zaw makes fresh/organic/healthy/non-NYC pizza. Which is strange because Matt recently announced Pizza Fusion, purveyor of fresh/organic/healthy/non-NYC pizza, will soon arrive just down the street at 12th & Pike.

Me? I'm sticking with Piecora's -- as close to late-night, served-through-a-window, East Village NYC style as you'll find around here.

Jun 8, 2008

Small business = good

logo Last weekend I was driving through SoDo and passed a little warehouse space with a Stella sign out front. I had heard their coffee was great from someone at work so I stopped in to see what I'd find.

I found Rob Wilson, the founder of the coffee company. The space had a lot of equipment from a photo shoot lying around a small coffee bar in the front of the room. Rob welcomed me in and though it didn't look like a working "coffee shop," I asked if they sold drinks. Rob laughed and fixed me up with a latte, free of charge.

I told him I'd love buy beans as 'thanks' but my espresso maker was busted. It's a cheapo machine that hasn't worked in about two years. So Rob asked a bit about the machine, ground up a bag of beans, and told me to try them out. If it still didn't work with those beans, he said, "bring in the machine and I'll fix it." Wow.

After thanking him profusely I walked out the door -- certain it was a mechanical problem and not beans. But he's the pro so I agreed to try them and report back. And what do you know...

2008-06-08 002

This morning I pulled the first great espresso, with crema, out of my maker since moving to Seattle.

Rob was only too happy to send a random guy on his way with a drink, beans, and an offer to fix his junked machine. I'm not a cafe owner and may not even have a working machine to use his beans with! Stella is defining customer service and reminding me why small business is good.

Next time I need beans I'll be heading off the Hill to Stella on 4th Ave S -- check it out and say 'hey' to Rob if you're in the area.

Jun 7, 2008

An Open Letter to the CHCC Officers

Dear Justin, Charlette, Hong and Saunatina:

Our community gathered in a well-attended forum to elect you as the voice and face of the Capitol Hill Community Council -- that includes all of us who live and work on Capitol Hill.

I was lucky to participate in just about every meeting of the new Council and sit on its steering committee. A fascinating, and at times frustrating, process. One with a great result. I applaud you guys and thank each of you for the time and energy you'll contribute.

I want to mention one thing that stuck with me following the election. During candidate speeches someone mentioned "twisting the arm" of the editor of a local paper (Doug Schwartz of the Capitol Hill Times, no?) A former officer of the CHCC pointed out that the editor happened to be sitting in the audience, 10 feet away from the candidate who proposed the arm twisting. Everyone chuckled.

It was clear this former officer knew the editor. On election day I don't expect the same of our new officers, but I encourage you to do the same in the coming months. Sit down with your local news reporters and ask them what stories they see emerging in the community. Have coffee with local business owners. Attend meetings of other Capitol Hill community groups. I'm glad to hear you'll regularly attend the farmer's market -- find more of these venues.

Please make it a priority to get out in the community -- the council itself. The first year will entail lots of formalities, structures and frameworks. Bylaws, board, government filings, oh my! But structure yourself in and around the people you represent. For instance, if you want to speculate on conflicts of interest, take time to get to know the person who you believe represents the conflict over and above vague understandings of "IRS codes."

This council is about people. Relate to them, represent them, rally them!

Thanks again for representing us.


May 12, 2008

Modular houses coming to the hill?


I got this invitation through a Capitol Hill mailing list:

Invitation for the Capitol Hill Neighborhood
Come visit Inhabit prefab modular housing units
May 14th, 4-6PM

Hello All:

This is a special invitation to see a new architectural  concept for multi-family buildings that might be used on Capitol Hill in the fairly near future, and to give feedback while it is still in the conceptual phase.

I am working with Unico Properties to introduce neighborhoods to the concept of  assembling multi-family residential buildings out of factory-built, prefab modules.  It promises to be less disruptive, to provide higher quality at a lower cost, and to to take far less time to complete - all advantages  to neighborhoods.

To  showcase the concept, Unico had two units made and installed them on top of the Rainier Center, one on top of the other.  These are fully furnished living units, designed by Mithun and Hybrid-Seattle architecture firms.

I am inviting you to come downtown next week, Wednesday May 14, 4 PM TO 6 PM to tour the assembled modules and be introduced to the concept.  The attached invitation has interior and exterior photos as well as additional background information.

Unico plans to utilize this concept in multiple neighborhoods.  Although the company has not yet obtained a site in Capitol Hill, it may happen in the future, and their goal is to work with the neighborhood in advance, to build understanding and relationships and to find out what individuals might care about in particular. ( The first actual project is in design review right now and will be built at 1701 Dexter Avenue, near the Dexter Hayes Pub.

Full invite [PDF]