Sorry it’s a little overdue. Here is a round-up of Fifth Avenue Seattle’s largest scoops, our most read articles and some of my favorite pieces.
I appreciate all the readers who visited our indie news site, the student contributors who worked night and day for no pay — don’t worry, I didn’t make any money either — and the immense support from all the bootstrap bloggers in the area. Please enjoy this trip down Fifth Avenue and the news created in downtown Seattle memory lane.
Biggest scoops (most influential stories):
- Business leaders send scathing letter to Mayor and City Council on downtown violence – First article on Downtown Seattle Association letter delivered to city officials regarding a summer rise in downtown crime — FAS coverage uncited by major media. Mayor Mike McGinn later announced $400,000 for law enforcement, and $1.7 million for law enforcement assisted diversion in the City of Seattle.
- Puget Sound Joint Terrorism Taskforce starts ‘Rewards for Justice’ program in Seattle – First news story in the world to cover the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s efforts with domestic advertisements seeking information on the whereabouts of international terrorists. The article was later cited incorrectly by the Seattle Weekly – covering up SW one million dollar editing mistake at the expense of FAS, nice one — but the story later sparked large media attention and the eventual removal of one particular ad after backlash from community members as well as city and state officials.
- A son, a friend, a bank robber – Only news source to cover apprehension of alleged two-time Seattle bank robber William Carl Robbins with the article containing interviews with the robber’s mother, the FBI, King County Executive’s office, and utilizing personal notes from the robber; published on the day of his arraignment.
- 43 story, 1,500-room mega-hotel will replace Greyhound at 9th and Stewart – Scooped the Puget Sound Business Journal on the development of a large downtown hotel; contributed by jseattle – big ups!
- New downtown restaurant ‘Frolicks’ open Friday – First article to cover downtown Seattle restaurant opening – later covered by the Seattle Met, and Seattle Eater.
Most read articles:
- Move over Willy Wonka, $10,000 golden ticket stashed in downtown Seattle
- Timbuk2 removes the bike locks with their 7th and Pine grand opening
- Cops arrest man in Chinatown with machete who shot flare gun at man
- Korean pop music video shot in downtown Seattle reaches million plus views
- May Day 2013 downtown Seattle open thread
Some of my favorites (in no particular order):
- Pioneer Square Foosballers: Crafting the ‘pull shot’ since 2009
- ‘His goal was to deserve the love of his dogs’: The challenges and benefits of being a downtown dog owner
- Mayoral candidate Q&A on socially responsible development
- Pioneer Square tech meetups include add-on beer and entrepreneurs
- Community work parties at Danny Woo Garden hope to grow
Page Views: 48,609
Articles published: 243
Cost of operation for 6 months: Less than $300
Traffic dates: 3/18 – 09/15 (RIP)
FAS was introduced to the Seattle Safe Streets Task Force after the Federal Bureau of Investigation sought information on a Sodo bank robbery, but to what extent the multi-law enforcement group operated was unclear — outside of catching criminals. The only information regarding the task force, started in 2007, is a handful of news quotes, and a one sentence summary on the FBI webpage:
The Seattle Safe Streets Task Force works to identify, disrupt, and dismantle existing and emerging violent criminal enterprises and gangs in King County, as well as other individuals and groups whose criminal activity negatively impacts the Puget Sound area.
The Sodo bank robber was later apprehended, and charged on at least one of two bank robberies – see the robber’s life story, and the only media coverage of his apprehension here. Yesterday the task force was involved in a large operation that nabbed eight people allegedly associated with cocaine, heroin, and meth trafficking. But the question remains: just what is the Seattle Safe Streets Task Force?
“The task force can investigate any incident that may include a violation of a federal law,” said FBI Seattle Public Affairs rep, Ayn Sandalo Dietrich. The agency partners with several local law enforcement agencies, and covers crime throughout King County, most notable to FAS being bank robberies. Sandalo Dietrich says, “the SSSTF responds to almost every bank robbery in King County.” Though local law enforcement often get first crack at crime, when the task force is called into the picture they have a wide net of department resources for snaring criminals.
“We have more than two dozen task force officers (TFOs) and they are supported by countless other personnel, such as FBI Intelligence Analysts or Victim Specialists that partner with FBI agents on the whole spectrum of violent crime investigations, not just SSSTF investigations,” Sandalo Dietrich tells FAS. The two dozen plus TFO’s consist of law enforcement from the “King County Sheriff’s Office, Seattle Police Department, Bellevue PD, Auburn PD, KCSO-contracted to Sound Transit, Port of Seattle Police, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington State Patrol,” said Sandalo Dietrich. The group headquarters its efforts out of the FBI building on 3rd and Spring. Interestingly, local law enforcement involved in the program have an authority usually reserved for federal agents.
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This article was originally posted on My Belltown August 31 by Justin Rush.
Join us for the September meet-up of the Belltown First Friday Wine Share! The event is September 6th from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM in the Camp A’nile room at Belltown Court Condominiums. See the flyer below for more details. Please feel free to save/print the flyer and hand out to your friends and neighbors!
MyBelltown.com is a community based website for the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, WA. We do not promote advertising or any one certain agenda, but the thoughts and idea’s of you and your neighbors. This is achieved by community participation in blogs, stories, articles, and idea sharing. If you would like to contribute and/or get involved with this project please join us.
The Alley Corridor Project in Pioneer Square begins tomorrow with an informational open house running from 5 – 7 p.m. in Nord Alley. The project that collected neighborhood matching funds from the city is looking to bolster Pioneer Square’s alleys with “historically appropriate “shovel ready” surface design and lighting concepts,” according to the International Sustainability Institute — who organized the first Alleypalooza event. Designers with SvR Design, Olson Kundig Architects, and Leni Schwendinger Light Projects Ltd. will be running the light show, but not without some public involvement.
The designers are looking for feedback on the project and how Pioneer Square residents would like to see the project built. Ultimately, the alley fixers would like to see “a design that is cost effective and approved through SDOT’s Street Improvement Permit (SIP) process and Pioneer Square Preservation Board, will clear hurdles for resurfacing any of the neighborhood alleys, positioning Pioneer Square to use alleys as active public spaces full of historic character,” according to ISI. Next on the docket is a September 24 workshop entitled “Nightseeing Pioneer Square,” but a location is yet to be selected.
A public concept review meeting will occur in November with two stakeholder meetings set for October.
According to a statement by the Alliance for Pioneer Square the project grew out of community necessity. “The need for a new alley surface design came about from the diverse needs of the community. Residents, visitors, local businesses and their employees need a clean and safe pedestrian experience to use Pioneer Square’s alley,” an APS post reads. Might be a good idea to stop by the meeting, and have your comments heard.
Here are some additional notes from ISI:
Since the first Nord Alley party in 2008, alley efforts have sprouted up all over Pioneer Square! ISI mobilizes neighbors, businesses and community groups to transform Pioneer Square’s alleys into one of its great assets. By leveraging funds from government, foundations, and local businesses and bringing together public space experts, community organizers, marketing professionals and students – Pioneer Square is working together to create great public spaces. If you’re eager to activate your alley, we encourage you to meet your neighbors and explore ideas. More about the Alley Network Project here!
Yesler Terrace was described to me as the place to watch for upcoming development, and some of those plans are coming full circle starting tomorrow. Bringing together years of planning Yesler Terrace redevelopment will begin September 5 starting off with a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. The event at 1105 East Fir, where phase one redevelopment will begin for Seattle Housing Authority, includes a new low-income residential housing complex.
“Renovation of the Baldwin Apartments into new low-income housing; refurbishment of the Steam Plant building into new space for community services such as Head Start; and Anthem, a mixed-income residential building led by Spectrum Development Solutions,” round out the other phase one development plans for Yesler Terrace, according to a SHA release. The new low-income housing is filling a necessary void for residents of SHA’s Yesler Terrace abodes.
“On average, residents of SHA’s existing Yesler Terrace housing earn less than 30 percent of the city’s median income, or less than $26,000 per year for a family of four,” according to the release. As well as serving low-income residents SHA plans to implement, “new parks and gardening opportunities, pedestrian-friendly streets and direct access to excellent mass transit options.” Some of those residents may be personally involved in the redevelopment.
SHA announced in January an agreement that stipulates organized labor groups will be involved with Yesler Terrace construction over $500,000. According to a release, SHA aims to “collaborate with labor and contractors to promote the employment of low-income residents, the utilization of women and minority businesses, and employment of women and minority workers on Yesler Terrace construction projects developed by Seattle Housing Authority.” This was finalized with the signing of the Yesler Terrace Workforce Agreement on January 3. Here are the self-described highlights of the agreement:
Highlights of the Community Workforce Agreement
Local low-income residents will be given preference in hiring by contractors working on Seattle Housing Authority Yesler Terrace construction projects.
Local low-income residents who successfully complete approved pre-apprenticeship programs will be given preferred entry into union apprenticeships.
Goals for equal employment for each construction project
21% of work performed by minorities.
20% of work performed by women.
4.5% of work performed by minority women.
15% of all construction work performed by apprentices, to aid them in gaining meaningful experience on the job.
Goals for small business opportunities
14% of work performed by women and minority-owned businesses.
10% of work performed by Section 3 businesses (owned by or predominantly staffed by people with low incomes).
The groundbreaking bringing this all together will kick off with politicians and development partners digging up the first dirt. The list includes: Congressman Adam Smith (D-9), Seattle Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, Seattle City Council President Sally Clark, and “Leaders and partners in the Yesler Terrace redevelopment effort,” the release states. Details on how you can attend the soil turning celebration are as follows:
What: Visual media event – Local leaders with golden shovels and hardhats will turn the first soil for construction at a rough construction site. First groundbreaking ceremony kicking off the redevelopment of the Yesler Terrace neighborhood.
When: Thursday, September 5, 2013
10:00 AM – event will begin promptly
Where: 1105 East Fir Street
Who: Congressman Adam Smith (D-9)
Seattle Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith
Seattle City Council President Sally Clark
Leaders and partners in the Yesler Terrace redevelopment effort
The mayor announced in mid-August that $400,000 will go towards local law enforcement after a slew of crime in downtown Seattle brought on a response from City Hall. Tomorrow a City Council committee will hold a special meeting on the matter.
“I absolutely understand the frustrations of people working and traveling through this area. It is unacceptable for visitors and employees to feel unsafe,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell in a City Council release. The meeting will be convened by Harrell as part of the council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee — that he chairs. Harrell already has some ideas in mind.
“The Committee will put forward a plan with measurable checkpoints in order to stop the problems at specific public places in the Downtown corridor,” Harrell states in the release. Some of the public places discussed will likely include: Westlake Park, and 3rd and Pine — Belltown, and Pioneer Square will likely line the docket as well.
“The Committee will review the Seattle Police Department’s presence downtown and analyze a proactive policing plan to enhance public safety,” according to the release. Other talking points will include, “downtown crime statistics; police staffing reports and future staffing levels; hot spot policing program outcomes; Community Court data and trends; and enforcement of citations,” the release concludes.
The September 4 meeting will start at 2 PM at City Hall — Council Chambers, 2nd floor — and has a long list of civic leaders and politicians confirmed to attend:
Seattle Police Department (Chief James Pugel)
City Attorney’s Office (City Attorney Pete Holmes, Craig Sims)
Mayor’s Office (Ethan Raup and Carl Marquardt)
Seattle Municipal Court (Betty McNeely)
Parks Department (Christopher Williams)
Human Services Department (Catherine Lester and Sola Plumacher)
Department of Planning and Development (Gary Johnson)
King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (Dan Satterberg)
King County Sheriff’s Office (Sheriff John Urquhart)
Downtown Seattle Association (Jon Scholes)
Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area – CIDBIA (Don Blakeney)
Alliance for Pioneer Square (Leslie Smith)
Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce
“This season, undercover Seattle police officers will be milling about in the crowds outside Seahawks home games (starting today), looking for bad behavior on game day,” according to an August 29 police blotter post. The choice to put police undercover was made after complaints of fan-on-fan scuffles last year.
“Toward the end of last football season, police received complaints about fan-on-fan violence and harassment in and out of the stadium, some of which was witnessed first-hand by officers attending games while off-duty,” the post reads. Be sure to check out the entire SPD blotter post on the Clink’s “Code of Fan conduct” before spouting off that 12th Man pride.
From the blotter:
Written by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on August 29, 2013
Take it easy with your trash-talk at Seahawks games this season—that fan in the other team’s jersey might actually be an undercover cop.
Toward the end of last football season, police received complaints about fan-on-fan violence and harassment in and out of the stadium, some of which was witnessed first-hand by officers attending games while off-duty.
This season, undercover Seattle police officers will be milling about in the crowds outside Seahawks home games (starting today), looking for bad behavior on game day.
Our officers are not looking to throw the flag on respectful and competitive banter between rival fanbases. They will, however, be looking for fans outside the stadium who are taking those team rivalries too far, and police will make arrests if necessary.
In keeping with Centurylink Field’s Code of Fan conduct, please refrain from the following things:
Threatening other fans
Intimidating other fans
Harming other fans
If you’re not sure how to strike up a friendly conversation with a visiting team’s fans, here are a few potential topics for a polite chat:
Which Rice is best? Sidney, Ray, pork fried?
Has anything ruined football more than the forward pass?
Whatever happened to that guy who did that thing that one time?
Which team has the dreamiest defensive line?
Whose quarterback leads the league in “grit,” “scrappiness”?
Make each game day fun and safe for everybody, folks.
Incarceration isn’t the only tactic police have combating downtown crime. The Neighborhood Corrections Initiative fuses the Seattle Police Department with the Washington State Department of Corrections in a taskforce that goes out to speak with repeat offenders in downtown Seattle.
According to the DOC, “[The program] is designed to prevent crime in downtown Seattle.” Here is a video released by the DOC that talks with one addict who was saved by the program, and gives insight to the operation:
Man’s arm broken by alleged Belltown bouncer
A couple stepped out for a cigarette at a Belltown Club Saturday August 17, lighting up on the balcony when they were approached by a man claiming to be a bouncer. The male smoker found himself tossed out of the bar, laying on the concrete, and shortly after with a broken arm. The bar name is redacted, but is located on 1st Avenue.
The man alleging to be a bouncer, described as a 6’5 350 pound “Samoan” man, was rudely asking the couple to stop smoking on the balcony, according to the police report. The large man was holding a Corona so the couple did not believe he was working, and were skeptical of his request. The couple told police another calmer, smaller “Samoan” bouncer/man approached the balcony asking them less aggressively to smoke elsewhere. The couple began leaving the balcony, but not fast enough it would seem.
The larger bouncer pushed the male smoker to the ground, landing on his face, and employees began carrying him outside of the bar. The man doesn’t remember what happened in the interim, but he came to on the concrete outside.
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- The full interview with the FBI is below the post. FAS was introduced to the Seattle Safe Streets... more»This article was originally posted on My Belltown August 31 by Justin Rush. Join us for the... more»The Alley Corridor Project in Pioneer Square begins tomorrow with an informational open house... more»Yesler Terrace was described to me as the place to watch for upcoming development, and some of... more»