Finally some good news on the Bertha front: Last week's excavation of the tunnel drilling machine's repair pit came to an abrupt halt after shells were discovered in the soil. Archaeologists were called in (one week later, natch) to examine the shells, which were thought to have been from indigenous peoples. Turns out, they're not. Crosscut has all the details.
Last year, I wrote about UberKittens, the one-day on-demand service that brought a bundle of bouncy, darling (and very adoptable!) kittens straight to your office via your Uber app. It was also a grand excuse to show gratuitous photos of my cats, which you'll now see again below:
Want to step inside a cool startup's office? The Puget Sound Businesss Journal takes a tour of Eastlake-based home improvement website Porch.com's fun digs. I've been there and all I can say is they have tons and tons of free cereal. Jealous.
First it protested, now the Mount Calvary Christian Center in the Central District is taking matters a bit more seriously in regards to its proximity to Uncle Ike's pot shop at 23rd Avenue and Union Street.
Despite all the rain and wind the past few days, we experienced a gorgeous sunrise this morning. Case in point:
Updated: A shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School, just north of Seattle, occured this morning at around 10:40 a.m. It is confirmed that two people are dead, including the shooter. For all the latest updates and live coverage go to King 5 news here.
If you’ve been following the career of David Bazan (center of main photo above) you know he moved from lead singer and songwriter for indie-darling band Pedro the Lion to existential crisis to creating acclaimed solo work. For his newest album, David Bazan + Passenger String Quartet, he bonded with Seattle’s most sought-after experimental neoclassical backing band, led by Andrew Joslyn. Bazan’s beautiful voice recalls Elvis Costello, and is a perfect, scratchy complement to the beautiful strings aching underneath.
Must SeeLocal B-Boys Showcase the Art of Breakdancing(10/23 to 10/26, times vary) Recently, Seattle-based choreographer Amy O’Neal has explored feminism by way of her own kickass hip-hop dance performances. In Opposing Forces, she steps behind the scenes, setting a new dance piece on five local B-Boys from different breakdancing crews, and in the process, questions stereotypes and assumptions in this urban subculture.
Bravo TV's 12th season of Top Chef premiered last Wednesday. This year, a new crop of culinary masters takes their knives to Boston and boy, is the competition stiff. Two chefs have already packed up those knives and left the show–last night their departure was because of a slightly undercooked veal chop.
Richard has lived in Seattle for 32 years. In 2001, he moved into a small, one-bedroom apartment on Capitol Hill, where rent was $650 a month. In 2013, new building owners made some general improvements and then began raising rents. His bill jumped to $1,000. Then $1,200. Over the course of the next 18 months, his rent increased every few months—which caused many of his fellow tenants to leave, until he was one of only four of the original 30 remaining. “Last month, I wrote a check for over $1,600.
Curbed Ski released a big list of the best ski country dive bars, with a few in Washington State. Among the nearby favrorites? Mount Si Pub in North Bend, Wash., and The Snorting Elk Cellar in Enumclaw, Wash.
I live in West Seattle. I take the RapidRide C Line into downtown every day. The distance from my bus stop on Findlay Street SW to the Seattle magazine offices is 6.4 miles. Yesterday morning, it took me one hour to go 6.4 miles.
Peggy Piacenza has been dancing for more than 25 years, collaborating with prominent avant-garde choreographers such as Dayna Hanson, Pat Graney and Deborah Hay. Touch Me Here is her first full-length solo piece, a “movement memoir” informed in part by Lotan Baba (the “rolling saint” of India) and the Fellini film Nights of Cabiria. Using a one-two punch of humor and pathos, Piacenza blends dance, film and theater with original music performed live by cellist Scott Bell. 11/20–11/22. 8 p.m. $15–$20.
Tucked away on a sliver of Third Avenue near Jackson Street in Pioneer Square is the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, where exhibits offer a quick course in how law enforcement has worked in Seattle since the first marshal was hired in the 1860s. You’ll see badges, uniforms, guns, nightsticks and the mustachioed faces of the men in Stetsons or blue helmets who kept order back in the day. You’ll see the antique shackles, rubber hoses and black jacks (batons) that were common tools of the police trade in the days before drones, armored vehicles and SWAT teams.
It's been a year of superlatives–highest minimum wage! First Super Bowl championship! Biggest transportation boondoggle!–and behind each high point (and low ebb) are people turning the wheels of power or agitating at the grassroots. Ten years into Seattle magazine's Most Influential list, we present our picks for the movers and shakers of the year. Love 'em or hate 'em, these 51 people (plus a machine, an ordinance and hundreds of thousands of screaming fans) are making the city what it is in 2014.
The EvangelistNick HanauerBillionaire Nick Hanauer is throwing his mighty resources at two of the gnarliest issues of the day.Venture capitalist cum political activist Nick HanauerPHOTO CREDIT: HAYLEY YOUNG
Our person of the year isn’t a household name, and he’s often confused with his brother, Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer, but the 54-year-old straight-talking, risk-tolerant Burning Man regular is changing our city whether you recognize his name or not.
“Right now we are in the era of Nick Hanauer,” Chris Vance, former chairman of the state Republican Party, told The Seattle Times last summer.
Hanauer’s curriculum vitae is his platform. A Seattle-raised entrepreneur and venture capitalist, he was the first nonfamily investor in Amazon.com and founded aQuantive Inc., an Internet advertising company that he sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. Even as he lists all his accomplishments and material rewards, Hanauer is quick to point out that he owes much of his success to chance. He likes to say, born in another country or another time, he might be “some dude by the side of a dirt road selling fruit.”
A self-described “plutocrat,” Hanauer breaks from type to reject the rich-protecting policies of trickle-down economics.
He argues that concentrating wealth and power in fewer hands leads to police states or revolutions—a position he took in his 2012 TED talk, which initially was deemed too political for release. Two years later, his Politico “pitchforks” article on the same topic went viral and made him a legitimate if unlikely national voice on income inequality.
Hanauer calls for a “middle-out movement,” which invests in the middle class, with money, in part, from a tax on high-income earners (a statewide initiative to that effect was defeated in 2010), and through policies that include increasing the minimum wage. An early—he might say the first—evangelist for the $15-an-hour minimum wage, Hanauer served on the mayor’s committee that settled on that historic figure.
He's been a force in politics for more than a decade. Hanauer cofounded the League of Education Voters in 2001 and the progressive True Patriot Network in 2007; and he supports environmental groups and the arts, and donated big money to the successful 2012 charter schools initiative. But this fall finds him out on a very expensive limb.
In a state with minimal gun regulation, where gun control measures consistently fail in the Legislature, including last year’s defeat of universal background checks, Hanauer has bankrolled the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. The state’s first-ever well-funded gun control group, which aims to be a bulwark against the hugely powerful National Rifle Association. The alliance is behind this fall’s Initiative 594, which would require background checks for guns sold at gun shows or online. Only six states currently have this provision.
Millions of dollars are pouring into the pro side, from Hanauer and his fellow one-percenters, including Bill and Melinda Gates and Steve Ballmer. At press time, polls found a majority of state voters support I-594. If there was ever a chance that a gun control measure might succeed in this state, this is it—which would put Hanauer at the center of two historic measures in a single year.
And that is no accident.
The FirebrandKshama SawantSeattle City Council memberPHOTO CREDIT: HAYLEY YOUNG
Few expected Kshama Sawant, a 41-year-old economics instructor at Seattle Central Community College, to get elected—the last bona fide Socialist on the City Council was more than 100 years ago. But she seemed to take full advantage of the energy and organization around the 15 Now campaign and incumbent fatigue when she defeated longtime council member Richard Conlin, who, to many voters, had come to embody Seattle progressivism at its most timid. For a rookie, Sawant quickly seized the moment and flaunted her influence. She helped set the agenda for the $15-an-hour minimum-wage movement and held Mayor Ed Murray’s and the City Council’s feet to the fire to act on the proposal or face a Sawant-backed voter initiative—one that surely would have won and been far less finessed than the final agreement. Her socialism also gave some definition to a growing divide on the council between establishment liberals and their more lefty colleagues, such as Nick Licata and Mike O’Brien, who seem to cater less to the business community. While all members of the City Council will be up for election in 2015 as the new hybrid district system is implemented, Sawant has provided a template that could help attract activist candidates and move the council further to the left. Whether Sawant herself lasts for the long term is an open question—some predict her confrontational style will burn through her political capital—but her influence this year has been immediate.
The OctopusJeff BezosCEO, AmazonPHOTO CREDIT: KRISTOFFER TRIPPLAAR/SIPA/AP IMAGES
These days you can’t compile a Seattle’s Most Influential People list without including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. He was our Person of the Year in 2013, and a contender for that spot again this year, and will probably make the list for many years to come. The company’s extended growth spurt continues to fuel a local economic boom and transform the culture and landscape of our neighborhoods. 2014 Bezos high points include the announcement that his company, Kent-based Blue Origin, will partner with Boeing and Lockheed Martin to develop a new engine for rockets used to launch satellites and a $20 million donation to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the largest in Hutch history. But the year in Bezos was not without hiccups: Amazon was called out by the Seattle City Council for retaliating against security guards trying to form a union, mocked for the lame Fire phone launch and criticized for squeezing book-loving customers in a price war with Hachette Book Group.
Rookie Of The YearEd MurrayMayor of SeattlePHOTO CREDIT: HAYLEY YOUNG
When he was elected as mayor last November, Ed Murray, 59, came to City Hall with experience and baggage, both of which could be summed up in one word: Olympia. Would Murray’s insider experience as a state senator be an asset in Seattle? Would his devotion to incrementalism actually accomplish anything? The first six months of Murray’s administration gave a resounding answer to those questions: yes. Some observers credit Murray with the best start in memory for a rookie mayor: He nailed down a controversial ride-sharing agreement, used his muscle to pass a Park District levy that cleared the way for other potential levy funding, appointed a new police chief to clean up the Seattle Police Department, and brokered a deal with business and labor to implement a $15-an-hour minimum wage. He’s also been quick to respond to those minor crises (not salting the streets, banning beach fires) that can so quickly damage a mayor’s favorability. When Seattle Public Utilities ordered the shutdown of showers at Alki this summer under the claim that bathers were polluting Puget Sound with their suntan oil, Murray quickly intervened to to reopen the showers, mitigate the problem and make sure city department heads were, well, using their heads. The bottom line is that Murray’s political and negotiating skills have gotten him off to a fast start in a city often known for process gridlock.
A Firm FoundationSeattle Pacific University Community
PHOTO CREDIT: TED S. WARREN/AP IMAGES
We all hope to avoid tragedy, but if it strikes, how will we respond? The spirit of the Seattle Pacific University community was tested on June 5, when a gunman opened fire in Otto Miller Hall on campus, killing freshman Paul Lee, 19, of Portland, Oregon, and injuring two more students before being tackled by senior engineering major Jon Meis. The faith-based community reacted immediately and automatically: as a tight-knit group with courage and resilience. In prayer circles and at special services, its members gathered to sing hymns and pray together—not only for the victims, but for the shooter as well. Living by example, they grieved the death of their fellow student while also garnering hope and strength from the foundation of their faith.