Category Archives: Neighborhood

Third Place Books + Raconteur Officially Open

This weekend marks the official opening of the long-awaited Third Place Books in the former PCC Seward Park location. The bookstore has events planned all weekend with a number of very well-known, local,  and respected authors reading (on Saturday, Seattle’s best-known restauranteur, Tom Douglas, reads at 11…2006 Pulitzer Prize winner, Tim Egan, reads at 1). Here’s the official release:

Located in the former Seward Park PCC, Third Place Seward Park is a general interest bookstore featuring new & used books with a used book buy back counter open seven days a week.  Third Place Seward Park continues the Third Place mission of providing a gathering space for its new community.

Third Place is also proud to present our partner at the new location – Raconteur.  A new restaurant concept brought to you by the owners of Flying Squirrel Pizza.  Raconteur will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week.  Featuring a full coffee bar with locally roasted espresso, a dining room and a full bar, Raconteur aims to be the neighborhood destination, not only for the Seward Park area, but for all of Seattle.  Raconteur’s menu focuses on food from our corner of the world and dishes from around the globe – a truly upscale, international dining experience.

To celebrate our grand opening we have planned a weekend of book signings with a dynamic group of local authors.  Join us to meet your favorite authors and introduce yourself to the beautiful new addition to the Third Place Books family.

The new location, which also shares a space with a new restaurant and bar, Raconteur (which is being run by the folks behind Flying Squirrel) has been getting a lot of hype in the press. Here’s a Seattle Times write-up, another from Seattle Met, and this one from Eater.



SDOT Looking for Neighborhood Feedback Regarding Parking

If you’ve ever struggled to find a parking spot, been amazed at the speeds and recklessness of some drivers as they navigate Columbia City’s streets, or have some great ideas on how to improve the driving and parking conditions of the neighborhood, SDOT wants to hear from you.

In addition to this survey which I encourage you all to fill out, SDOT is hosting a drop-in session on Columbia City Community Access and Parking later this month. Here are all of the details:

ccmap2Do you work, live, or play in Columbia City? If so, please take our short online survey about neighborhood parking and access by March 19, 2016.


Through the Community Access and Parking Program, SDOT works in neighborhood business districts throughout the city to improve parking and access.  SDOT is beginning work with businesses and residents in the Columbia City neighborhood to better understand current parking and access issues in the neighborhood. The goal of this work is to improve parking and access in the neighborhood for customers, visitors, and loading needs, while maintaining access for local residents. The effort is focused around the Rainier Avenue business district (see existing conditions map).

Upcoming Outreach and Events

  • SDOT will be hosting a parking and access drop-in session at the multipurpose room at PCC (3610 S Edmunds St) on Saturday February 20th from 9:30 to 11:30 AM.  Come join us to share comments and questions in person.  Click here for more information on our outreach.
  • In spring 2016 we will be partnering with a survey firm to conduct intercept surveys of customers and visitors in the neighborhood.  Questions will include how people get to the neighborhood, how long they stay, and what are the main reasons they visit Columbia City.  Results from a similar survey in 2011 are available here.

South Seattle Emerald on Columbia City Changes

angeline-4The South Seattle Emerald has a new piece highlighting the increased rate of change that’s been hitting the neighborhood. In the article, Nicole Einbinder, checks in with a number of neighbors (ranging from recent transplants to those who have been here for quite a while) on the reaction to new development and new additions to the neighborhood. To read the whole piece, click here. Here’s a highlight:

As Columbia City continues to undergo large-scale development, public reaction to new projects like the Angeline has been mixed. According to some long-term neighbors, the rapid construction projects and new shops introduced over the past few years not only signal gentrification and changing demographics, but an altered culture from what originally drew them to the south side.

“When rents go up and when people come in paying a higher rent they tend to have different priorities than cultural,” said Angeline resident Paul Nelson, who has lived in King County since 1988 and came to Columbia City around six years ago. “The neighborhood has lost a lot of its soul.”

Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce on Columbia City Changes

Seattle DJC’s Joe Nabberfield has a new reflection on Columbia City’s ever-evolving nature. To read the whole piece, click here. Here’s a preview:

Crib Notes — Columbia City: Big change, more to come

We remember when Tutta Bella pizzeria opened in (gulp) Columbia City. A Starbucks too. Pioneering businesses, taking a risk.

That was about 15 years ago. Flash to now: the diverse neighborhood in southeast Seattle is fully and officially popping. Especially the retail around Rainier Avenue!

So this means it’s time for us to talk about the G-word: gentrification.

What’s next? Two words: Hillman City. That’s the still-depressed commercial strip immediately south of Columbia City’s commercial strip. Its younger and anemic sibling.

As Columbia City keeps gentrifying — and yes, there’s a lot more to come — so will Hillman City as it catches the spillover.

Gentrification, as we all know, is a loaded word. It takes on different meanings and evokes different emotions depending on which lens we use to view it.

Rents in The Angeline range from $1,600 to $3,400 per month.

If you own property in Columbia City, the upward movement likely brings joy, or at least relief. Homes that sold three years ago in Columbia City for $350,000 now fetch $450,000 to $500,000. If you’re low-income, even lower-middle-income, the same upward movement likely brings sadness, pain and anger at seeing your eventual displacement.

It’s bittersweet for many. Displacement eventually will happen. Slowly but surely. Southward, to Hillman City, Rainier Beach, Renton, then Kent. Cities don’t stand still. They change, and then change again…

Columbia City Gateway Official Opening: Wednesday 9/16

Although the neighborhood has been enjoying it for a few weeks now, the good people behind the Columbia City Gateway project are hosting an official grand opening on Wednesday 9/16 at 4pm. As you head down to hit up the farmer’s market, be sure to swing by. Here’s the official info:

gatewayPlease join us on Wednesday, September 16th, to celebrate the opening of The Gateway located on the site of the historic Columbia School, now home to the Interagency Academy.

It’s time to celebrate the transformation of this corner from a locked and littered field of broken asphalt into a beautiful open space with trees, sitting areas, landscaping, sidewalk benches and lighting for community enjoyment.

The Gateway Opening festivities start at 4pm and will feature:

  • Live music and parade with Jazz Night School
  • Ribbon cutting and crisp speeches
  • Free Gateway balloons for kids (first 100)
  • Performance by Interagency Academy vocalist
  • Free Gateway frisbees (limit 200)
  • Group commemorative sing-a-long
  • Cupcakes compliments of PCC
  • Free Market Bucks with your “I helped open the Gateway” handstamp at the Farmers’ Market after the event (limit 250)
  • Garden Tours

We are grateful to all the Columbia City businesses and residents who donated time, money and effort to create our Gateway, as well as the following organizations:

Our Partners: Seattle School District, The Interagency Academy Students and Staff, City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods & Office of Economic Development, Columbia City Business Association and BIA

Our Major Donors: The Wolff Company, Rainier Pacific, Security Properties, PCC Natural Markets, Shirley Marvin Hotel, LR Isabella, Scott Amick, READ WRITE LEARN, Columbia City Pilates, Bank of America

With recognition to: Seattle Parks Foundation, Johnson+Southerland, GMD Custom, Jordan T. Adams, Maher Landscaping and Iris Antman                                                                           .

Please come celebrate with us Wed. Sept 16th at 4pm!


Your Friends of the Gateway

Fire at Bob’s Quality Meats


Photo by Allison B. From the CC Facebook page.

As I’m sure just about everyone in the neighborhood is now aware, a Columbia City and South Seattle cornerstone, Bob’s Quality Meats, is now closed after getting hit by a major fire on Thursday, July 2nd.

The fire started around 3pm on the roof and spread to a small, wooden rooftop structure used as an office, bathroom, and storage for Bob’s. The 2-alarm fire was contained by the Seattle Fire Department within an hour of being first reported and the SFD response was massive. One count reported a total of eleven trucks on Rainier and the side streets.SFD

The fire was primarily limited to the 100+ year-old building that Bob’s occupies, with some minor damage possibly spreading next door into Gather. According to this tweet released yesterday by the SFD, the fire was accidental and due to a malfunction with rooftop machinery.

When the fire was first noticed, the west side of Columbia City’s business district was quickly evacuated. There were no reported injuries.Bobs Facebook

The Bob’s fire comes right at the butcher shop’s busiest weekend of the year and will be a major financial blow. A number of neighbors have commented on Facebook that the family that owns Bob’s is also the owner of Hillman City’s pet store, Claw and Paw’s Pet Grocery. Shopping there for your pets could be a good way to show your support. There have also been numerous calls for crowdfunding efforts to help Bob’s out. At this point, a focused philanthropic effort from the neighborhood has yet to emerge. If such a site does come to fruition, we’ll update Columbia City Source with the details.

Beyond the financial loss over the 4th of July weekend, the fire is an emotional one as well. Bob’s has been in the neighborhood for 30+ years (see this 2008 Seattle PI article for the history), has a loyal and diverse clientele. and is absolutely one of the neighborhood institutions that makes Columbia City what it is.

As the owner of Bob’s, James Ackley, told KIRO, “This has been in our family for a lot years…so…it’s like someone in the family dying…”

Beatwalk: 21st Anniversary

Beatwalk is officially of drinking age this year. To mark the anniversary, the good folks behind it have put together this reminder about what it’s all about:

Reminder: SDOT Rainier Ave Safety Meetings (2/26 and 3/3)

SDOT is hosting two follow-up meetings in the coming weeks to the Rainier Ave. Safety Project that’s underway. As many in the neighborhood are well-aware, the past year proved beyond any doubt that action needs to be taken to keep pedestrians (and buildings) safe from Rainier’s often-dangerous traffic. Neighborhood involvement and turnout at the last few meetings and events has been high and that is absolutely one of the main reasons SDOT is now paying attention and working on this project. If you can, be sure to attendRainierPostcard:


SDOT invites you to review potential safety improvements for Rainier and to provide feedback on possible design changes at one of the following meetings:

Thursday, February 26, 2015
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, The Columbia School – Cafeteria/Commons,
3528 S Ferdinand St (use the Edmunds St entrance and parking area)

Tuesday , March 3, 2015*
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, The Ethiopian Community Center,
8323 Rainier Ave S

*Additional information will be presented about upcoming transportation
projects in the Rainier Beach neighborhood at this meeting

Launching November 2014 – the Rainier Avenue South Safety Corridor Project – a multi-year effort to improve safety for all through street improvements, increased enforcement efforts, and educational outreach.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is launching a collaborative process to review roadway conditions along Rainier Avenue South. As safety is our number one priority, we are committed to preventing collisions and improving safety for all users of the transportation system.

Together we will determine the specific nature and design elements of these changes through the process described below. New safety measures to be considered through this project will include: arterial traffic calming, traffic signal modifications, pavement repair, and pedestrian and bicycle safety enhancements. To address behavioral issues like speeding, distraction and impaired driving, we will develop targeted enforcement strategies and area-specific educational outreach.

This project will focus on the segment of Rainier Avenue South from Letitia Avenue South to Seward Park Avenue South.

Facts about Rainier Avenue South

  • Principal arterial classification
  • Adjacent land uses:
    • Single family and multi-family residential, commercial, industrial
    • Libraries, parks, community centers, senior housing and senior centers
    • More than 10 schools and daycare centers within three blocks of Rainier
  • Speed limit 30 mph
  • Busy transit corridor
  • Average Daily Traffic – 19,700 to 26,600 vehicles per weekday
  • 1243 total collisions, 630 injuries and two fatalities January 2011 through September 2014


Hitt’s Hill Work Party Tomorrow: Sat 2/14

Need something to do on Valentine’s Day? Why not participate in tomorrow’s work party at Hitt’s Hill Park? Here are all of the details:
Saturday, February 14th from 10:00am – 1:00pm
Hitt’s Hill Park

5234 37th Ave S, Seattle, Washington 98118
[Saturday 2/14 is] The first work party of 2015 in the park! Join neighbors to get the park ready for spring. Tools are provided and the weather is looking dry for Saturday. The park survived the winter nicely but there are always plants to trim as they reach onto the path and general clean-up
… This is the 3 acre park space just south of Columbia City and west of Hillman City. Even if you can’t help out this Saturday, try to enjoy the path and say hello. Work parties are the 2nd Saturday of every month except December and January.

Original plans for Hitt’s Hill