Category Archives: Neighborhood

Columbia City Gateway Project Kick-Off Sunday 10/19

The Columbia City Gateway Project has announced a kick-off party this Sunday (10/19) from 3:30-5pm at the Shirley Marvin Hotel on Edmunds (3815). Be sure to check out the video and the links below to find out more.

The Friends of the Columbia City Gateway are having Kick-Off Party on Sunday, October 19th 3:30pm – 5:00pm at the Shirley Marvin Hotel Lobby and you are invited.   The Gateway project will transform the shabby, neglected, and littered corner of the Columbia School (S. Edmunds and 37th) into a handsome, welcoming streetscape.

We have a $100,000 matching fund grant and over $57,000 in donor pledges. Our goal is to raise $100,000 by end of the year!

We welcome anyone who is interested in improving the walkway to and from Light Rail and creating more public gathering space for our neighborhood.

Please join us for a Gateway Kickoff Party
Sunday, October 19, 2014
3:30pm – 5:00pm
• Shirley Marvin Hotel Lobby (3815 S. Edmunds Street)
• Provided: Appetizers, beer, wine and the famous Gateway Cocktail (guaranteed to make connections, just like the our project)

If you can’t come to the party, but want to participant and tell your friends, neighbors and/or customers about the Gateway, here’s some helpful information:

Narrated slide show with before and after images
Seattle Parks Foundation – This organization is our fiscal sponsor and the quickest and easiest way to contribute. Click here to donate:
The Friends of Columbia City Gateway Facebook page

Columbia City Highlighted by The Seattle Times

The real estate section of The Seattle Times has a new, full write-up on the neighborhood. Read the whole piece here (by Diana Wum) to find out what most of us already know about our incomparable neighborhood:

Columbia City is the exception to the rule when it comes to most neighborhoods near downtown Seattle.

The personality of the area, with its community pride and original historic buildings, has remained intact even through a period of growth and rising popularity.columbiacity

One reason may be that Columbia City has been designated a historic landmark district in Seattle.

This requires oversight by a board of citizens who make sure the buildings and public spaces retain their historic appearance, and that the character of the buildings in the area is preserved.

This is evident when you take a look around the neighborhood, which is located in the Rainier Valley area of southeast Seattle between Interstate 5 and Lake Washington.

From the Andrew Carnegie-funded Columbia City branch of the Seattle Public Library, built in 1914, to the colorful storefronts, it’s rare to find a neighborhood that has more turn-of-the-century houses and shops than sky-high town homes and condos.

More and more, people are choosing to live in the area as an alternative to downtown, says Rob Mohn, owner of the Shirley Marvin, an extended-stay hotel. He is a neighborhood advocate who has worked for years to help improve the area.

“There is a small-town friendliness here, and a great sense of place,” he says…

Update on the Southeast Seattle Tool Library

What started as a discussion on the Columbia City Facebook page is becoming closer to a reality. The Rainier Valley Post is reporting on the neighborhood’s efforts to get a Southeast Seattle tool library up and running:

10299108_466601670137527_4267636844624728351_nNeed a ladder to clean out those gutters? A hammer to hang some pictures? A rake and shovel to clean up the yard so the neighbors will quit complaining?

As much as the local home improvement behemoth would love your hard-earned dough, how would you like to be able to borrow those tools — free of charge — from the local library? Not a book library, but a tool library.
“Tool libraries seek to make it nearly as easy as checking a book out of the library,” said Sally Bailey, founder and director of the new Southeast Seattle Tool Library. “The older tool libraries have been generous with their guidance, their practices and policies. Most have rental fees, on a sliding scale. But we want to take ours in a different direction. Once people become members, we hope that, with the help of grants and donations, we can loan tools, along with advice, at no cost. However, those who can will be encouraged to contribute to cover maintenance, repair and replacement.”

Click here to read the RVP’s full post. 

Ark Lodge Theater: Seattle Weekly’s Best of Seattle

Another fantastic neighborhood business earned a Seattle Weekly “Best Of…this time picked by guest judge, Seattle City Attorney, Pete Holmes:

Sketch by Gabriel Campanario

Sketch by Gabriel Campanario

Best Movie Theater

[Erstwhile] Columbia City Cinema, now Ark Lodge Cinemas. My son worked there during high school and learned the secret of their popcorn, the best movie-theater popcorn. And it’s close enough to our home that the four of us could decide to race to the theater five minutes before showtime—which was the case more often than not!

Also: click here for the original January 2013 Seattle Times article/sketch journal on what Ark Lodge and owner David McRae are all about.

South Seattle Emerald Spotlight: Joya Iverson @ Tin Umbrella

The good folks over at South Seattle Emerald (another great South Seattle news source), have a spotlight piece on Joya, the owner of Tin Umbrella in Hillman City:

Who: Joya IversonTinUWebBanner-300x61

Best Known Around South Seattle As: The jovial owner of Tin Umbrella Coffee in Hillman City

SpecialTrait: Dazzling all who cross her path with sublime kindness

When Not Serving Coffee You Can Catch Her: Good luck NOT catching her serving coffee

Motto: “La Caffe Vita”

Why does South Seattle undeniably lay title to the greatest hamlet in the Milky Way?

The People! Everyone says it, so it sounds cliche, but I really think the people who live here and call South Seattle home are amazing! They all have amazing stories that are just as numerous and wonderful as the stars in the sky. The people I encounter here just blow my mind.

Click here to read the whole piece.

4th “Find It, Fix It” Walk with the Mayor Tomorrow (7/29): Rainier and Genesee

As many know, the mayor and the SPD have been hosting neighborhood “Find It, Fix It” walks over the past month. Tomorrow’s (Tuesday, 7/29) is the closest to Columbia City, starting in the Jumbo lot at Rainier and Genesee. Here’s the official release:

Mayor Murray’s ‘Find it, Fix it’ Community Walks, focused on several crime hotspots, makes its way to a fourth neighborhood in Seattle next Tuesday, July 29.14727078612_c38c962b53_b

At the walks, community residents, police, and city officials have been walking together to identify physical disorder and solve it. The three walks already conducted have seen great success with a 40 percent rise in use of the Find It, Fix It application and identification, notification and action taken on graffiti removal, street lighting, litter and garbage clean-up, and trimming overgrown bushes and trees.

The next Find It, Fix It Community Walk
Tuesday, July 29, 7 – 9 p.m., Rainier Ave. and Genesee
Meet in the Jumbo’s parking lot (Map)

7 – 7:15 p.m.

  • Short program featuring Mayor Ed Murray, City Councilmembers Sally J. Clark and Bruce Harrell, City Attorney Pete Holmes, Seattle Police Department officials and department representatives.

7:15 – 9 p.m.

Walk commences along the following route:

  • East S. Genesee
  • South on 37th Ave S.
  • West on S. Oregon St.
  • North on Rainier Ave. S.
  • East on S. Andover St.
  • North on Courtland Pl.
  • East on the Charlestown St. Hillclimb
  • South on 37th Ave S.
  • West on S. Adams St.
  • Walk ends at Jumbo’s parking lot

9 p.m.

  • Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions.

We’re scheduling additional ‘Find it, Fix it’ Community Walks that we will announce in the coming weeks. The next scheduled walk will take place on August 12, from 7 – 9 p.m. in the Rainier Beach neighborhood, at the intersection of Rainier and Henderson.

Residents are also encouraged to participate in the August 5 Night Out for Crime in their own neighborhoods. For more information and to register your event, visit the Mayor’s web site.

For more information on Murray’s public safety strategy for Seattle, visit

– See more at:

More on the Cheasty Bike Park

The debate over the Cheasty Bike Park has been dominating the Southend news coverage as of late. The Seattle Times‘ Lynn Thompson has the latest:

Joel DeJong is an enthusiastic advocate for mountain biking. He runs a commuter bike-building company in Fremont, takes his kids out on wooded trails outside of the city on2024180091 weekends and for the past seven years has marshaled hundreds of volunteers to help clean up and restore the overgrown woods near his home.

But his vision for a mountain-bike trail around the 27-acre Cheasty Greenspace on the east slope of Seattle’s Beacon Hill is dividing residents and drawing protests from nature lovers who don’t want one of the city’s few undeveloped parks turned over to active recreation.

The controversy is reminiscent of the fight two years ago when the Seattle Parks Department proposed allowing a private company to operate a zip line in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park, a plan that was shelved after a public outcry.

“Our concern is this will set a precedent, that Parks will take away a natural area of which there are very few left,” said Mark Ahlness, a retired teacher who led the fight against the zip line and is now one of the directors of the Seattle Nature Alliance, which advocates for preserving and protecting the city’s natural areas.

DeJong and other supporters say the mountain-bike trail, which would be the first in a Seattle park, would give youths who aren’t able to get out of the city an opportunity to experience the joy of riding their bikes in the woods. And in the process, they argue, the kids would gain an appreciation of nature and a sense of ownership for the green space.

Read the whole piece here.

Cheasty Bike Park Moving Forward

SeattleMet’s Erica C. Barnett is reporting that the Cheasty Bike Park (click for more details) received the go-ahead vote on Tuesday:

Opponents of a proposal to build a series of trails for mountain bikes in Beacon Hill and Columbia City’s Cheasty Greenspace lost the first round in their battle yesterday, when the city cou8475634_origncil’s neighborhoods committee voted to move forward a bunch of neighborhood matching fund proposals that included $100,000 in city dollars for the mountain-bike plan. (The vote was 1-0-1—ties move legislation forward—with Sally Bagshaw in favor, and Harrell abstaining.)

Some neighbors of the park, which spans 43 acres in Southeast Seattle, oppose the 10-acre trail project (of which about 2 acres would consist of actual trail space) because, they argue, it would result in loss of wildlife habitat and urban tree cover; it will compromise the safety of park users (including cyclists); it will increase parking pressure in the area; and because, in the words of the group Save Cheasty Greenspace, “Passive use park lands should not be converted to active use park lands.”

Additionally, opponents argue that the council is moving forward with funding for the plan (which has a total price tag of $750,000) before proponents have raised their own half-million-dollar contribution and presented a formal plan to the council. “And by that point it is unlikely that there is any turning back,” an email from the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition put it earlier this month.“I’ve seen some videos of these mountain bikes—these kids are doing these twists and all this stuff. I asked the question on this project … [what about] safety concerns and insurance concerns?”—Council Member Bruce Harrell

(Parks director Christopher Williams said today, “We recognize that some of the input and concerns that the community has need to be reflected in the design and the proposal going forward. It’s our hope that we can still get there.”)

Proponents, meanwhile, argue that a series of bike and pedestrian paths will provide “enjoyment, recreation, and education” to residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, and will create a new pedestrian connection between Beacon Hill and Columbia City.

Click here for the whole article.

Columbia City Gateway Project Fundraising

The Columbia City Gateway
Take a neglected corner and transform it into something inviting, with planter beds and seating areas beneath the trees. That’s the goal of a group of Columbia City neighbors who want to create a mini-park and plaza that welcomes light-rail commuters and anchors a growing neighborhood. This part of the neighborhood is already a destination for the many people who frequent the Columbia City farmer’s market. A PCC Natural Market and new residences will soon open across the street.
The project at the corner at 37th Avenue South and South Edmunds will add to the vibrancy and livability of Columbia City. With enough donations, the project can reach its goal of completion in 2015

Columbia City Featured on Neighborhoods Video Series

Apparently, Comcast has a program called Neighborhoods where interesting neighborhoods are highlighted in 10 minute video segments. Columbia City is the subject of the most recent installment and it is definitely worth watching. For being an obscure cable-company-hosted online video series (it currently has a whopping 50 views), it’s actually a pretty thoughtful overview of some of the neighborhood businesses, neighborhood history, etc. Watch it here:

This Comcast Neighborhoods program features Columbia City, a diverse and historic community in southeast Seattle. Here are some highlights from the show:

Lottie’s Lounge, a unique meeting spot in the heart of Columbia City, has become popular for its twist on an espresso lounge and bar, serving coffee, food and cocktails.

Ark Lodge Cinemas has been a community landmark since 1921 when it was originally the Columbia Hotel. Now, the neighborhood cinema has become a family friendly and accommodating place for the residents of Columbia City and the Rainier Valley. Designating certain screenings each week to parents with infants and those who are deaf or hard of hearing, Ark Lodge Cinemas is truly devoted to serving its community.

Various consignment shops and lifestyle stores such as Hunt and Andaluz, also add to this trendy urban village, offering residents quirky gifts and good finds.