Updates on Capitol Hill from the City of Seattle

Updated: As of Saturday, July 4th, City departments were able to successfully re-open Pine and adjacent streets around Cal Anderson park and the East Precinct to pedestrian and vehicular traffic, accomplishing one of the goals of the Mayor’s Executive Order: to restore the life safety, public health, and property issues in and around the Cal Anderson Park Area. As a result, SPD will resume normal operations to maintain public safety and allow access in the area. However, Seattle Parks and Recreation is continuing the closure of Cal Anderson Park as they work to repair, remediate, and address damage to park property. City departments will continue to engage community to create a public space that recognizes the community garden, art, and conversation corner.

Original post:

Following Mayor Durkan’s Executive Order, City departments have been working to restore public safety around Capitol Hill, remove obstructions to roadways and public rights of way, and to accomplish full closure and restoration/cleaning of Cal Anderson Park.  

While there were weeks of peaceful demonstrations, the evenings included a significant rise in violence including the deaths of two teenagers and serious firearm related injuries to several others. The safety of the Capitol Hill community was further jeopardized by demonstrators refusal to allow unrestricted access to first responders and utilities. Since the first incident of gun violence,  the City deployed trusted Black-led organizations and community members to help deescalate and also began encouraging individuals to voluntarily depart. Since then, hundreds of individuals departed but dozens remained.  

Today, several departments have coordinated to provide services including:  

  • Since June 23, the Human Services Department (HSD), additional service providers, and community organizations have been onsite nearly every day continuing to provide social services outreach and engagement along with referrals for shelter, behavioral health, storage of personal possessions, and other supports for individuals in need. Through July 1, HSD has made a total of 172 engagements (duplicated) with unhoused individuals, 36 referrals to shelter, and 30 connections to service providers. You can read more about HSD’s work here
  • Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) began removing all barriers and obstructions that impede foot traffic or vehicular traffic in the Cal Anderson Park area and to maintain open sidewalks and streets. This work has been completed.  
  • Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) began inspection and securement of all water facilities and restored access to solid waste collections to residents and businesses.  
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) began cleaning, remediation and restoration of Cal Anderson Park. Parks is protecting some of the plants in its greenhouse as next steps are determined.  
  • Parks and the Office of Arts and Culture is engaging community, businesses, residents, artists, and protest leaders to develop a parks plan to preserve the public art, create a community garden and other possible features like a conversation corner. The City will not take any ownership of the art; however, SDOT provided a waterproof storage container to allow temporary storage for artists.  
  • Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) and Seattle Police Department (SPD) are restoring the East Precinct facility for operations.  
  • SPU, together with FAS, Office of Economic Development (OED) and other Departments as needed shall work with the community to ameliorate all graffiti and property damage. The City of Seattle is aware that many people may feel they have suffered an injury caused by City employees during recent and ongoing protests in the City of Seattle. Anyone who feels that they are owed damages by the City should file a claim against the City. The City has hired outside claims adjusters to help quickly process such claims. Filing a claim is no guarantee that the City will agree to pay or offer other relief. The claim form and related information are available at https://www.seattle.gov/filing-a-damage-claim 

Over the coming days, the City will continue working with Capitol Hill residents, businesses and their employees to remedy graffiti, property damage, and ensure public rights of way are restored. In addition, the City will continue engagement with demonstrators and welcomes support from the community to develop plans to preserve the community garden and recently installed public artwork, while also reimagining parks space to create other community gathering spots like a speakers corner to further support the City’s commitment to social justice and the right to protest. 

Here is a full timeline of events on Capitol Hill.  

  • On June 8, 2020, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone/ Capitol Hill Occupied Protest was formed, after removal of the barricades  which had become a flashpoint for protesters and officers located outside of the East Precinct. 
  • On June 8, 2020, the Mayor’s Office, SDOT, SPU, and the Seattle Fire Department  (SFD) visited the site daily. 
  • On June 9, 2020, demonstrations shifted to peaceful gatherings including daily teach-ins on racial and social justice, concerts, the formation of a community garden, and community gatherings with evening movies, and potlucks.  
  • From June 9 to June 19, 2020, thousands of demonstrators and tourists visited Capitol Hill engaging in mostly peaceful demonstrations. SPU provided water, and sanitation services to the park. SDOT worked to ensure there was both safe space for protesters while upgrading barricades and other facilities to provide necessary access for businesses, residents, and essential City services. Parks continued to collect garbage on site and ensured the facility was lit through the night to improve safety. 
  • On June 20, 2020, the first incidents of firearms violence with multiple victims occurred; one teenager was shot and killed, and another individual was shot and critically injured.  
  • On June 21, 2020, another teenager was shot. 
  • On June 21, 2020, the City deployed Black-led organizations and trusted community partners to help de-escalate violence occurring in and around the site.  
  • On June 22, 2020, a second incident involving firearms violence injured two additional individuals.  
  • On June 22, 2020, Mayor Durkan, Chief Best and Black community leaders and clergy held a press conference urging demonstrators to leave Cal Anderson park for their safety and the safety of those living and working nearby.  
  • On June 23, 2020, HSD established a Resource Hub and deployed to Cal Anderson Park, and in the following days and secured the partnership of Public Health – Seattle & King County, service providers, health care partners, to offer services such as food, clothing, hygiene, mental health support, COVID-19 testing and connection to any needed medical care. Unsheltered individuals living on site were offered referrals to shelter, and in some cases limited client cash assistance funding from HSD to provide hotel stays or travel vouchers to home communities. Outreach continued up through the closure of the CHOP. 
  • On June 23, 2020, a man in his 30’s was shot and transported to Harborview Medical Center by SFD Medics. 
  • On June 24, 2020, HSD participated in the Black Lives Matter Community Health Services Wellness Day with other community partners  
  • On June 25, 2020, HSD mobilized DESC’s Mobile Crisis Team to work onsite at the CHOP to provide behavioral health outreach.  
  • On June 26, 2020, SDOT employees attempted to remove a limited number of barriers, but unarmed employees were met with hostility and weapons. SDOT could not conduct operations.  
  • On June 26, 2020, Mayor Durkan met with demonstrators to inform them that the situation had become too dangerous and strongly urged them to leave for the safety of demonstrators, residents, and employees of the surrounding businesses. 
  • On June 28, 2020, demonstrators moved the concrete barriers to completely restrict access of Seattle fire and police units on multiple roads. Demonstrators had previously agreed to open these areas to access for residents, businesses, city services, and emergency responders.  
  • On June 29, 2020, a juvenile was shot and killed, and another juvenile was critically injured in this area.  
  • On June 30, 2020, SDOT removed a limited number of barriers with SPD, but was quickly met with agitated opposition to the removal.  
  • On June 30, Parks announced the temporary closure of Cal Anderson Park, beginning at noon, to assess damage and clean up areas that have seen significant waste collection. 
  • On June 29, 2020, Chief Best held a media availability and urged protesters to leave for the safety of themselves and the surrounding community.  
  • On June 30, 2020, Mayor Durkan signed Executive Order 2020-08 to coordinate and restore public safety, open roadways and public rights of way, and clean Cal Anderson Park.  
  • On July 1, 2020, at 4:58 a.m. SPD announced a dispersal order and lead the effort to clear Cal Anderson Park and the East Precinct. SPD continues to update removal activities on the SPD Blotter.