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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: downtown seattle

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October 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Plainclothes Seattle police chief makes the case for more uniformed officers

Sipping on a honey nut smoothie in a downtown cafe Thursday morning, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole didn’t act like the city’s top cop, or even dress the part.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole poses for a selfie with Seattle Times editorial writer Robert Vickers. (Robert Vickers / The Seattle Times)

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole poses for a selfie with Seattle Times editorial writer Robert Vickers. (Robert Vickers / The Seattle Times)

O’Toole, who took over the embattled department in July, wore civilian clothes, spoke in hushed tones when she used the word “police,” and conversed with a personal ease atypical of law enforcement officials – all that while her department was heavily deployed to secure Vice President Joe Biden’s visit.

As if to drive home the point that she’s not an everyday police chief, O’Toole proposed a selfie when I asked for a photo.

What big city police chief does that?


Comments | Topics: crime, downtown seattle, kathleen o'toole

December 13, 2013 at 6:31 AM

Seattle’s Westlake Park feels safer. Was that so hard?

As concierge at the Seaboard Building in Westlake Park, Joseph Crudo has a front-row seat to daily scrum in Seattle’s retail core.

Westlake Park, looking splendid / ALAN BERNER, SEATTLE TIMES

Westlake Park, looking splendid / ALAN BERNER, SEATTLE TIMES

In July, that front row seat got him a broken arm and nose and a concussion. Crudo got beat up after trying to warn a man that he was being pickpocketed. The case made headlines in The Seattle Times and elsewhere because a 13-year-old was arrested after being seen kicking Crudo in the head.

The incident also made headlines because it confirmed a perception that downtown was going seedy. Fast forward five months, and Crudo sees a changed landscape.

“In all honesty, things have really cleared up,” said Crudo, a 26-year-old Seattle University student.


Comments | Topics: crime, downtown seattle, seattle police

September 3, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Reader memories of Sherman Clay piano store



The Sherman Clay piano store in downtown Seattle is expected to close when the last piano is sold or at the end of September, whichever comes first. Earlier in August, I wrote an editorial notebook mourning the loss of the city’s only Steinway dealer and about the downtown Seattle store, which has been selling pianos at 4th and Pine since the 1920s.

You also shared your memories. Here are edited excerpts from the stories you shared with us.

From Zach Hyder:

“Back in college I befriended one of the sales associates during a UW student reception. We kept in touch for a few years, and when I was back in Seattle visiting one summer I dropped by the store to say hi right as it was closing. As they locked up I’ll never forget he said to me, ‘So go for it. Store is yours.’ I asked him which one he thought I should try. He pointed to this one particular Steinway concert grand. ‘That one,’ he said with a big smile on his face. It was incredible. It was like driving a Ferrari for someone who’d only ever been behind the wheel of a Volkswagen. Bach, Grieg, Chopin, Beethoven. I played for close to an hour while we chatted and told stories about our favorite composers and concerts we’d seen. We talked about what made Steinway’s so unique. For a moment, it felt like Carnegie Hall. It was an amazing experience — and I’ve never forgotten his kindness for letting a young kid have that momentary access to one of the world’s finest instruments.”

From William “Bruno” Santo, store manager from 1974 to 1982: 


Comments | Topics: business, downtown seattle, music