The Long Hot Summer
The record Heat Dome followed the day after the fire that closed HPIC. Thus began our checklist of chores and waiting, while we gathered information. We thank all of you again for your support and donations! Here’s what we know so far:
SFD Fire Investigator’s Scene Report, via a Public Records Request through the City of Seattle:
IT IS THE OPINION OF THESE INVESTIGATORS THAT THIS FIRE IS UNDETERMINED. THE FIRE ORIGINATED ON THE LANDING AT THE TOP OF THE SHORT STAIRWAY ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE BUILDING NEAR THE NORTHEAST CORNER. FIRE BURNED THROUGH THE STAIRWAY LANDING, EXTENDING FIRE TO THE ADJACENT CRAWLSPACE FRAMING. FIRE EXTENDED UP FROM THE LANDING, THROUGH THE ENTRY DOOR, INTO THE MAIN HALL AND TO THE SECOND FLOOR AND ATTIC ABOVE. EVIDENCE OF TRANSIENT ACTIVITY WAS FOUND IN THE ENTRYWAY. AN INTENTIONALLY SET FIRE COULD NOT BE RULED OUT. THERE ARE NO PERSONS OF INTEREST RELATED TO THIS FIRE AT THIS TIME.
As of our latest Board meeting (Weds Sept 8) we are still waiting for an “official” determination from our insurance company as to how and when the building recovery/rebuild will be funded. In the meantime we have been creating a comprehensive inventory of Business Personal Property which will be covered, and also preparing a claim for loss of Business Income. We expect the official determination on the building coverage soon. We don’t expect the insurance to cover the full cost of the renovation and will be seeking additional funding – from the neighborhood and other funders – to make the renovated space as inviting and versatile as possible.
HPIC interim gathering space outdoors
We are working with our project managers at the Department of Neighborhoods to pivot our original Neighborhood Matching Fund grant (for the interior Community Gathering and Performance Space Renovation) to create an outdoor gathering space in the courtyard/parking lot for limited programming and events as we go through the rebuilding process. This would include a large (20′ x 40′) tent, tables, chairs, portable outdoor heaters, two shipping containers for storage, a restroom and handwash trailer, lighting and other items to facilitate outside activities while the rebuilding process goes on.
It’s an unusual request to repurpose such a grant, and we thank our colleagues at the Department of Neighborhoods for their help and support in considering this revision.
Time for reflection and transformation
During this time, as we make sure the physical space is safe and secure, we are also considering our internal structure and how we can rebuild and refresh that too – board structure, volunteer coordination, the meaning of membership and more. We will be reaching out to the community for your input as we begin to envision the revived physical space and what it might embody. Stay tuned!
Diversity and Inclusion at HPIC
Change is occurring on all levels at HPIC. Now, as we recover from the fire that closed our building June 25, 2021, we are also examining the club’s own history, processes and programming in order to better represent and celebrate the diversity of our community, and foster inclusion throughout all that we do as an organization.
The HPIC board cares deeply about the people of our community, and we want to be explicit about our stand for social justice. We have a lot to learn, and we look forward to sharing this journey with you. If you have ideas or suggestions of what you would like to see, please reach out to be a part of the change.
The Story of our BLM Banner
In the Summer of 2020, Members of Highland Park Improvement Club eagerly created and installed a large Black Lives Matter banner on to the garden fence to show support for the rise of the movement and to acknowledge the long overdue attention to this human issue.
Soon after, the banner was stolen and destroyed; pieces were found on surrounding streets near HPIC. In early July, the West Seattle Blog covered the story and asked for the community to keep an eye out and give any information they had regarding the theft. A local sign shop owner saw the article and graciously offered to make a replacement banner. He thoughtfully made two banners, just in case there was another theft.
The new banner was hung on the fence but vandalized with graffiti soon after. The third banner was also destroyed; sliced in a few places that were able to be repaired and re-hung, but then once again, shredded beyond repair.
With this more permanent attempt at a show of support we acknowledge that we continue to proudly believe that Black Lives Matter and that we refuse to succumb to the fear of destruction. HPIC stands proudly with the BIPOC community.
The Highland Park Improvement Club (HPIC) – the heart of our community since 1919.
HPIC belongs to our neighborhood and is powered by volunteers.
Highland Park Action Committee: All volunteer & not for profit. Our role is to be an advocate for Highland Park and to affect positive change in our neighborhood. Currently meeting via Zoom. Check our website https://hpacinfo.wordpress.com/ or email email@example.com.