So, about those boarded up houses at 15th and 65th…

With Tuesday’s Ravenna-Bryant Community Association spring community meeting roster including City Attorney Pete Holmes, we thought we’d take the opportunity to assemble some reading material about one Hugh Sisley.

We don’t know how much Holmes will be able to say about the city’s plans for collecting the three million dollars in fines owed by Roosevelt’s most well-known landlord. But we do know that there are strong feelings running very deep about Mr. Hugh Sisley, and providing a more focused review of the situation (in terms of current, property-related events) wouldn’t hurt.


Graffiti on one of Hugh Sisley’s properties. The words on the right read. “I [heart] urban decay.”

The following information focuses on Sisley’s properties in and vision for his corner of the Roosevelt neighborhood, his position as a landlord in the area, and his relationship with the City of Seattle.


We’ve spent a few weeks over at the King County Parcel Viewer, looking up publicly-available property information for the map you see below. The cool-colored markers (and accompanying brown shapes) are properties where the primary taxpayer is listed as either Hugh Sisley, Hugh and Martha Sisley, or the Roosevelt Development Group.

View Properties around Roosevelt High School in a larger map

For more information about the map, including the description of the all symbols used, please open the map in a new window.

We will continue to add to it as we find more owners of multiple properties in the area.


Seattle Weekly articles

Earlier this year, the Seattle Weekly published a duo of articles on Mr. Sisley and his dealings (or non-dealings) with the city in terms of his housing-code violation cases and fines:

Seattle Weekly (January 10, 2014) “The Reign of Seattle’s Most Notorious Landlord Could Be Coming to an End

The 86-year-old is facing a record $2 million fine that continues to increase at the rate of $1,600 a day, plus 12 percent interest. And now, after years of foot-dragging of its own, City Hall is finally moving to collect the debt. As officials launch a new initiative approved by the City Council to inspect every rental unit in town, City Attorney Pete Holmes is planning to recover what the stubborn rental king owes by confiscating prized Roosevelt properties held by the penny-pinching millionaire.

And then, a follow-up, just 10 days later: “Hugh Sisley’s Slumlord Tab Now $3 Million, City Says After Recalculation.”

Sisley, whose property is concentrated in the Roosevelt neighborhood, has amassed close to 200 code-enforcement cases dating to the 1980s, according to city records. Among them are violations for faulty wiring, unsafe conditions, insect infestation, junk storage, emergency situations, and unfit vacant buildings subject to demolition.


RR Hardware, on 15th Avenue NE. “Total chaos envelopes the customer who bravely ventures into this 1940’s holdover,” says one reviewer on Yelp.

For a glimpse at Hugh Sisley’s vision for Roosevelt, we need only get on the internet and time travel a bit.

Although is no longer up and running, the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine has some snapshots stored from the days when it was. Here is the full archived selection, but we’ll point out a couple links to the two different forms the website took while it was live:

View of the progress (and the lack thereof) along NE 65th Street. Taken at 15th Avenue NE looking west.

View of the progress (and the lack thereof) along NE 65th Street. Taken at 15th Avenue NE looking west.

As the Sisleys’ attorney Jeff Grant says in the first Seattle Weekly article mentioned above, “That’s really the story of Hugh and the Roosevelt Neighborhood today. Progress.” This sentiment is echoed strongly on the pages of the old


Old Fruit Stand block project


Roosevelt High School standing in the background between two of Sisley’s properties on the NW corner of 15th Avenue NE and NE 65th Street.

The Roosevelt Development Group, which has long-term leases with the Sisleys on many of their properties, is currently working with architectural firm GGLO on a project on one of the three small blocks just south of Roosevelt High School (in orange on the map below).

View NE Seattle Large Development Tracker in a larger map

Project #3013244 at 6505 15th Ave NE is described as a “seven story, 220 unit residential building with 8,000 sq. ft. of retail use at ground level. Parking for 267 vehicles will be located below grade. All existing structures to be demolished.”

Roosevelt High School stands in the background between the two buildings proposed for the Old Fruit Stand block. This view is looking north from NE 65th Street through the half public, half private plaza area. Taken from page 30 of the February 3, 2014 design proposal (click to download; 17 MB PDF).

Roosevelt High School stands in the background between the two buildings proposed for the Old Fruit Stand block. This view is looking north from NE 65th Street through the half-public, half-private plaza area. Taken from page 30 of the February 3, 2014 design proposal (click to download; 17 MB PDF).

The project is currently in the Review phase, and has been presented twice at Northeast Design Review meetings (Early Design Guidance meeting on August 6, 2012, and a Recommendation meeting on February 3, 2014).

You can view the project’s current permit activity and associated documents here. The design proposal presented at the February 3, 2014 meeting can be downloaded here (17 MB PDF).

At this time, initial information has been collected for a new construction permit, but not a demolition permit.


A graffito adorns a previously graffitied spot on the recently officially shuttered Funtiques (1512 NE 65th Street). We believe it is missing a question mark.


  1. Are the JANDACKA’s related to the Sisley’s?

  2. Steve Sorbo says:

    Ok, kinda falling in love with 1509 NE 68th St. It just needs a little love. To paraphrase Charlie Brown, This little brownish/yellowish home here seems to need a home. Uhmmmm it’s vacant too!

    Or to paraphrase Linus: 🙂
    I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” The same could be said of that house.

  3. Whew, Rebecca, you did a lot of work to put this info together, thank you.

  4. Janine says:

    Thanks for all of this. We talk often about the disproportional good one person can do–here is an example of the widespread nastiness one person can perpetrate. I lived in an apartment in a house behind RR Hardware in the 70s when it was still a real hardware store and semi-respectable relic. How sad to see the aggressive neglect and uglification of such an important crossroads in our city. Riding the 73 bus from Lake City through this area, I can barely stand to open my eyes–and to have this adjacent to a beautiful high school and its young/hopeful inhabitants is really disturbing.

    Sisley has had a spatially smaller but even more intense effect on properties in Lake City. Cretin.

  5. How long have the houses on the NW corner of 15th Avenue NE and NE 65th Street been boarded up? I’m looking for accurate dates. Anyone know how to source the timeline for these and related properties?

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  7. This is an excellent, comprehensive piece. The Weekly has also done a new story on Sisley, which kind of knocks the big press conference as the mayor declaring victory while the war continues. It’s at

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  9. Daryl Deliman says:

    Sisley and Jandacka have improved many properties in the Roosevelt district. As a UW alum, I have noticed how the properties in this area have improved due to Karen and Jerry Jandacka’s diligence and constant attention. The area would be a slum without their improvements.

  10. Ruth Williams says:

    Thank you for putting all this together! Wow!
    Does anyone have any contact information for Sisley? I called the police non-emergency, but apparently it’s not their job to deal with a building vulnerable to squatting. This vacant house has the board removed from a basement window, and apparently someone has moved in. Thank you!
    6327 16TH AVE NE
    Taxpayer name: SISLEY HUGH K

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