A King County District Court judge set bail at $1 million for Kevin Todd Swalwell, who was arrested early Friday for investigation of first- and second-degree arson in connection with a string of fires that have terrorized Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood for months.
A King County District Court judge set bail at $1 million for Kevin Todd Swalwell, who was arrested early Friday for investigation of first- and second-degree arson in connection with a string of fires that have terrorized Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood for months.
Judge Eileen A. Kato set the high bail Saturday afternoon, citing “concern for public safety and welfare” as the reason.
Swalwell, 46, is a homeless man with a long criminal history, including prior convictions for arson. He stands just over 5 feet tall, with a slim build, beard stubble and shoulder-length hair.
At his brief court appearance at the King County Jail, he spoke only once. When Kato asked if it was true that Swalwell had lived his entire life in Western Washington, he responded, “yes,” in a deep baritone.
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Reading from court documents, Kato noted that Swalwell has had 20 warrants issued for his arrest in the past and that he’s been booked into jail 18 times since 1986. He has been convicted of six counts of arson — and four of those counts were for first-degree arson, stemming from fires set in 1983 and 1994, the judge said.
Kato set Swalwell’s next court date for Tuesday, the deadline for King County prosecutors to file formal charges against him.
Also on Saturday, the Greenwood neighborhood got one of its coffeehouses back, the Green Bean Coffee House, which had been gutted Oct. 23 by one of the many fires. One by one, customers filed in at 8 a.m., and they kept coming, bringing some 400 coffee mugs to replace those lost in the fire.
Business and community leaders came, too, with a $1,000 check for Green Bean and $1,000 checks each for three other businesses burned down that same morning on the northwest corner of this neighborhood’s business hub.
Of all the businesses damaged, some neighbors thought this was the cruelest because Green Bean, a nonprofit, gives its proceeds to help low-income housing, senior centers and other organizations that provide assistance to those in need.
“Greenwood without Green Bean is not a Greenwood we want to be in,” said Stephen Naramore, a local business owner. So on the day firefighters were dousing the flames that had engulfed Green Bean, Naramore e-mailed the Sanctuary Church, which owns Green Bean.
“I haven’t thought this completely through yet,” Naramore recalled saying, “But I have a cafe that you can use.”
Naramore owns Sip & Ship, a coffee shop and shipping service two blocks away. He shut down the coffee-shop portion of his business and allowed Green Bean to rent his cafe space on 8560 Greenwood Ave. N. until it finds a new home.
To have a competitor offer this gesture, “I’m overwhelmed,” said Randy Rowland, CEO of Green Bean and pastor of Sanctuary Church.
Holding five donated coffee mugs on his right hand and three on his left, Rowland cracked a smile that seemed etched on his face all morning.
“Green Bean is a community hub. It needs to be here,” said Naramore, who plans to reopen his coffee shop next spring after Green Bean relocates.
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