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    The Daily Troll: That whole ferry breakdown problem. Seattle's bike supremacy. V-O-T-E.

    Feds to apply for pollution permit on Columbia River.
    The Denny, built by Travis Sizemore and the Teague design firm, is the winning bike in a design contest.

    The Denny, built by Travis Sizemore and the Teague design firm, is the winning bike in a design contest. Teague

    Dams' pollution to be disclosed

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to disclose what pollutants enter the Columbia River from eight of its dams and to apply to the Environmental Protection Agency for a permit for oil discharged from the dams' machinery, Associated Press reports. In 2009, the EPA found a number of toxins in Columbia River fish, and environmental groups sued over unmonitored oil discharges. Oil gets into the river from turbines, transformers and other parts of the dams' equipment for generating electricity.

    Ferry system: We're, cough, back 

    Washington State Ferry vessel The Elwha is back in service on its run between Anacortes and Friday Harbor after a scary engine breakdown incident Sunday. After crew members spotted smoke coming out of the engine, ferry passengers were instructed to don lifejackets. The ferry made it to Anacortes on reduced power, but not before badly shaken passengers posted pictures of the incident to social media.

    The ferry system has had plenty of troubles lately, including a breakdown last week that created a massive mess on the busy Bainbridge-Seattle commute. And some folks in the San Juans were already steaming after ferry leadership shut down the international run to Vancouver Island to help stem the Bainbridge-Seattle mess.

    Prominent Democratic state Sen. Kevin Ranker called it an "irresponsible" choice by WSF leadership, though he also directed some of his criticism at his fellow legislators for failing to pass a transportation package. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who technically heads the department, is on the hook too. He's already had to restart the search for a new WSF boss. 

    Our bikes are best. Or will be.

    A new Seattle-based bike design has just won the five-city Bike Design Project contest — a competition that pitted city-based bike designs against each other. Custom bike builder Travis Sizemore led the local team that came up with "The Denny" — which, as KUOW reports, will include a power assist to help with those nasty hills, a small computer to keep the rider at optimum gear, and a lighting system (with turn signals) modeled after a car's to keep riders safe.

    The Denny also includes a removable front handlebar that can be used as a lightweight lock. As KUOW notes, it's technically possible for thieves to saw through the handlebars, but then they'd be stealing a bike with no handlebars. Contest operator Fuji Bikes has promised to have The Denny in stores by next year. Sizemore, who collaborated with the Teague industrial design firm, guesses that the cost will be around $3,000. 

    Elections: Vote now

    The primary election is upon us and ballots must be dropped off before 8 p.m. Tuesday. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 5. Crosscut's has rundown of the key issues here. Note that in King County, some voters received ballot-return envelopes that were already sealed. If you suddenly find you're one, tips on what to do are here.

    Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.

    Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!


    Posted Tue, Aug 5, 7:52 a.m. Inappropriate

    I rode a ferry this past weekend. It was shortly after 4 PM, Seafair weekend. The boat was packed. The galley? Closed. The three vending machines onboard? Out of order. Even under full sail, WSF's management of these boats is abysmal, bush league, embarrassing.


    Posted Tue, Aug 5, 8:02 a.m. Inappropriate

    Ferries and their galley contracts..........could not have done worse.

    Should have stayed with Marriott.


    Posted Tue, Aug 5, 11:05 a.m. Inappropriate

    I guess my ballot is under a stack of magazines on the kitchen table, and I won't be home to look for it until after 8:00. Another victim of our state's scandalous forced-absentee voting system.


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