George Washington owned slaves. Should we rename the state?

Our American legacy of slavery and racism is being wrestled with everywhere. We’ve gone from demanding removal of the Confederate flag to rethinking the Star…

Rethinking Seattle: What if we could start over?

Consider our “natural” city. In the last 150 years, we have reshaped the local landscape on the greatest scale since a vast ice sheet moved into…

Is this the worst election ever?

This sometimes feels like the worst presidential election of my lifetime. Then I remember: Oh, 1968. Bobby was assassinated. OK, there have been worse. In…

Tearing down walls this election year, not building them

This election season seems to have a theme of walls. Donald Trump has proposed building a tall, “beautiful” wall along the United States’ border with…

Sorry, Trump, ‘political correctness’ has its benefits.

A GOP talking point of this election cycle is that “political correctness” is killing America. Donald Trump, who is passing through Puget Sound this week,…

A city slicker finds the ultimate place to unplug

I grew up on Puget Sound, where islands meant a chance of solitude and escape. I’ve long assumed such experiences required water, but I recently…

Can ghosts save Colfax?

Editor's note: Crosscut columnist Knute Berger has been examining the challenges facing Washington's rural communities, even in the middle of a boom for urban areas.…

Funeral for a piece of Seattle’s atomic past

How do you lay a landmark to rest? Holding a wake is one idea. Advocates of the saving More Hall Annex, aka the Nuclear Reactor Building,…

As Seattle booms, we’re trashing our history

A version of this column appeared in the July issue of Seattle Magazine. It has been updated. The annual list of “most endangered” historic properties…

Is there ancient treasure to be found on our coasts?

The Oregon coast is encrusted with vacationers this time of year, many of them beach combing for items ranging from Japanese fishing floats and tsunami…

Give City Council more power in neighborhoods

Mayor Ed Murray’s abrupt dismissal of the three-decades old district council system neatly encapsulates the dynamic neighborhood activists have complained of for generations: Seattle process…

With Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Battle of Seattle goes mainstream

The WTO anti-globalization demonstrations of 1999 — the so-called “Battle in Seattle” — have pretty much faded into history. Some have debated their lasting effect…

Rebranding the Seattle waterfront

Sometime after 2020, Seattle will wake up to a spanking new waterfront. Assuming Bertha finishes her work, the Alaskan Way Viaduct is replaced with a…

UW’s ‘Nuke Building’ bites the dust

For nearly a decade, students and faculty at University of Washington, as well as Seattle preservationists, have fought to protect the More Hall annex — also…
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