mossback

mossback

Seattle needs parks, not just ‘parklets’

I admit that my expectations might be way off. I grew up in Seattle in a part of town you might call The People’s Republic…

Mysterious seafloor relic stumps scientists

On a clear day in June 1792, the first tendrils of empire were working their way through the channels and islands of Puget Sound. The…

Exploring a Seattle father’s postwar burdens

For Death Valley, it was a cool spring day — in the mid-90s. We stood on the valley floor, an ancient lake bed of salt…

Preservationists throw in the towel on historic nuclear building

David sometimes beats Goliath, but usually Goliath wins. Outgunned and out financed, preservation advocates have given up on seeking a stay of execution for More Hall…

Remembering Woody Guthrie, warts and all

Woody Guthrie, the legendary wandering minstrel of folk, seems to be having a moment. A new book from Sasquatch documents his time in the Pacific Northwest when…

Welcome to the new, not-so-nice Seattle

Media outlets, including Crosscut, reported this week on a series of text exchanges between Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw in which the…

Airbnb squeezing renters? We’ve seen this before

The Seattle Times reports that Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmember Tim Burgess are proposing to crack down on Airbnb-style rentals in Seattle. They believe…

The twisted logic of Ann Coulter and the Oregon ‘patriots’

With the end of the occupation of eastern Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by right-wing extremists, bird watchers are eagerly reclaiming their right to access…

How the West keeps people of color out of national parks

For those concerned about why people of color stay away from our national parks in droves, here's a thought: It’s not just a history of…

‘Jim Crow’ no more in Washington

All of the "Jim Crow" names on Washington state’s map could be erased before the end of this year. On May 19, the state’s Committee…

Seattle needs another woman mayor

Where’s Bertha? No, not that Bertha, the original Bertha. Where is Seattle’s woman mayor? Seattle has elected exactly one female mayor in our history —…

Hanford’s diverse human history deserves to be told

In late April, the Seattle city council unanimously supported the designation of the Stonewall Inn in New York City as a national monument commemorating the gay…

While city appeals, UW plans to knock down historic building

The battle between the city of Seattle and the University of Washington over the city’s landmarks ordinance is not over. But in the meantime, UW…

In Seattle’s media landscape, everyone’s a startup

Seattle media is being significantly reshaped, undergoing the impacts of technological disruption every bit as significant as climate change. How people get, digest and disseminate…

Sorry Sonics fans, the council made the right call

When the Seattle City Council rejected a proposal to sell off a section of Occidental Avenue to make way for a new sports arena, no one seemed more…

Whitman College ditches Missionaries mascot — part of a fresh look at the West

I recently returned from a 3,500-mile road trip through the American West. By western standards, that’s a jaunt: seven states, multiple national parks, Indian reservations…

How Amazon’s ‘Man in the High Castle’ launched me into a dark Seattle chapter

Many readers have asked me what my inspiration was for digging into Seattle’s Nazi past. Most seemed to assume it had to do with Donald…

Politically correct maps: Damn right.

Changing place names is frequently cited by opponents of a new name as being a trivial pursuit, unworthy of the effort. But the debate that…

UW wins freedom from city’s landmarks law

A King County judge has found that the city of Seattle’s landmarks ordinance does not apply to the University of Washington’s main campus. The decision…

Seattle politicians should curb their arena enthusiasm

There’s something about pro sports that makes us gluttons for punishment. And no, I am not just talking about the annual abuse dished out to…

A Northwest outdoorsman, a Nazi sympathizer

Sixth in a series Pearl Harbor changed everything for America’s Nazi sympathizers. German diplomats had been expelled from the U.S. earlier in 1941. In the…

How Vancouver revived itself. And lost the millennials.

The 30th anniversary of Expo 86 is coming in early May, but there doesn’t seem to be much celebrating in Vancouver. Few dispute the fair…

Could South Park murder have been averted?

Seattle has been home to some of the country’s ablest writers of true crime; the late Ann Rule, whose book about Ted Bundy, The Stranger Beside…

Crosscut: digging, thinking, writing and discovering

Thanks to Crosscut, I’ve spent time with some pretty rough characters lately. My beat at Crosscut is where Northwest history and politics meet. I try…