mossback

mossback

Vancouver sending heritage homes to the wood chipper

The Vancouver Sun calls spring the “demolition season” in Vancouver, BC. Growth and development in the city are booming, driven in part by demand from…

Is Legislature playing games with initiatives?

Should we be shocked, shocked! that politics is being played in Olympia? Not really, but sometimes, the political activity can raise an eyebrow — and…

The downsides of a (low-carbon) diet

Diets are hard, but sometimes necessary. Olympia is currently debating whether or not to put the state of Washington on the environmental equivalent of the…

The problem with low snowpack? It’s not about the water

One thing this winter is good for, beyond early cherry blossoms and giving hope to those folks who plant palm trees, is that it can…

Reinhold Messner: towering achievements and ego

When my father was a small boy, his father, a Norwegian engineer, took him to see Roald Amundsen and his ship, the Maud, when it…

Wrecking balls gone wild: Biggest heritage losses of the year

Every year, I collect some of the worst failures in heritage and historic preservation on the Pacific Northwest. This edition focuses on some disturbing trends…

A new gold standard for Northwest resilience

Two historic enemies recently achieved a remarkable détente. The agreement grabbed headlines, but for many, the topic was inherently a snoozer: an alliance between the…

In defense of expensive initiatives

The Legislature has taken a bipartisan dislike of initiatives, viewing them as troublesome, annoying and downright uppity. The initiatives either go too far, or not…

Eye-opening study: Seattle is becoming an urban bedroom community

With the cranes gathered on the skyline and a new city comprehensive plan in the works, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray decided it was time to…

My interviews with the Marshawn Lynch of writers

Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawk’s star running back, is famous for his desire to avoid sitting and answering the media’s questions. Hostility to the media is…

Northwest natives: Get over yourselves

The Seattle Times’ Ron Judd set off a ton of conversation with his epic rant a couple of weeks ago about who is, and is…

Change, the voters said. And they are getting it on the City Council

The switch to city council district elections is already working like a charm, shaking up the status quo. This week, two council stalwarts, Nick Licata…

Inslee and Obama are playing a new political game: DOA leadership

Barack Obama’s State of the Union address outlined an ambitious agenda for helping the American middle class, spelling out tax reform (a business tax overhaul),…

How Pam Roach became the Democrats’ choice

The scene of Democrats electing pistol-packin’ Pam Roach to be state Senate president pro tempore is one of those rather delicious moments in the weird…

Crosscut’s 2015 Legislative Watch List

Back in the days of the Washington Territorial Legislature, a newspaper editor wondered what kind of “hell broth” would be cooked up in Olympia. Yes,…

A place for the Kalakala’s scorned steel hide

The San Francisco Bay Area ferry boat Peralta was built in 1927 and embarked on an ill-fated career — a “jinx ship” she was called.…

Seattle process: Does working together make us dumber?

Have you seen that great Demotivator poster? The one that shows a group of hands and reads: “Meetings. None of Us is as Dumb as…

Ready to tunnel into real solutions in 2015?

Looking into my crystal ball — and yes, I have one, an old green Japanese fishing float — I foresee that the year 2015 promises…

The Bertha mess: Did Seattle bring it on itself?

When Seattleites went to the polls about the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, they never really got to weigh in on Bertha, despite what some say.…

A crack in Pioneer Square’s urban renewal

Seattle was wet from the beginning. The town was founded on tide flats and marshes, the nearby soil soaked with runoff. This is rain country,…

How Seattle’s Ferguson protesters got the holidays right

This time of year we're usually thinking about partridges in a pear tree, not pepper spray. But protests about Ferguson have overlapped into the holiday season,…

Ferguson protests evoke urgency of police reform here at home

Tucked away on a sliver of Third Avenue near Jackson Street in Pioneer Square is the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, where exhibits offer a quick…

Cloning a new Woodland Park Zoo elephant?

We're no longer going to have elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo. The last two — Bamboo and Chai — are being sent to another…

Will Seattle tax itself into trouble?

Seattle is in a slow-motion tax crisis. The problem is multifold. Our appetite to do and be good — a progressive model for the nation to…

Penthouse “Apodments” and Homesteading Washington Park

Last week, I participated in a showcase of environmental art, photography, music and storytelling at Town Hall. Sponsored by Forterra, the conservation group, the event…