mossback

mossback

Busting the myth of two Washingtons

In the wake of the election, some would tear Washington state asunder. The returns showed a deep red-blue divide between rural and urban areas, as…

Belles of the wrecking ball: Meet 2016’s Heritage Turkeys

For 2016, here’s a “basket of deplorables": our annual collection of failures, crimes and bad behavior when it comes to protecting — or rather, not…

The best Northwest nonfiction of 2016

Here’s my mossy list of the year’s best reads in Northwest nonfiction, with an emphasis on, surprise, history. Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker…

Courts rule on future of Pioneer Square, Olympic National Park

Two recent legal decisions have notched significant wins for heritage and historic preservation in both wild and urban settings in the Pacific Northwest. One will…

Why Seattle can’t let go of the past

The media is full of stories bemoaning change in Seattle. Old cafes closing, landmarks demolished, efforts to save legacy businesses like that dive bar down…

How fascism crept into America

Since the presidential election Nov. 8, there has been much discussion of the “f” word, as President-elect Donald Trump and some of his advisors and…

Portland has what Seattle lost

For a Seattleite, entering Oregon is like visiting a foreign country. It’s familiar, but an alternate reality. Here we pump our own gas, in Oregon…

How animals have shaped Seattle. And still do.

Animals have played enormous roles in shaping of modern cities, though few of us stop to think about it. Take Boston, which was developed around…

A solution for Seattle’s homeless: Bring Hooverville back

With the debate raging over how best to deal with homeless encampments in the Seattle region, and no consensus on how to deal with the…

The War on Bikes should be history

The Seattle Police Department is investigating who has been spreading carpet tacks along the Westlake bike track in recent weeks. At first speculated to have…

How Seattle stopped a freeway, and may gain a monument

Maybe’s it’s an “only in Seattle” type of story, but for years citizen activists have been trying to get the state to preserve a small…

Seattle Nasty: The new politics, and how we got here

“How did we get so nasty?” a relative newcomer to Seattle asked me recently about our local political tone. In a city where most people…

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,…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

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…