mossback

mossback

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…

The Nazis’ last days in the Northwest

This is the fifth in a special series about the forgotten history of Nazis in the Northwest. The series starts here. Fritz Wiedemann is “probably the…

Did Seattle’s mayor give a Hitler salute?

This is the fourth in a special series about the forgotten history of Nazis in the Northwest. The series starts here. “[T]he mayor was up there and…

In this living city, layers of meaning and memory

The landscape is squishy with memory for me, like a soggy sponge or bed of moss. Memories ooze when I step onto familiar ground. Two…

The ‘Battle in Seattle’ revisited

I recently wrote a story for another publication in which I passingly referred to WTO and got an editor’s note back. Young and new to…

Rick Steves knows how to push pot to voters

Rick Steves has changed the way middle America sees the world through his European guidebooks, tours, columns, PBS television and public radio shows. He’s a…

A venture capitalist and a socialist are exporting Seattle’s progressivism

Seattle has long exported jets, software, music and Kindles. Now the city is in a new phase of exporting: pushing its progressive politics. We’ve aspired…

Oregon occupiers aside, there’s restlessness about West’s governance

The occupation of Malheur National Wildlife refuge in southern Oregon has generated national attention to rural angst and the revolutionary discontent in the West. While…

Seattle’s real fear of change: loss of the middle class

Seattle’s bedrock is slipping. No, it’s not a subduction zone, but perhaps a subtraction one. Nationally, the middle-class is an endangered species. In 1970, some 60…

Oregon standoff: White and exempt in the wide open West

A splinter group of anti-government militants has occupied a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Southern Oregon. They include the sons of Cliven…

Best of 2015: The untold story of Seattle’s racist mayor

This week Crosscut is running some of our best stories of the year, as selected both by our writers and by popularity with readers. We will…

Did you just say ‘The’ Puget Sound?

Place names shape what Reuben Rose-Redwood — an associate professor of Geography at the University of Victoria in British Columbia — calls our “geographical imagination.”…

KeyArena still has a winning play

An NBA basketball arena for Seattle seems to be operating in the Bertha Zone: The city is committed to a stalled effort with an expanding…

Bertha: The big risks may lie ahead

We’re coming up on the second anniversary of Bertha’s big break down. The tunnel diggers hope to have her boring again on Dec. 23. If…

Gum on the wall: How Seattle’s strangest tourist attraction reflects the city’s identity

Now this is a classic Seattle debate: chewing over the meaning of the Post Alley gum wall. This is Seattle’s most disgusting landmark, but a…

Lost in the Amazon: E-retailer’s new store turns magic into mundane

With Amazon Prime, I ordered a personal Amazon drone to deliver me speedily to the new Amazon Bookstore. Amazon Books is the only bookstore of…

In praise of the humble bungalow

Earlier this year, Seattle’s single-family zoning suffered a near-death experience when Mayor Ed Murray’s affordable housing panel endorsed what would be an effective citywide up-zoning…