mossback

mossback

Confederate symbols also blight the Northwest

We might seem removed from controversies like the one over the Confederate flag, but we’re not. The Pacific Northwest was very much involved in the…

My own ethnic identity ‘fraud’

Before the scandal in Spokane over the racial identity of the now former head of the local NAACP, I was preparing to make my own…

Does Seattle understand how to nurture its own creativity?

Just how creative is Seattle? We’re known as a city that has a burgeoning “creative class,” defined largely by people in the business research sector…

The little white house. And the medical visionary who made a difference.

It sat on 18th Avenue in Squire Park, across from the backside of Providence Hospital. It was a little, white turn-of-the-century house — it could…

Smoking in parks and motorcycles on sidewalks: Lessons from Italy

Seattle is banning all smoking in city parks. You already can’t drink in city parks, either. These are essentially civility laws designed to curb the…

Should Washington’s death penalty be dropped?

Is it time to kill the death penalty in Washington? That question has been brought to the fore in the last year. Gov. Jay Inslee…

Mossback does Milan’s Expo 2015

The “selfie” makes a perfect metaphor for a world’s fair: an event where the nations of Earth gather to show off what they know, and…

Survival of the richest: priced out of Seattle

An old colleague and friend recently sent out an appeal for help. Due to health and financial problems, he and his partner were struggling to…

Why Seattle should root for Tukwila’s arena

The plan to build a privately funded hockey and basketball arena in Tukwila is welcome and could be a big win for the region, especially…

Why everywhere is “The next South Lake Union”

South Lake Union is an urbanist bright spot, a soulless scourge and a popular meme. Seattleites have mixed feeling about what has been wrought there.…

Treasurer’s funding idea: Something there?

It’s not often you see folks who hold statewide elective office embrace the third rail of Washington politics, but state Treasurer Jim McIntire, a Democrat, has…

Landmark mansion is demolished, quietly

A Seattle landmark has been quietly razed, taking preservationists by surprise. The so-called George Carmack House at 16th and E. Jefferson in the Central District…

Seattle quake: Waiting on big one

The earthquake in Nepal is a jolting reminder of our own vulnerabilities. Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the 6.5 earthquake that rocked Seattle at 8:29…

Resisting Shell: Another WTO for Seattle?

A “Festival of Resistance” is planned for mid-May as kayaking environmental activists and others promise to meet the arrival of Shell’s Arctic oil rig on…

Seattle’s name: Ripe for a change that you can make.

A little more than a year ago, in my monthly column for Seattle magazine, I put forward the idea that Seattle needs a new nickname. We’ve been…

Will Washington state stop neglecting its own history and heritage?

Back when the recession hit and the budget watering holes in Olympia began to dry up, heritage advocates experienced some dark days. During the Christine…

Too soon to pull the plug on state auditor

State Auditor Troy Kelley, a Democrat, is under federal investigation, as is a key aide, Jason Jerue, who works from his home in California. Kelley…

Seattle’s facadism fetish makes fools of history & progress

Is Seattle history becoming skin-deep? You could be excused for thinking so. Efforts to preserve local “character” while accommodating massive development have seen a revival…

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…