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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…

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…