I'm taking nominations for the 2010 edition of the "Heritage Turkey Awards," which I inaugurated on Crosscut last year. The list recognizes the worst setbacks in historic preservation and heritage advocacy in the Pacific Northwest: buildings bulldozed, historic sites damaged, precious artifacts destroyed, policy blunders. You, sadly, know the drill.
Last year, the list featured a National Register-eligible farmhouse blown up for a Hollywood horror movie, a Paul Thiry church razed for a parking lot, the neglect of an historic Pantages theater in Vancouver, BC, and the destruction of the historic sailing ship Wawona. These are just a few prime examples of heritage disasters in 2009.
The search for this year's Heritage Turkeys is off to a good (bad?) start, taking place on fertile ground with budget cuts, misguided transportation projects, and bad ideas forming a year-long bumper crop. If you have a Turkey suggestions for me, something that took place, didn't take place, or should have taken place this year in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia or Alaska, please drop me a line or make a comment below.
Now, lest you think I am Mr. Negative, there are some good things that have happened in heritage this year. One, that I've covered, is the endangered Moran School building on Bainbridge Island which, we learned this last week, just might be spared. (Reporter Tristan Baurick of the Kitsap Sun is all over the story.) There are several interested buyers and the owner, Soundcare, is staying the wrecking ball, at least for now, to see if any of the potential bidders pan out. Chris Moore at the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation says there's a long way to go, but he's feeling optimistic.
Another non-Turkey development: Crosscut's move to The Globe Building in Pioneer Square, the old Elliott Bay Book Co. space. I've been writing about Pi Square revitalization efforts for the last year (see here, here and here). Strides are being made and I'm personally thrilled that Crosscut is now part of the solution, as well as part of pointing out the problems. Maybe this is what David Brewster means when he talks about "constructive journalism."