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Our readers count on Crosscut to feature local stories they can’t find anywhere else. With teams focused on news and politics, arts and culture, and science and the environment, Crosscut goes in-depth to help people understand our corner of the world and how they can be a part of shaping it for the better. Learn more about the work that goes into the reporting you rely on.

Thorough, conscientious research

The pandemic took a toll on Seattle’s tourism industry. Crosscut analyzed how doubling a hotel fee could aide the industry's return and how an increase in tourism may impact the area's housing crisis. Read an excerpt from the June 2022 article below.

Office buildings reflected in a glass window in downtown Seattle
Downtown skyscrapers are relected on the hotel rooms at the citizenM Seattle South Lake Union hotel on Friday, June 24, 2022. Seattle doubled its per-night tourism fee on hotel rooms from $2 to $4. (Amanda Snyder/ Crosscut)
Josh Cohen

Josh Cohen is Crosscut’s city reporter covering Seattle government, politics and the issues that shape life in the city. He was previously Crosscut’s changing region reporter as well as a freelancer for outlets such as Shelterforce Magazine, The Nation, The Guardian and Next City. Reach him at or on Twitter at @jcohenwrites.

The pandemic cratered the tourism industry in Seattle. In the before-times, nearly 40 million tourists would visit the city and King County each year, almost 22 million of them staying overnight. It was an $8 billion industry and supported about 80,000 hotel and hospitality jobs in King County.

In 2020, there were only 10 million overnight visitors. Hotel occupancies dropped from 80% in 2019 to 26% in 2020.

Now, as summer 2022 finally gets underway in Seattle, tourists are walking the waterfront, cruise ships are arriving and hotel occupancy rates are climbing back up to 60%. To help aid that recovery and ensure more visitors come and stay in the city, the hospitality industry is turning to what may seem like a counterintuitive approach: a higher fee on hotel rooms.

The Seattle Tourism Improvement Area is an 11-year-old special assessment authority that requires 70 hotels in the greater downtown core to charge a per-room, per-night fee. When it was created in 2011, the STIA fee was set at $2 per-room, per-night. In March, the Seattle City Council voted to double it to $4. Visit Seattle, the city’s tourism promotion group, said the doubled rate will allow them to bolster their marketing efforts to aid the industry’s recovery and compete with better-funded markets like Portland.

Link to original article:

Seattle doubled its hotel fee. Here's where the money is going


Representing the full diversity of the Pacific Northwest

Crosscut interviewed a coalition of Yakima Valley voters about new redistricting lines voters say dilute Latino voter strength by excluding key communities. Read an excerpt from the January 2022 article:


District 1 City Council candidate Eliana Macias, 28, speaks with resident Elizabeth Hererra while canvassing in Yakima, Wash. in this, Oct. 20, 2019 file photo. Macias won her election that year. A coalition of Yakima Valley voters says the newly redrawn 15th Legislative District dilutes Latino voter strength by excluding key Latino communities. (Jason Redmond for Crosscut)
District 1 City Council candidate Eliana Macias, 28, speaks with resident Elizabeth Hererra while canvassing in Yakima, Wash. in this, Oct. 20, 2019 file photo. Macias won her election that year. A coalition of Yakima Valley voters says the newly redrawn 15th Legislative District dilutes Latino voter strength by excluding key Latino communities. (Jason Redmond for Crosscut)
Mai Hoang

Mai Hoang is the Central/Eastern Washington reporter for Crosscut, where she seeks to provide a broader perspective on what is happening east of the Cascades and the region's relationship with the rest of the state. Find her on Twitter @maiphoang or on Facebook, or you can e-mail her at

The lawsuit takes issue with the commission’s move to exclude adjacent and heavily Latino communities in Yakima County from the 15th District and instead includes more rural white communities from Benton, Grant and Franklin counties.

The suit claims the district is drawn to increase the voting strength of white voters, who tend to vote against candidates preferred by Latino voters. While the district has a slight majority of Latino voters,it excludes a politically cohesive group of Latino voters in areas such as Toppenish and Wapato for places like Othello, which includes fewer politically active Latino voters.  

“I think the very simple issue is that Latino communities don’t have a decisive voice when it comes to their elected officials,” said David Morales, a Yakima attorney and treasurer of the Southcentral Coalition of People of Color for Redistricting. “That is a basic problem of democracy.”

Link to original article:

Latino voters file lawsuit over Washington redistricting plan

Holding a lens to local institutions

A year after an influential doctor resigned from Seattle Children’s Hospital, Crosscut followed up with other hospital staff members who think the leadership has fallen short in rectifying its history with racism. Read an excerpt from the December 2021 article:


An exterior view of Seattle Children’s Hospital
People still have concerns about the hospital’s treatment of people of color, a year after Dr. Ben Danielson resigned over the issue. (Genna Martin/Crosscut)
Maleeha Syed

Maleeha Syed is a staff reporter at Crosscut focusing on the various communities that make up Washington, writing with a focus on equity. Find her on Twitter @MaleehaSyed89 and email at

Community members have demanded more from Seattle Children’s since a beloved physician and leader, Dr. Ben Danielson, resigned last November, alleging the institution had failed to address racism in its medical facilities. One year later, the medical center’s critics, including Danielson, say its leaders have not done enough. 

“You take a person who’s drowning 300 feet below the surface and you bring them up 100 feet and then you get celebrated for saving them,” Danielson recently told Crosscut. “They’re still drowning.”

People with ties to Seattle Children’s recently expressed their frustrations with the hospital’s leadership. In their eyes, those at the top have fallen short in taking responsibility and acting transparently over the past year. These individuals said they want to see more clarity about the institution’s struggle with racism and equity, more accountability of the alleged harm that has occurred, and new leadership. 

One former employee among those who want change in the hospital’s top brass spoke of an alleged incident last March. During a staff meeting, the individual asked why emails announcing the resignations of people of color from Seattle Children's Foundation Board of Trustees did not include the same praise as emails for white people who were leaving. The person who shared this story wished to remain anonymous because of fear of professional repercussions resulting from Seattle Children’s prominence in the community.

Link to original article:

A year later, Seattle Children's remains troubled by racism issues

Highlighting the work of creators in our community

Through her connections in Seattle's art community, Arts & Culture editor Brangien Davis was able to report on the early stages of an exciting project from an emerging filmmaker.

Cast members perform kung fu flips
Cast members (left to right) Brian Le, Andy Le and Phillip Dang rehearse a fight scene for ‘The Paper Tigers’ set at an empty pool in Shoreline, Aug. 22, 2019.
Brangien Davis

Brangien Davis is the arts and culture editor at Crosscut. Find her on Twitter @brangien or email her at​

During the shoot for The Paper Tigers, local director Bao Tran’s forthcoming kung fu comedy, the haze machine set off alarms at the community center in Shoreline, where a critical fight scene was about to unfold. “I’m surprised Bao didn’t write that into the script,” joked Doug Palmer, a lifelong Seattleite and student of Bruce Lee. Palmer, who helped fund the film, was hanging around the set, thrilled to watch the work in progress. “I think Bruce really would’ve liked this,” he said.

The Paper Tigers has a ways to go — months of post-production, submissions to film festivals, trying to get picked up for distribution. And who knows where the cast and crew will be 40 years from now. But that day on set, possibility and promise hung in the air along with the manufactured haze.

Link to original article:

Hollywood wanted ‘fewer Asians’ in a new kung fu film. This Seattle director stuck to his script

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