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Crosscut serves the Pacific Northwest with trustworthy, in-depth information that allows the community to hold its leaders accountable. We show how global and local current affairs change our lives, and how Seattle and the surrounding region changes the world. The stories we tell are bigger than us, and it’s our mission to engage you in them. Creating a better informed PNW is a team effort, and we cannot do it without your support.

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Thorough, conscientious research

Interviews with community leaders and archival inquiries informed reporting on the Snoqualmie Tribe’s triumphant land reclamation​.

Press conference next to Snoqualmie Falls
Members of the Snoqualmie Tribe announce the purchase of the Salish Lodge & Spa from the Muckleshoot Tribe during a Nov. 1, 2019, press conference at Snoqualmie Falls. The purchase includes the land surrounding the falls and totals approximately 45 acres of the Snoqualmie Tribe’s traditional territory. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

Manola Secaira is the Indigenous Affairs Reporter at Crosscut. She covers stories involving Native communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Find her on Twitter @mmsecaira or email at

Struggles to preserve ancestral lands are unfortunately routine, and it’s not often that a tribe gets a win. That’s why, when the Snoqualmie Tribe announced that they’d purchased a parcel of land that included their most sacred site, Snoqualmie Falls, it was huge.

But these battles aren’t won overnight. The purchase came after decades of work. To learn about the history of Snoqualmie Falls and its surrounding area, I dug through the Seattle Public Library’s special collections for archived photos and old clips. In them, you can see the falls as they once were, before the waves of tourism and renovation: overflowing and largely left alone. You can see a treeline on either side of the falls in a photo from the early 1900s, the water cascading down, before it was partially torn down to build a resort.

“Our work isn’t done,” Lois Sweet Dorman, a Snoqualmie tribal elder, told me at the announcement. “But today we’re celebrating. We’re here and we’re not going away.”

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Representing the full diversity of the Pacific Northwest

The Crosscut documentary The Rising is the result of a year of gaining the trust of a community whose stories are often mishandled or remain untold.

3 people are sitting on a stage and speaking to an audience.
Crosscut managing editor Mark Baumgarten listens as science and environment editor Ted Alvarez and producer Sarah Hoffman talk about their documentary. (James Pitts for Crosscut)

Sarah Hoffman is a video producer at Crosscut and KCTS 9, focusing on science and the environment. Find her on Twitter @SarahJHoffman or email at

Ted Alvarez is an editor at Crosscut and KCTS 9 focused on science and the environment. Find him on Twitter @Tedster or email at

On this podcast, Science & Environment producer Sarah Hoffman and editor Ted Alvarez talk about how they made The Rising, a new Crosscut documentary that chronicles one tribe’s efforts to escape the rising sea in a changing climate on the Olympic Peninsula.

Ted Alvarez: After a year of reporting, your first documentary, The Rising, is out in the world. How does it feel?

Sarah Hoffman: After spending so much time out there, it feels amazing to share it with everyone in the Quinault Indian Nation who was part of the story. For Washington and the Northwest as a whole, it was great to introduce them to a community that maybe they’ve driven by, or were vaguely aware of, without realizing what was at stake.

TA: What was the hardest part of the story to get?

SH: The hardest part was having patience, because there were certain spaces and places, like ceremonies, that weren’t for us. We wanted to earn permission and access to those sacred spaces where appropriate, so it took a long time.

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Local public policies and holding elected officials accountable

Homelessness is often discussed in the abstract, but reporter David Kroman has been able to highlight the concrete human impact of our regions policies and economic changes in his “On the Margins” series.

A mother is holding her daughter while standing outside.
Kaylee Tessan Joseph and her daughter, Alaina, 4, outside of their Bellevue apartment on April 6, 2020. Joseph was laid off from Applebee’s because of COVID-19. She applied for unemployment and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help while she is out of work. SNAP applications have gone up 105% in recent weeks. Along with unemployment applications going up as people are losing work, three safety net benefits (TANF, SNAP and HEN) have seen big jumps in applications as many families already on the margins prepare for a longer-term struggle. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

David Kroman is a staff reporter at Crosscut focused on local politics. Find him on Twitter at @KromanDavid or email at

It wasn’t supposed to be a series. I wanted to write one story about how Seattle’s homeless population was aging and becoming less healthy.

The idea was borne out of a conversation in City Hall about how the Seattle Fire Department should respond to “low-acuity” calls — 911 calls that maybe didn’t need to be 911 calls. Many of these fire department responses were going to the city’s largest shelters, and the mayor and city council wanted to find an alternative to sending a whole crew to answer a call.

But what I heard was larger than just the burden on 911. What I heard was that shelters were overwhelmed, increasingly tasked with looking after people who could not or should not be looking after themselves.

What this represented was a weakened safety net not set up to deal with what were really end-of-life issues. As the cost of living across the county has skyrocketed in recent years, we’ve seen a widening of the margins of who’s vulnerable to losing their housing.

Link to series page:


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

Matt is a visual journalist at Crosscut. Find him on Twitter and Instagram, or e-mail him

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.

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