Northwest Wonders

Northwest Wonders: Questions for the great beyond

Illustration of a person thinking

1. You ask a question

Illustration of a person voting

2. Vote for your favorite

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3. We dig for answers

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4. We report the story!

You have questions about Seattle, Washington state or the Pacific Northwest. Our reporters want to answer them. That's what Northwest Wonders is for. It’s a Crosscut initiative that invites readers to shape our journalism.

How does it work? Below, you can direct your questions to four reporters, each focused on a different coverage area: Hannah Weinberger (Science and Environment), Agueda Pacheco Flores (Arts and Culture), Manola Secaira (Growth and Change) and Mossback himself, Knute Berger (Northwest history).

Reporters and editors will then look through the questions and decide which we feel capable of answering. Knowing our readership, we’re expecting to receive a lot of thoughtful questions. To narrow it down, we may post a voting round to let other readers weigh in on which questions they want answered most. After that comes the reporting.

Once the reporting is done, we’ll post our resulting journalism — it could be an article, photo, video or a combination of any of those things! You may even get a shout out in the story for sharing your question.

Scroll down to read mission statements from each of our participating reporters and to ask them your questions. You’ll also find the question submission forms at the bottom of all their articles. If you have a general question that doesn’t fit into one of the focus areas, you can submit it at the bottom of this page.

Note: We invite Northwest Wonderers to provide their email address in case a reporter needs to reach out for clarifications or updates. This is completely optional. We'll only use your email to follow up about your submission, and to send you any newsletters you sign up for.

Meet our reporters

What aspect of Northwest history would you like to know more about?

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Editor-at-large

At Crosscut and KCTS 9, my job is to dive into local history and heritage to help explain who we are and how we got that way.

Through opinion columns, reported pieces and my Mossback’s Northwest TV series of short history segments, I am always looking for fascinating and fresh insights into our past, and what it might mean for the present and the future.

In particular, I have done some Mossback segments based on ideas submitted by viewers, and I welcome suggestions for future episodes. I can’t respond to them all, but I consider them and often find them very helpful for long-term thinking.

So if there’s some aspect of Northwest history that has a lesson for us today, please submit your idea. Here are some example questions:

  1. What's the real story behind the pioneer Seattle mail order brides known as the Mercer Girls?
  2. Why is Seattle’s freeway design so terrible? Who designed it?
  3. Can you unlock the mystery of the original Frango ice cream recipe?

What questions do you have about how artists shape local culture, and how it shapes them?

Agueda Pacheco Flores

Staff Reporter

The Northwest is known for its diverse arts and culture scene, from musicians crafting songs in their living rooms to bustling bookstores to world-class art museums and galleries.

But with the influx of tech companies, a higher cost of living and gentrification, creatives are finding it increasingly harder to live in Northwest cities. The region is currently at a tipping point. Will Seattle and other cities be able to sustain a thriving arts community, or will we see an emptying out of creative culture, as people move to more affordable suburbs and small towns? And if that is happening, where are those new arts hubs and what is happening in them?

I'm interested in exploring how the artists all around us are finding ways to make it work. I'm especially interested in how the region's communities of color are making space for the full range of experiences that make up the fabric of our culture. 

Here are some example questions:

  1. How do artists make ends meet? 
  2. Did tech really kill all the art in Seattle? What was the scene like before the Amazon boom?
  3. Where do up-and-coming creatives (musicians, writers, painters, etc.) get started?

What do you want to know about the changes occurring in the Puget Sound region? Ask us anything about housing, growth or other changes.

Manola Secaira

Staff Reporter

Our corner of the U.S. is in a state of metamorphosis. Seattle has been one of the country’s fastest-growing big cities of the past decade and the tectonic plates continue to shift. I am particularly intrigued by the radical changes occurring in the makeup of Washington’s racial demographics. I’m also interested in talking to the people on the frontlines: the locals, the newcomers and those in the margins in our urban areas and beyond. When our region transforms, what are the impacts — and the human stories that help us understand them?

Here are some example questions:

  1. What would an accessible region look like? 
  2. Are big tech companies working to mitigate their impact on housing? How?
  3. Where do people go when their neighborhood is gentrified?

What questions do you have about Washington state's natural world? Ask us anything about climate change, the outdoors or scientific discoveries. 

Hannah Weinberger

Hannah Weinberger

Staff Reporter

Washingtonians are fortunate to live alongside diverse creatures occupying rich landscapes, and we’re often at the vanguard of practices and movements meant to protect them.

But with population explosions in major cities and climate change bearing down, many Washingtonians are realizing that our lifestyles have environmental consequences — many of which come back to bite us.

There’s a lot we’re still figuring out about the planet and our relationship with it, both the good and the not-so-good. I’m fascinated by that dynamic, and want to find answers to your questions about how we use and change the environment, and are in turn changed by it. With your help, we can tell stories about the race to better understand, empower and protect all of the Evergreen State’s inhabitants through science.

Here are some example questions:

  1. Have measures like banning plastic bags or introducing composting in many Washington cities made an impact on our overall waste reduction?
  2. How will climate change affect my favorite Washington hiking routes?
  3. Which scientific fields are diversifying the fastest in Washington state? How come? 

Do you have a burning question you want answered that doesn't fit into any of our focus areas? This is the place to ask us. Let us know what you're wondering about, whether it's big or small.