Grey Matters: Seattle Then and Now

Whither Seattle? Knute Berger provides some perspective on where we’ve been and where we’re heading

Since we’ve got a year or two to go until the Mayan calendar runs out, there’s still a chance to think reflectively before the end of the world. There’s no denying that world has been changing, and so, too, our corner of it. Today’s Seattle is not the old Seattle that we knew. I’ve been sifting through our civic storage unit and have come up with a list that documents the changes. January is a good time to make such lists, because we can see clearly where we’ve been and where we are. It’s up to you to determine where we’re going in 2011.

Free parking downtown! Bikes Rule!
Dick's, Dag's and Herfy's The $12 burger at Luc
Dutch babies and Swedish pancakes Designer cupcakes and doughnuts
Gai's Bakery Gay friendly
Saving the P-I Saving the P-I globe
Hating The Seattle Times' ridiculous editorials Hating The Seattle Times' monopoly on ridiculous editorials
Grumpy school nurses Global health
Having a neighbor kid mow your lawn Growing corn on your parking strip
Pioneer Square South Lake Union
Fighting over the downtown tunnel Fighting over the waterfront tunnel
Designing the Space Needle on a napkin Spending millions on a preliminary concept for a waterfront park
Riding the waterfront streetcar Riding light rail
Skirmishes between the City Council and the mayor All-out war between the City Council and the mayor
Barrels of lutefisk Ballard condos
Moving to Bellevue to escape diversity Discovering Bellevue has more diversity
Riding the Wild Mouse in the Fun Forest Demanding green space at Seattle Center
Hydro drivers Bike anarchists
Green Lake Aqua Follies Sounders and Storm
The dollhouse at the Museum of History & Industry Eco mini-houses and backyard cottages
Vacant lots Green Roofs
The Rainier Club The Cascade Bicycle Club
John Keister Jon Stewart
TV weathermen cartooning Cliff Mass blogging
Totem poles Calder’s “Eagle” at Olympic Sculpture Park
J.P. and Gertrude Dina Martina and Waxie Moon
Nordstrom moves to Frederick & Nelson Elliott Bay Book Co. moves to Capitol Hill
Filling swamps creates new neighborhoods Restoring wetlands creates salmon habitat
Fines for jaywalking Fines for not recycling
Flushing the toilet into Lake Washington Cleaning up toxins in the Duwamish River
Mariners, Seahawks and Sonics suck Mariners, Seahawks and Huskies suck
Say “Seattle” and the chief will roll over in his grave Say “Seattle” and people think “tiny island of liberal dysfunction”