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Posts published in “Day: July 13, 2007”

Gentrification on the Clearwater


Orofino from above: The main city is toward the center, the Best Western development is under and to the right of the electric power line.

The old timber towns of the Clearwater Valley seem to be in transition. We'd not driven through the Orofino and neighboring area for a while, and we were struck by the new high-end development along the river, especially along the mountainsides overlooking it.

We'd not seen before, either, the Best Western development at Orofino. This is a large-scale development with satellite business, all just east of the main town (to the right of the main town in the picture above). Nice set on the banks of the Clearwater, it has a logical resort look to it - something new, really, in this part of the country. But the country here is beautiful enough that it may not be alone for long.

A middling time in King country

Four years ago, and six, Seattle city politics was running hot - lots of competition, incumbents challenged to the point that they dropped rather than risk the buzzsaw - it was insurgent city. Then two years ago, not so much. Not that people in Seattle had quit complaining (well, of course not) but they seemed to have run out of much desire to do a lot about it.

Today's Joel Connelly column in the Seattle Post Intelligencer seems to suggest a middling course this time. He lists five elected officials on the ballot next month who, he suggests, are endangered. One point of interest here is that the five come from four different units of government - Seattle city council (David Della, owing to a strong challenge from Tim Burgess and a so-so record), Seattle Port Commission (Bob Edwards and Alec Fisken), the Seattle School Board (Sally Soriano), and King County (the newly-named and interim Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, a Republican who has a couple of Democratic challengers).

The port has been getting ever-increasingly lousy headlines of late, and it is in something of a hot spot; but Seattleites still are not likely to start marching in the street over port policy. (Not a prediction that the two won't lose, only that the city isn't likely to be upended by it.) The prosecutor race is a race mainly because of the interim nature of the incumbent - a structural rather than a policy matter. Della has drawn heat partly over the ding that he's, well, unimpressive on the council, not that he's done anything horrendous. The Seattle School Board may be the exeption, since it has taken deeper-level criticism recently than any of the others. But if only Soriano is seriously at risk, that doesn't suggest a hard-core insurgent mood.

Still, as Connelly noted, there's some interest and excitement in each of these races. And: "The cynics be damned. We've got an election."