Tourist’s Guide to Seattle

Paul Allen’s Vulcan, Inc. and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon are competing to impose their own redevelopment visions on Seattle. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, got started first with his very own, taxpayer funded football stadium south of downtown and his in-progress makeover of south Lake Union on the northern edge of downtown. Bezos is coming on strong, with his new Amazon headquarters taking over central downtown… unless the city tries to levy a new tax; then he’s outta there.

Seattle still has a few quirky attractions that residents are proud to show off to visitors. They demonstrate how hip and creative they are, and are serious evidence that they do not take themselves too seriously.

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Help Wanted; Tape Provided

Last year, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive sued the Trump administration for violations of the Presidential Records Act. Their claim is that White House staff has been using encrypted messaging applications – that automatically delete messages – for internal correspondence. The Records Act requires that all White House communications be captured for posterity.

Our president uses a more rudimentary method of expunging written documents: he rips up the pages, sometimes with a single tear down the middle, sometimes shredding the paper into confetti-sized pieces, sometimes tossed into the trash, other times scattered on the floor.

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Illegal Immigrants Stealing Our Food

Oregonians have long complained about Californians invading their state, driving up property values, crowding state parks, even trying to pump their own gas. Now there is a new threat: predators from California have invaded the Willamette River and are eating the salmon as they try to make their way up the river to spawn.

Blame Richard Nixon. The President signed the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972. Since then the population of California sea lions has more than quadrupled, from around 70,000 to 300,000. Its cousin, the Steller sea lion, has increased its population from 30,000 to 70,000. By the late 1980s, sea lions were preying on fish runs at the Ballard Locks in Seattle. For years the invaders have been eating so many Columbia River salmon there has been debate about what to do with them – should their numbers be reduced by “euthanizing” some?

Biologists estimate that California sea lions ate at least 18 percent of returning adult steelhead through the first two months of this year. Adding insult to injury, about twenty-five California sea lions have made their home in the Willamette River near Portland. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife captured and transported three of them to the ocean near Newport. They swam the 230 miles back in less than four days.

Maybe they should be deported to Pier 39 at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, where the tourists think they’re cute. Or Sea Lion Caves near Florence Oregon where tourists pay money to climb down 250 stairs to watch them play. Then we could find out how much they really like Salmon.