Monday, May 31, 2010

Is Mount Rainier to become Mount Ti'Swaq

Bob Satiacum was a rabble rousing Puyallup tribal leader who ended up dying in Canada while a fugitive from the U.S.

I don't quite remember what Bob Satiacum did. Was it something over fishing rights?

Bob Satiacum passed his rabble rousing gene on to his namesake son, Robert.

Robert Satiacum is part of an American Indian crusade to restore traditional names of spiritual places in the Pacific Northwest.

Like Mount Rainier.

British explorer George Vancouver made his way around the Northwest re-naming landmarks that had gone by other names for thousands of years.

Today, Memorial Day, Tribal People from all over the Northwest are meeting in Tacoma's Portland Avenue Park for what they are calling the Day of 1000 Drums.

Satiacum says he is not asking that Mount Rainier's name be changed, but what is being asked is that its real name be restored.

The fact that Mount Rainier was named after some obscure British military man is a bit absurd. But, I really don't see people in the Northwest getting used to called the mountain, Mount Ti'Swaq.

Pronounced "tea-swawk". With a hard "k".

Now, up in Alaska, Mount McKinley was changed to Mount Denali without too much upset. And that with a mountain named after an American President, not some British army guy.

But, Denali falls more trippingly from the tongue than Ti'Swaq. At least to my ears.

Is Rainier Beer still being produced? Taking a swig of Ti'Swaq Beer might go over well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mt. St. Helens Harry Truman's Spirit Lives On

It was 30 years ago today that Mt. St. Helens blew up in the one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in recorded history.

Mt. St. Helens had been active for months, leading up to the eruption.

There were restrictions placed on access to the area around Mt. St. Helens.

But it was not a strictly enforced situation.

Harry Truman had a lodge on Spirit Lake in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens. Harry refused to leave his lodge, choosing to ignore the warnings about the danger. Harry did not want to leave the place where his wife was buried and where his 16 cats called home.

Harry Truman sort of came to be an iconic symbol for the people of the Pacific Northwest. His stubbornness was widely admired. I know I liked the ol' coot.

Sometime after 8, that Sunday morning, 30 years ago, May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens suddenly seemed to turn elastic, swelling. And then exploding. Harry Truman, his cats, Spirit Lake and his lodge were buried under a wall of ash, rock and debris.

No remains of Harry Truman, his cats or his lodge were ever found. A new lake has formed where Spirit Lake used to be.

Harry Truman is remembered in various ways in Washington, including in the video and song below. It made me melancholy.....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Seattle #1 Strongest Economy in America, Mount Vernon #47

You are in downtown Mount Vernon, in the picture, looking north at a rainbow that seems to be hitting the bridge across the Skagit River that leads to West Mount Vernon and points beyond, like Anacortes.

A couple days ago a research firm named Policom ranked what they called Metro Area according how strong the various Metro Area's economy was, based on a couple dozen economic factors, like per capita earnings and medical costs.

I have no idea when Mount Vernon/Anacortes became a Metro area, but Policom ranks the Mount Vernon/Anacortes/Skagit Valley Metro Area as the 47th strongest economy in America, ahead of economic powerhouse areas, like Silicon Valley, which came in at #71.

Policom ranks Seattle as the #1 strongest economy in the United States in 2010. Olympia is #14, Portland #24. Check out, below, some of the other Pacific Northwest "Metro" Areas and how they rank, economy-wise, in 2010....

METRO AREA2010 RANK200920082007200620052004
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro (Ore., Wash.)24243049636460
Boise City-Nampa (Idaho)37654866787055
Bellingham (Wash.)427197126162192240
Bend (Ore.)434946617976101
Mount Vernon-Anacortes (Wash.)477098107122108127
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont (Calif.)51416263748680
Bremerton-Silverdale (Wash.)648888106135155192
Kennewick-Pasco-Richland (Wash.)70125137175203237268
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (Calif.)71891041201208973
Spokane (Wash.)109119151194220229193
Medford (Ore.)120938693129102135
Coeur d'Alene (Idaho)124147161160144126109
Eugene-Springfield (Ore.)175148127140160130139
Salem (Ore.)212168158184217194168
Lewiston-Clarkston (Idaho, Wash.)235275283300326327306
Wenatchee-East Wenatchee (Wash.)269255285250277303293
Corvallis (Ore.)270263244222219176147
Yakima (Wash.)278309318304320325337
Longview (Wash.)290273305273294313341

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 18 It Will 30 Years Since the Eruption of Mt. St. Helens

May 18 it will be 30 years since the Pacific Northwest heard the loud explosions that blew apart Mt. St. Helens, sending over 500 million tons of ash into the atmosphere.

The map shows the Mount Saint Helens ash distribution.

How did some of the ash manage to make it to central Oklahoma in an amount sufficient to notice?

The day Mt. St. Helens erupted I had a bad backache. If I remember right, it was a Sunday. I was soaking my aching back in a hot tub of water. I think it was between 8 and 9 in the morning. I heard a loud concussive explosive noise, and then another, 5 booms total.

I'd been camping at San Clemente State Park in California about a month before. San Clemente is due north of Camp Pendleton. I'd heard bombs booming coming from Camp Pendleton. Mt. St. Helens, blowing up, sounding very similar.

About 15 minutes later the next door neighbor waddled over and informed us that the mountain had blown. The following hours were spent watching the TV coverage. This was before the advent of cable news channels.

Only one of the following day's eruptions blew ash in my direction, in Mount Vernon, about 150 miles north of the volcano. We'd been advised to get ash masks. We only got a very light dusting, no mask needed.

I did not see the incredible covering of ash, that buried much of Eastern Washington, til months later. What a mess. It ruined crops, trashed mechanical devices, from cars to air conditioners.

The short term damage was bad, the long term effect of the ash, restoring nutrients to the soil, was a good thing, amping up the already fertile dirt in Eastern Washington. I don't know if this is what led to there being so many grape vineyards in the current day Yakima Valley and today's big wine producing industry.

Anyway, I can't believe it's been almost 30 years since that momentous day. It seems like yesterday, so fresh is it in my memory.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Seven Wonders of Spokane Washington

I have been to various Dick's Drive-ins in the Seattle zone, many a time. Just typing that makes me crave a Dick's Deluxe with Fries and a Strawberry Shake.

I did not know that Spokane had its own famous Dick's burger. Or that the famous Spokane Dick's burger was the #1 Wonder of Spokane.

The next time I pass through the Capital of the Inland Empire I must seek out a Dick's burger.

I think I have seen only 1 of the other Seven Wonders of Spokane, that being Spokane Falls, which was not falling very much the last time I saw it.

Watch the video below so you can learn what Seven Wonders of Spokane you need to visit the next time you are in that part of Eastern Washington...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Expo '74: The Spokane World's Fair

Expo '74, the Spokane World's Fair, took place 36 years ago. Spokane, Washington remains the smallest town to ever host a World's Fair.

Was Spokane motivated to host such a thing due to the success of the Seattle World's Fair? I don't remember.

In a 24 year period the Pacific Northwest was host to 3 successful World's Fairs. Seattle's Century 21 World's Fair, Spokane's Expo '74 and Vancouver's Expo 86.

Of the 3, Expo 86 was by far the biggest. I don't remember it as being a lot of fun. I do remember the United States Pavilion at Expo 86 was really bad. The Washington Pavilion, less embarrassing.

I saw Expo '74 near its close. The Spokane River was about dried up, so the big waterfall that was seen in all the Expo '74 commercials was not available for viewing.

I do not remember Expo '74 as being all that much fun. This was the world's first green event, an Environmental Fair. So, General Motors showed cars of tomorrow, you know, great gas savers, electric cars, that, even now, decades later, only sort of exist.

The main thing I remember was somehow managing to sneak in the back way into the USSR Pavilion. It had a real sinister feeling. It was my first up close look at a big Lenin statue. By Expo 86 the Soviets had become all peace loving and less quarrelsome, so their Pavilion was all about loving mankind, to the cheers of the Canadians. I don't remember much cheering in the American Pavilion at Expo 86.

At Expo '74 the Washington Pavilion was a theater, if I remember right, sort of what would now be called a multi-media show. The U.S. Pavilion was a centerpiece of the Spokane World's Fair. All environment oriented. But, all I remember is a cool holograph thing of Chief Seattle, or was it Chief Joesph? Saying some memorably iconic thing that I can't remember.

Anyway, below is a YouTube video that gives a bit of a flavor of the Spokane World's Fair, Expo '74...