I went down to South Lake Union today to check out the construction on the old Seattle Times Building’s site.
The original Seattle Times Building was completed in 1931 with offices and newspaper printing presses and all. Operations stopped there in 2011, and were moved to Bothell (some 20 miles from of Seattle). The real estate and buildings were sold in 2013 to a company from Vancouver. The developer has to preserve the exterior facade and roof of the Seattle Times Building, since these were designated a Seattle city landmark in 1996. It’s a little weird that only the exterior walls and roof of a building can be designated a landmark! .. but at least some semblance of the old building remains. The developer has already demolished all of the inside, and while the rooftop is not built on, it is getting a make-over with landscaping and seating.
Bryan and I made a run out to Kitsap peninsula for dinner with friends. We stopped at Norwegian Point to catch a little of the beautiful fall weather, and then made it down to Bainbridge Island for dinner at a restaurant-store called Via Rosa 11: great wood-fired pizza, and other Italian food.
We stayed over in the town of Omak on Wednesday night, and made our way back to Seattle on Thursday over the North Cascades* with Highway 20. It’s about a 5 hr drive without stops, to go from Omak to Twisp, Winthrop, Newhalem, Darrington and then with I-5 (or I-405) to Seattle. It was a crisp morning when we started back from Omak (47 °F/ 8°C), but back in Seattle it was a record warm day for Sept 28 at (85°F/ 29 °C).
*The Cascade Range or ‘Cascades’ is a major mountain range of western North America, extending from southern British Columbia in Canada through Washington State and Oregon and into Northern California.
The Seattle Aquarium biologists are hosting a ‘Sea Otter Awareness’ day this weekend. Sea otters are native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean.
Once almost hunted to extinction for their fur (the densest fur on all animals), their numbers have improved over the last century, but they are still an endangered species. Sea otters keep sea urchin populations in check, which would otherwise inflict extensive damage to kelp forest ecosystems (information from Wikipedia).
I swept fine ash from the wildfires off my deck and front porch on Wednesday. The smoky, hazy sky hung around, but on-shore breezes on Thursday should start to take care of some of the smoke. But to help the firefighters, it really needs to start raining here in the Pacific Northwest.
The sunset (7.45 pm) catches me some of these days, before I start out on my after-dinner walk, and then I have to stick to the main streets with lighting. It’s OK/ safe to walk in the dark here, but one can bump into people coming around the corner, or stumble on uneven paving! Here are two pictures from 15th Ave here on Capitol Hill.
Here in Seattle we leave behind one of the driest July-Augusts on record. The rainfall total of 0.02 inches at Seattle-Tacoma airport ties the figure for 1914.
The new school year is starting here, reminding me that Sept. 1 was called lentedag (‘spring day*’) when I was a kid in school in South Africa. To mark the day, we were allowed not to wear our school uniforms .. and I would always scratch my head as to what to wear!
*Even though the official start of spring would start later in September, same day when fall starts here in the North.
Do we have sharks in Puget Sound? I wondered, when I saw a shark ‘floatie’ at a store here in Kingston on the Kitsap Peninsula. Answer: yes, some 11 species, shown on the handy guide produced by the Seattle Times. These are mostly docile sharks (no Great White), and only three are seen regularly and called ‘resident’ sharks.
I went out to Seattle’s Green Lake on Sunday night to catch a little bit of the annual ‘From Hiroshima to Hope‘ gathering there. It’s been 72 years since the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. A banner at Green Lake pointed out that barely 20 miles west of Seattle, at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base, one finds the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the United States. Last month, the United Nations reached its first agreement to ban nuclear weapons. But it’s complicated : Japan, alongside the nine nuclear-armed nations*, including the United States, refused to take part in the negotiations and the vote.
*United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea (!). The entire Southern Hemisphere is free of nuclear weapons.
It’s Seafair weekend here in the city, a tradition since 1950 : air shows over Lake Washington, a hydroplane race, and warships at the waterfront that are open to visitors. So we went on down to the waterfront to check out the USS Michael Murphy there.
Well, we got up to 94°F (34°C) today, a new same-day record high.
There is lot of smoke is drifting down from wildfires in Canada, and the air is noticeably hazy, even at short distances.
With the haze, it’s possible to see sunspots on the sun as it rises and sets, using a telescope. (Sunspots are regions of reduced surface temperature caused by concentrations of magnetic field flux. They may last a few days or a few weeks or months, but eventually decay).
It’s high summer here in Seattle, and the meteorologists say we will hit 98°F (37°C) by Thursday, before it cools down a bit. Still no rain in sight. So after a record 44″ of rain this past winter (average is 30″), we’re now headed for a record number of dry days of no rain (measured at Seattle-Tacoma airport; there was just a smidge of rain in the city last Thursday).
It’s been a great summer so far here in Seattle, with temperatures in the 70’s to low 80’s (20 to 28°C). It’s been drier than usual though, with the blue skies now closing in on a record stretch of days with no measurable rain.
King 5 (local TV station here in Seattle) is running a campaign to make residents aware of the need to be prepared for a disaster. It could be .. a Meteor | a Missile from North Korea | a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake & tsunami. I think the quake is most likely, given that we are way overdue, now 317 years into an estimated 243-year cycle (gulp) for the region’s recorded 9.0 earthquakes over the last 10,000 years. (The last 9.0 quake was in 1700 and there should have been another one by 1943!).
Below is King 5’s suggested check list. I highlighted the main topics in bold for myself. It’s very important for the supply kit to contain critical medicines, some bills of money, some food, and identification! Presumably it would be difficult or impossible to use one’s car to drive somewhere (traffic jams, road blocks). Some people would say what about needing guns or knives for self-defense? Oh my. That kind of thinking is very survivalist/ apocalyptic, not so? I don’t have a gun in the house. Maybe grab a sharp kitchen knife on the way out?