I’m typing this from a borrowed laptop in a Cannon Beach coffee house. I’m on vacation again. Instead of driving through Longview, WA and into Oregon, I decided to get frisky and try a SW Washington route. We left I-5 at Olympia, went west, and then south across that big ‘ol bridge at Astoria, OR. A few notes:
1. Aberdeen is depressing. Now I know why Kurt Cobain got the hell out of there. But seriously, Aberdeen is in rough shape. I’m told its always been a rundown kind of place, but Jesus! Huge parts of its downtown are deserted and empty. Cheap furniture stores are aplenty. The electrical infrastructure looks about 50 years old. The people I met were very nice and down home, but Aberdeen needs some serious work. Which reminds me… Richard Florida, the author of Rise Of The Creative Class, once said that the people who made places like Seattle, Austin TX, Boston, and San Francisco so great are now leaving, moving to places like Pittsburgh (among others). I think some of the under-35 set who are flocking to the Seattle area could do well in Aberdeen. A lot of places in WA seem ready to pivot from resource-based economies to creative economies. It’s definitely a ways off.
2. Property rights are sometimes bad for business. Cannon Beach, a seaside town in OR, is great. But it couldn’t have been made without restricting the rights of who could build what and where. Resort towns have to protect their image. Cannon Beach is gorgeous while nearby Seaside, OR isn’t.
3. Train travel in America sucks, unless you live in the NE. Seriously, if we’re going to ween ourselves off foreign oil, America should build a passenger train service that’s good, if not great. When I travel, I always check Amtrak first, before I fly or drive, to see if I can get to my destination by train.
4. Every congressional district in Oregon west of the Cascade mountains is held by a Democrat. In Washington state, Dave Reichert is the last Republican left on the westside. If Democrats are locked out of eastern Washington for years to come, I’d at least like to do the same to the GOP in western Washington.
This thing is acting up, so it’s TTFN.
I am glad you are there. We have been to the region many times and always come back feeling liker Lewis and Clark!
That entire part of the state is awaiting a messiah. The politicians are notr providing the leadership we need to make better use of the poepl who live there.
I do disagree on one thing. It would be great of the local culture could survive. It would be a shame if these folks get forced out as has happened in other communities that yuppify.
The Peninsula is one of those issues I believe Gregoirs should address vigorously. The whole place is a cultural disaster in the making as in many towns the largest employer is the welfare office. If that sort of thing failed for Black folks I do not think it is going to work any better for rural whites now.
One thought, this may be a hisgtoric opportunity to avoid the Los Angelese solution. I wonder if the state could pick an area in the epneisul and declare ti an economic devlopment zone? As part of this, the area would be gifted with excellent local mass transit to encourage dense housing despite the vast surrounding areas of cheap land. This might be combined with siting some target industry that might lake the great natural amenities and a subsidized workforce. That plus high speed rail might just make the area a wonderful place to locate new businesses.
Now if I were rich enough, there is a little harbor down there waiting for me to come and retire, Unincorporated, inexpensive land, views of the Deity Tahoma, BUT 3-4 hours drive to the nearest big city.
Mark The Redneck-Goldstein spews:
Hey Limpdick-HyphenName – How was hempfest?
Hey, I’m wondering… do you think dope should be legalized and tobacco should be outlawed? I know how much you hate “big tobacco”, and I know how much you love being stoned.
Makes perfect sense to me…
Well, asshole dog-torture advocate, I’m sure I could find somebody to stone your worthless ass without much trouble if you’re really curious. I’m sure you’ll continue to hide behind your keyboard, you simpering gob of snot, and play like you’re a real person.
I spend a lot of time down there between Nehalem and Long Beach-Ocean Park. Stop by Hug Point and go down on the beach and see the old wagon trail hewed from the rock over the sea caves next time. It’s a few miles below Cannon Beach, right before the Arch Cape tunnel.
Heh, Nice taxin Trick! Wonder if all that Voting Community knows about this one?
Warning: New taxes will be permanent
In the Seattle Times:
[Deleted — Darryl, see HA Comment Policy]
Train travel in America sucks, unless you live in the NE. Seriously, if we’re going to ween ourselves off foreign oil, America should build a passenger train service that’s good, if not great. When I travel, I always check Amtrak first, before I fly or drive, to see if I can get to my destination by train.
They did build railroads back in the old days but chaps like you refuse to ride them. Now they are used only for freight and dinner trains. You might used the old rail lines around Seattle and the Eastside for a monorail. Oh a dirty word in Seattle, but you chaps were the ones who cause it to fail just to get that light rail to nowhere. Just keep spending the taxpayer money and produce nothing thats the Seattle mode of operation.
@6 Da Libs stole da Trains???
Really? How did we do that?
Seems to me that the trains here in GOUSA (good old usa) died post WWII because we spent megadollars on cars, cars, cars and roads, roads roads and then we made the whole thing cheap by underpricing oil.
While Euroes didn’t have the bucks to do the same thing, they built great train systems.
Same for dem Japs.
So .. the more socialist countries built trains with their tax dollars and we uns done built a whole lotsa Chevies ‘n Fords.
Maybe we were wrong?
The largest Bio-diesel plant in the nation just opened in Aberdeen.
We need to stop sharing passenger and freight lines.
Rip a bullet train line right down I-5 from Vancouver BC to Portland.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Would someone please delete the off-topic comment @2?
Roger Rabbit spews:
Actually, ALL of MTR’s comments should be deleted, because they’re ALL off-topic! The topic of this blog is
and none of MTR’s comments are within that topic. His comments all say Republican’s don’t suck, which makes them all off-topic.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@7 “Seems to me that the trains here in GOUSA (good old usa) died post WWII because we spent megadollars on cars, cars, cars and roads, roads roads and then we made the whole thing cheap by underpricing oil.”
Yeah, that was the Eisenhower administration, and he was a Republican.
Broadway Joe spews:
Excuse me Will, but I was raised in Port Angeles. Aberdeen is pretty grim, but it’s nowhere near as bad as Clallam County. The only thing going for Aberdeen is that it’s pretty much all freeways getting there.
And don’t forget Forks, Clallam Bay/Sekiu, and Neah Bay. You want grim, there’s the places to be.
Broadway Joe spews:
People didn’t stop riding the rails. The tracks got pulled up. Detroit and Big Oil conspired to, and largely succeeded in, wrecking all forms of passenger-rail back after WW2, from trolleys to the Super Chief. But I will say that I love train travel, having taken the Coast Starlight end-to-end once, and loving every minute of it. But I hate to say it, train travel is just as expensive as plane travel, and even with gas at $2.70/gal., driving is still the cheapest way for me to get back to Washington.
The post was originally titled, “Aberdeen: The 2nd Most Depressing Place I’ve Ever Been.” That’s because Neah Bay is 1st. Neah Bay, mostly native in population, made me really unsettled when I saw it as a kid. People think that indians are all rich because of casino money. Not true everywhere.
The Guy With No Car spews:
If we stipulate that people are leaving places like Seattle and Austin for Pittsburgh, I know of at least two reasons why. First, they have a couple of really good universities (Pitt and Carnegie-Mellon); the other is, they have some of the cheapest real estate prices of any major city in the country. (I checked in a brief flirtation with moving out of the Seattle area.)
What is it with those from Seattle, etc that they take great delight and seem to have a need to slam Aberdeen and every smaller town in Washington?
Does it make you feel bigger? Smarter? I just don’t get it.
Yes, Aberdeen like many areas that has suffered as it has forges through a variety of problems. Unemployment, drug use, suicide, etc. But Aberdeen is and always will be resiliant(sp?). Over the years it has taken blow after blow yet it continues to survive. Perhaps if the author would have gotten off of his ass and actually done some research he would have found out that Aberdeen is actively courting various businesses to locate here. Most are interested. Some are here. In the downtown area that the author slams two theatres are in the midst of renovation and re-opening within a year or two thanks to John Yonich an Aberdeen native and Bellevue businessman.
His other project along with another developer is the Morck Hotel which was a grand hotel in it’s day.
Currently plans for that entire downtown area have been developed and some work on the buildings started.
The city of Aberdeen’s Community Development Director works her rear off in dealing with various business/industries which want to locate here.
We are working hard to improve our area yet you feel the need to slam it instead of gathering the facts. Good thing you are a blogger instead of a reporter.
Funny thing too, we are all classified as hicks, backward, redneck, flag waiving, conservative scum down here by all of you in Pugetropolis, yet, in the last presidential election only three or four counties/cities voted a straight democratic ticket. Grays Harbor County, which includes Aberdeen, was one of those counties. Only one Republican has held an office in Grays Harbor in 50+ years and that was Rep Jim Buck whose area covered only a section of Grays Harbor (not including Aberdeen) and most all of Jefferson and Clallam counties. Yep we certainly are a “red” area.
Finally as far as the Kurt Cobain comment perhaps you should go to http://www.kurtcobainmemorial.org and check the FAQ’s to find out what he really thought and the context of it not just what was said to some magazine.
I’m proud of my town warts and all. I hope to improve it of course and am working hard to do just that. I love Seattle too. It is a fine city yet in many ways it suffers many if not all of the same problems that Aberdeen does. You just hide it. Don’t believe me? Then ask yourself is all of Seattle successful? Do we have our depressed areas? Do we have areas that are “drug zones”? Do we have areas where unemployment or lack of education is rampant? Yes you do. But like I said you are big enough you can hide it.
Hope this is something all of you will think about the next time you are traveling and feel the need to judge a town through a windshield.
Aberdeen City Council
6, 7, 9, 14: By golly, I do believe I agree with each of you (including Klake). I know Ron Sims recently got into bicycling, but someone needs to take him out behind the woodshed and give him a good spanking for his frenzied effort to have the county grab yet another rail right-of-way and rip up the tracks. Hey, I sometimes ride a bike myself, but we’ve got more than enough trails devoted to the Beautiful People with their Spandex-encased butts and their overblown egos.
I can’t help but think that our homegrown Amtrak Cascades is a step in the right direction, although it looks like someone’s been taking the “ignore-it-and-maybe-it-won’t-be-a-problem” approach to maintenance of the rolling stock.
Uhhh…Will? The “electric infrastructure” is 50 or more years old in most of the damned country.
The Guy With No Car spews:
Don’t forget also that at one time the railroad unions were among the most powerful in the country. By encouraging freight by truck and air the government helped the railroads to bust the unions. The railroads were somewhat complicity in helping to move passengers to air — they always considered passengers as a rather expensive-to-haul kind of freight.
As to the relative price of air vs. train, it depends on where you’re going and how canny a traveler you are. Last I checked it cost something like $32 one way to go Seattle-Vancouver on Amtrak Cascades. We have a bunch of two-for-one and kids-ride-free tickets that we’ve collected here and there, so our family could get there and back, business class, for about $250. I don’t think we could all fly for that, and besides, we’d need passports. On the train we can still get by with birth certificates and photo IDs.
Will didn’t call anyone in Aberdeen a hick or anything like that, he said the people he met were nice.
“The people I met were very nice and down home.”
I second Michael’s comment and raise it one. It is great to see you here!
I love Aberdeen .. wish I could figure a way to live there.
I don’t think you would find many of us who think you guys are hicks. But, it is all too true that the newSeattle where Will lives is sorta kinda .. well .. a kind of alien implant in skin of the local beast. May have been something like this when the Dennies et al came to Alki and ignored the locals.
Come on up and have a beer with us!
N in Seattle spews:
Will, Will, Will…
You’re equating Aberdeen to Pittsburgh???
With all due respect to Councilmember Fritts, that’s ridiculous. Pittsburgh is a vibrant, beautiful, exciting city, one that attracts people because of its intellectual ferment and its cultural wealth. Of the cities you list, only (perhaps) Boston has an orchestra that’s anywhere close to the power of the superb Pittsburgh Symphony; the four components of the wondrous Carnegie Museums (Natural History, Art, Science Center, Andy Warhol) outrank anything in SF or Boston. Fallingwater, the most important and most beautiful home ever built in America, is just a couple of hours away. Pittsburgh’s bus/trolley/subway system is comprehensive, including dedicated busways that speed commuters to their destinations without having to fight traffic. I never had to carry a bus schedule, because service was frequent and regular.
In all of those areas, Seattle is a minor leaguer, not even in AAA.
When I moved to Pittsburgh in 1981, it was already well on its way to remaking itself after the collapse of the steel industry. The air was no longer fouled by smoke and chemicals, even 25-plus years ago. Even then, as noted by The Guy With No Car, Pitt and CMU were world-class universities. And they’ve gotten better … Pitt reached the $1 billion goal of its fund drive so quickly that they raised their goal to $2 billion.
Yes, housing prices in Pittsburgh are very low. When I bought my first house there in 1989, the 4BR/2BA house (built 1930) in a very nice neighborhood cost us $74K. We sold in 1994 for $93K. If you believe Zillow, its estimated current value is about $205K. The same house in an equivalent neighborhood in Seattle would probably list at three to four times that price. If you could find such a good, solid house here, that is.
I left Pittsburgh because of some employment problems in my field. If I had been able to find work there at the time, I wouldn’t have left … I love Pittsburgh.
@23 fighting words
Hayyyy … leave Boston, MY home town, outa this kerfuffle.
a. lacks the incredible academic establish ment of Boston.
Ca;;ing Pitt and CMU “world class” compresses the scale a lot.
b. I ma sure you are right about the Carnegie museums but REALLLY … the MFA in Boston, alone, ranks with all but the Loure as one of the world’s greatest museums. AND …it is only one of several art museumes in Boston. The Science Museum. comuter museum, children’s museum … it goes on and on.
c. Yeah I like Fallingwater too, but comparing architecture in Pittsburgh tp Boston’s trove is just silly. Pittsburgh does not have the Corbu, Boston City Hall, Comm Ave, the South end, Bullfinch, the Green building, etc etc etc
d. Yes it is nice that Pittsburgh has a symphony so … what is the BSO, gefilte fish?
an d, as I plung my dagger in your heart, let my flourish the oen unanswerable challeng … the Atlantic Ocean! Sure rivers are nice, but this is an ocean of distinction.
N in Seattle spews:
Now, now, now… You know I love Boston too. My principal points were a) Seattle compared to Pittsburgh, and b) Aberdeen compared to Pittsburgh.
I do find Boston a bit overwhelming, however. I prefer the “feel” of Pittsburgh, as a less-intense urban center. That’s not just a matter of size — in my limited experience of it, Chicago feels less intense than Boston or Philadelphia (or Seattle). If I had my druthers, I also like the feel of Portland (actually, both Portlands) more than Seattle.
I must say, though, that putting City Hall on your list of “architecture” in Boston does raise an eyebrow or two. Now, had you said Faneuil Hall, that would be different. Though neither of them is a home, which was the point I was making WRT Fallingwater.
Thanks for chiming in. I’m literally on my way through the door on my way back home, but I wanted to say that I’m not knocking your town any less or any more than I’d knock my current home town of Seattle.
Seattle has plenty of problems to deal with, as Aberdeen does. I have great respect for people who are doing great things in small towns. And if Seattle home prices get any more ridiculous, I might just move some day… to Aberdeen? Maybe, you never know.
Daddy Love spews:
23 Fallinwater is a couple of hours away? Sorry, pal, if you don’t have any decent architecture in Pitt, you don’t get to drag in somebody else’s from 100 miles away and claim it. You can do better.
– Bridge of Sighs – Allegheny County Courthouse & Jail
– Pennsylvanian Union Train Station
– Pittsburgh Union Trust Building
Daddy Love spews:
I’m sure you’re all trying very hard down in Aberdeen. But you’re trying very hard in an armpit of a town (visually). I’m sure it will all be quite beautiful in the future.
I think the underlying question is a great one: How can we, collectively, help these cities and towns that are trying to recover from dependence on extractive industries that can no longer be sustained and get in on the 21st Century boom?
I kinda think the answer lies in infrastructure. Imagine Aberdeen or Republic with a big fat internet pipe. Doesn’t it make sense to “inshore” call centers or data centers like they’re doing in North Dakota and Quincy?
Would Boeing throw some business over the mountains if somebody set up a machine shop near a rail line?
How much do you suppose it would cost to get useful infrastructure to towns like that? Could a public – private partnership be set up? Could it be sold politically?
OneMan thinks so.
Aberdeen has a port, big old highway, a bunch of folks that need work and I think there’s rail too. Aberdeen is very do-able.
Republic, might be too far flung and inaccessible for anything but a few telecommuters using a satellite link, but Colville is a great town and, like Aberdeen, has most of what you’d need already there.
N in Seattle spews:
Well, OK, DL.
Of course, the Frank Lloyd Wright building mentioned in your quote is Fallingwater. Though there’s also this home, situated about 7 miles from Fallingwater. It’s very near some of the most accessible whitewater rafting in the country.
I agree about the County Court House and Jail, though thankfully I’ve never had the “pleasure” of crossing the Bridge of Sighs. Yeah, I’m a big fan of the Smithfield Street Bridge and the eyebar-suspension Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Street Bridges, as well as the extraordinary view of the Golden Triangle as you emerge from the Fort Pitt Tunnel. And I wouldn’t want to ignore Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning or the numerous Henry Hornbostel buildings (Temple Rodef Shalom, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, the CMU campus, and more).
To say nothing of Pittsburgh’s two culinary meccas, the Dirty O and Primanti’s.
29 “Imagine Aberdeen or Republic with a big fat internet pipe. Doesn’t it make sense to “inshore” call centers or data centers like they’re doing in North Dakota and Quincy?”
They already tried that in Satsop.
@29 Me too!!!!!!!!!!
A lot of folks here and at the DL branch get upset with my lack if enthusiasm for Gregoire. This thread is a great example of what she (and Gary before her) COULD be doing to improve our state.
Shelton, Ocean Shores, Iron Springs, Port Angeles, etc .. the whole peninsula is a dream that could turn into a nightmare if something is not done before the few folks left are third gen. welfare.
I really like the idea raised by OneMan. Hell, if we had high speed transit from Portland and Seattle to ocean Shores, the tourist industry alone would prosper. How many folks would like to have summer homes there is the time requored (and gasoline) were not out of site?
Hell, in our state of the i-World state, the idea of intentionally creating a focus for Inet business down there is cool too.
While we fuck around about getting decent public transit inot Seattle, maybe the $$ would be better spent creating a Valhalla west of Olympia.
@25 North in Seattle
Are you from Boston, I did not know!
Sorry for dumping on Pburgh .. I like ti too. Though not as much as Providence!
Back at Boston, there is som much of my home town I wish we would emulate here as Mayor N and Vulcan build the NEW Seattle.
The South End should be a model for Allen’s real estate development instead of the fortress metality typified by 2200.
SAM can not be the MFA ever, BUT it could be a more targeted museum like the Fogg.
Look at the wonderful biotech community NE and W of MIT! We do not approach that in any way. If the city wants to have something like it in SLU, they need to learn a lot more.
Boston has a lot of miniparks. True, except for Franklin Park they have nothing to rival Seattle’s wonderful large peripheral parks but as a city Seattle lacks in the city park space ranging form the little strips in the South end to the Commons.
I gather you are not a fan of City Hall, I LUV it. Did you know that IM pei designed the space? His own buildings, other than the mod. to the Loure, genrally suck butu the way he laid out the space around City Hall is wonderful ..
the curving street reflecting the old cow paths, the open spaces descending to Fan. Hall .. wonderful. We could really use something like that here!
Having said that, Seattle does have the Harbor steps and PP market. Thes eare unique to OUR city. Westlake Mall is an abortion that even a right to lifer should not accept and the Seattle Center has as much imagination as a Boeing hanger.
Other promising but neglected amenities:
Lake Wash blvd
@ point #4:
Never going to happen as long as unqualified and incompetent nobodys like ditzy Darcy run. It’s over before it starts on that one, and I persoanlly am grateful for that.