Monday, January 30, 2006

Beautiful Seattle and a decaying Detroit.

I lived in Seattle for several years after the Army. It was the most beautiful and greatest place I ever lived. Nice overcast skies with sunbreaks when you are lucky and really cool rain a lot. Very good tavern weather. And there are lots of taverns in Washington. I used to drive down to the ferry landings at Mulkiteo and Edmonds just to gaze at the cold deep water of Puget Sound. I saw lots of games in the old Kingdome, both Mariners and Seahawks.

People prior to the California invasion were just great in Seattle. Jobs were easily gotten, almost pushed on me at times. For all the vaunted hospitality of the south it was in Seattle that people sough out friendship. It was very hard to be solitary there. Where I lived (Everett) was a community. Seattle, Portland and the entire west was changed by the California exodus that was funded by the real estate boom in the brown state. Housing prices jumped and Seattle began moving into a high tech economy that is still there today.

Yet at its heart Seattle is a merchant marine town. Seattle holds on to its maritime past with great affection and the waterfront still hosts shipping, industry, taverns and good food. Seattle has a yuppie aura in some areas but if you know where to look you find a great blue collar heart.

This week a few thousand brave souls will venture from this beautiful place to Detroit. A city filled with despair and poverty. White flight condemned Detroit to a blight that is hard to match even in other rust bucket towns. I have been to Detroit twice. Once driving near the old Ford Headquarters. The interior of Detroit had a very third world look and feel. Empty buildings with broken glass and boarded windows everywhere. It wasn't scary just plain damm depressing. If you wanted to squat, Detroit would probably be a wise choice.

Steve Kelly of the Seattle Paper writes a column about the despair that is Detroit today. I found it a interesting read. And I liked the fact that a newspaper guy from beautiful Seattle penned empathy for a decaying city like Detroit.

The article is here.

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