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REFLECTIONS ON SEATTLE

A visitors assessment of the Emerald City

sunny 85 °F

(Tuesday) Before I get into my thoughts on the city of Seattle I must report that my trip east to Minneapolis to pick up my motor home went without incident. I had dinner with friends before retiring.

Topographically, Seattle lies between 2 mountain ranges, the Olympia Mountains to the west and the Cascades to the east. Mt. Rainier is the most prominent mountain at 14,000+ ft. and is an active volcano, as is nearby Mt. St. Helens which last erupted in 2008. The glaciers which formed the landscape gouged the land to create Lake Washington and Lake Union just east of Seattle and both are fresh water bodies. After the glacial melt the landscape of the greater Seattle area became a vast series of hills. At the beginning of the city's history it was a small seaport built on the water's edge of Puget Sound, a salt-water island estuary of the Pacific Ocean. The protected waters of the Sound made it a natural safe harbor for shipping. It was not until the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896 that Seattle began to grow. Prior to that logging and local fishing supported the economy. With the news of the Gold Strike the city exploded in population with all the pains of unregulated expansion. The city's infrastructure of water, sewage disposal, and streets were inadequate to support the sudden growth. Serious health problems resulted.

Fast forward to 2017. The city has grown to over 1 million people and has out-grown its roads, and its infrastructure is challenged to the limit. Due to the hilly landscape houses are stacked up the elevations, close together on narrow streets. I do not believe there is a flat road nor a straight street in the entire city! Condos are being built by the hundreds to accommodate the city's population growth. There are literally dozens of constructions cranes at building sites throughout the area. Hundreds of pumping stations are required to supply water to homes and to move the sewage to treatment plants creating the infrastructure challenge. The result of this growth are major hurdles to overcome for the city. Seattle's transportation is a traffic morass on I-90, !-5, and 1-405, all 6 & 8 lane highways, not to mention the feeder freeways. At certain times of the day they become moving parking lots.

In spite of it all, Seattle citizens go about their daily lives. Many of the companies work on a 'flex-hour' system designed to relieve some of the traffic pressure on the roads. It is a youthful city where bicycle riding downtown is prevalent, and joggers are everywhere. The city parks are beautiful and filled with people enjoying the green space. Ferry boats operate on a regular schedule carrying passengers who live on the islands of Puget Sound to work in the city. I mentioned the Seaport in a previous blog. In spite of the traffic, it is a beautiful place to visit.

In closing, let me say that I enjoyed visiting the area, my relatives, and would love to return sometime to do more exploring.

Posted by dixter 06:28 Archived in USA Tagged the city seattle emerald

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