Ampersand is an award-winning collection of stories, essays, journalistic reports and art about our natural and built environments and some of the people in them.
We may not agree about all the change that is happening but I'd argue we agree on what we value in Seattle. So here it is in this issue of Ampersand: unique neighborhood locales, the working class, wildlife, artists, affordable housing and beautiful open spaces where we can play and grow things. This is The Urban Issue.
“Urban wildlife,” that’s what scientists call raccoons that are now thriving in our cities. Raccoons are fascinating scientists as they move into our urban areas in record numbers. They stay close to their many dens — usually only traveling in a three-block radius. Raccoon mothers are affectionate and devoted to their kits; females often den together in what is aptly called a nursery.
Western Washington is a gardener’s paradise. Most of us stick to the predictable assortment of fruits and veggies. But there are some uniquely original outsiders edging in. Some are mossy old timers local tribes have cultivated for centuries; others are fresh-faced newcomers brought here by horticultural pioneers. More recently, immigrants and refugees have been growing a cosmopolitan cornucopia. These are the upstarts,rebels and future favorites of the Pacific Northwest garden.
The assembling, the forging, the hoisting, the pulverizing, the razing — it’s either the glorious roar of prosperity or the vociferous din of a city losing its soul. We may not agree about all the change that is happening but I’d argue we agree on what we value in Seattle.
Bertha went “clunk” and the people involved in building Seattle’s grand but suddenly ill-fated tunnel project began to look at each other. It was considered beyond belief that the “clunk” would come so soon into the actual digging — the result of literally decades of fierce debate and discussion on what to do with an elevated roadway considered a potential disaster waiting to happen at the slightest provocation.
But as Seattle has boomed, that image of Seattle as my forever home has slipped away. I still get nostalgic when I smell the low tide from downtown or take the walk from the ferry to the baseball stadium or sit near the Seattle Center fountain. (I now rent an apartment in the Central Area). But the truth is, I don’t see how I’d ever afford to own a home here.
For six weeks this summer Forterra hosted the University of Washington’s Doris Duke Conservation Scholars who traveled throughout Western Washington, speaking at length with over two dozen millennials. They are twenty-something college students who care about the intersections of social and environmental justice.
Most days the store feels more like a community center than a grocery store. Like a lot places in the Central Area, it’s a community center that we’re about to lose… The more people I talk to, the more I begin to see the Central Area as an intricate constellation of stories connecting generations of residents and all the hard work they’ve done to stay put and build and thrive. There are lots of bright stars in that constellation, where many stories intersect. The Red Apple, at the corner of South Jackson Street and 23rd Avenue South, is one of them.
A q-and-a about the sport, the lifestyle and favorite places in Seattle for traceurs.
A scientific exploration about the season of spring. An essay about rebirth in the Methow. Photos of the charismatic pika. An ode to bees. Gorgeous landscape paintings. And, more.
Spring is a noisy time in the Northwest. Marshes reverberate with the croak of frogs. The woods fill with the twitter of birds. Even the forest floor seems to hum with the white splashes of flowers. After months of long nights and gray days, Nature greets the sun with a shout. Come along for a brief sampling of spring awakenings, both loud and quiet.
If the polar bear ever needed relief as the stricken planet’s most preemptively mourned victim of ecological disaster, the American pika has stood with apparent readiness to accept the nomination. The diminutive, rock-dwelling cousin of the rabbit certainly delivers the cuteness factor.
A selection of poems about our natural world by students in Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program.
Our third issue is titled Breaking Trail and highlights one of the Pacific Northwest's most defining characteristics: our innovation. In the stories below, you’ll meet a handful of out-of-the-box thinkers and doers steeped in a desire to sustain this region.
One scientist thinks solutions to climate change lie in the potential of heat resistant super wheat.
Our third issue is titled Breaking Trail. It’s our spotlight on five people and projects we think are breaking trail to sustain our region. One such idea is an up-and-coming wood product called cross-laminated timber, which makes use of smaller diameter logs and low-quality wood.
Read about how Project Feast, in South King County, uses a food skills program to carvee new paths for refugee women.
In this second issue of Ampersand, you’ll find stories that will provoke, inspire and connect you to some of the issues surrounding this place. Our home is changing, transforming at a pace we never imagined. We need to take a look now so we can decide how to best respond.
Writer Bruce Barcott explores the notion about what it actually means when we regard a place as being “wild.”
Our inaugural issue of Ampersand focuses on stories about people & place that allow you to armchair travel through our Pacific Northwest and see how this place matters—from our wildest lands to our densest communities.