Ampersand Magazine

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.

2016 Apex award winner

Issue V

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.

The Secret City Life of Raccoons

“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.

Continue

Raising Consciousness

In the heart of the city, an artist births a first-of-its-kind retail project. As we all know, it’s hard to name what you can’t find at the iconic, bustling, uberly-photogenic Pike Place Market but here you go: Native art made by Native people in a Native-owned store.

Continue

Growing Bold

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.

Continue

Letter From The Editor

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.

Continue

Dear Seattle, What’s With You and Transportation?

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.

Continue

Looking for Affordability in Renton

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.

Continue

Growing Pains, Growing Gains

So what do I know about cities? This: Build cities for people, and then all the rest follows. Commerce, culture, innovation, efficiency — all of it. Just start and end by building them for us — all of us. It’s that simple.

Continue

Taking Control

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.

Continue

Welcome to San Seattleisco…?!

Long gone are the days when Seattle could be characterized as some sleepy, ho-hum, turn-out-the-lights sort of place. So what to make of our city’s feverish pace of change? Are we truly San Francisco Next? Are we (ahem) better than that? We decided to ask.

Continue

So Much Here

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.

Continue

Meet Brandee Laird, the “Low-Line Queen” of Parkour

A q-and-a about the sport, the lifestyle and favorite places in Seattle for traceurs.

Continue

Issue IV

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.

Forterra Saves the Farm

How Forterra made some farmers really happy—and ended up completing the largest farmland preservation project in Pierce County’s history… told through a comic.

Continue

The signs of spring

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.

Continue

The Big Garden

Working lands and urban lands are keystone lands that give character to neighborhoods and shape our region, writes Gene Duvernoy

Continue

The Plant Nerd

Meet “the plant nerd” AKA Sarah Reichard, the director of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens.

Continue

An ode to six native bees

Nikki McClure pays homage to six native bees with words and her exquisite cut paper images.

Continue

The enchanted world of Alfredo Arreguín

An Alfredo Arreguín painting is unmistakably unique. Look at that thunderous palette; lose yourself in so much labyrinthine design.

Continue

Promise for the Pika

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.

Continue

The Seed Mob

A writer’s relationship with seeds deepens when he leaves the San Juan Islands to visit the blackened and burnt Methow Valley.

Continue

What does spring smell like?

An artist, a ballplayer, a chef and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior weigh in on the sensorial power of the season.

Continue

Nature poems by SAL’s Writers in the Schools poets

A selection of poems about our natural world by students in Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program.

Continue

About the cover

Animator and illustrator Drew Christie has a thing for plants. He drew our remarkable Ampersand Issue 4 cover.

Continue

Issue III

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.

Carrot and Mist

A pair of poems that contemplates the arrival of mist and the harvesting of carrots.

Continue

Along the Columbia River

An interview with Maya Lin, a map and photos of the Confluence Project, a public art installation spanning 438 miles along the Columbia River.

Continue

In Pullman, A Wheat Geneticist Attempts to Stay Ahead of Climate Change

One scientist thinks solutions to climate change lie in the potential of heat resistant super wheat.

Continue

About the Cover

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.

Continue

What’s Your Eco-Vice?

An author, a chef, the Governor and more confess their eco-vice.

Continue

Five Mushrooms to Find and Eat

Learn to identify 5 wild mushrooms with this How-To Guide by Langdon Cook.

Continue

The Great Northern Corridor Takes Off

Gene Duvernoy profiles the local leadership fueling a renaissance of sorts in Everett, Snohomish and Stevens Pass.

Continue

A Nose for Conservation

A trek to our state’s most northeastern corner with the humans and dogs of Conservation Canines.

Continue

Strength in Timbers

Washington researchers, architects and rural town boosters see promise, and possibly sustainability, in an engineered wood product called cross-laminated timber, or CLT.

Continue

In Tukwila, Project Feast Helps Refugee Women Gain a Foothold Through Food

Read about how Project Feast, in South King County, uses a food skills program to carvee new paths for refugee women.

Continue

A local idea to compost human bodies

Seattle resident and designer, Katrina Spade, talks with journalist Maureen O’Hagan about the environmental potential of human composting.

Continue

Issue II

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.

About the Cover

Photographer David Moskowitz spent 18 months researching wolves for his book, Wolves in the Land of Salmon. While in the North Cascades, he came across some wolf tracks, then bear fur, then scat and finally, these remains of a black bear.

Continue

Living with Wolves, Losing our Orcas

Author Brenda Peterson takes a look at the vulnerable populations of two carnivores.

Continue

Orders of Magnitude: A Timeline

Eric Sorensen offers perspective about the influence of mankind over time.

Continue

What’s your Favorite Third Place?

A DJ, a geology professor, a poet and other locals tell us about where they go to find community.

Continue

Our Intolerable, Heartbreaking Waste

In a profoundly visceral way, local photographer Chris Jordan shows us the environmental impact we’re having near and far.

Continue

One Tree, Two Interpretations

An appreciation of the Western hemlock, as interpreted by artists John Grade and Mark Dion.

Continue

Dueling Visions for a Green Space

A look at the passion surrounding the possibility of mountain biking in Cheasty Greenspace on Seattle’s Beacon Hill.

Continue

A Tale of Two Towers

Journalist Sam Howe Verhovek looks at development – or the lack thereof – in two very different places.

Continue

Nisqually Salmon and the Changing State of the Wild

Writer Bruce Barcott explores the notion about what it actually means when we regard a place as being “wild.”

Continue

Q & A with Maria Hines

The award-winning Seattle Chef dishes about values and food activism.

Continue

How to ID Five Common Native Wildflowers

An illustrated guide to identifying five wildflowers in our region.

Continue

Two City Walks and a Big Ask: It’s Time

How two walks in the city connect Gene Duvernoy to nature—and reinforce his hope for the future of this place. Duvernoy is president of Forterra.

Continue

Issue I

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.

Blackberry and Wolf

Ever wonder how the blackberry became the plant it is today? This short Coast Salish story is told by Native American artist Roger Fernandes.

Continue

An Urban Adventure: Kayaking a Superfund Site

In an essay, Carrie Hawthorne invites us onto the Duwamish River as she kayaks it for the first time.

Continue

Sharing is at the Core of Density

In the second of two stories about density, writer Charles Mudede weighs in on the subject by first considering a very large mammal.

Continue

River Seen

Photographer Tom Reese and artist Chandler Woodfin find inspiration from the Duwamish River in South Seattle.

Continue

A Note From the Editor

Forterra is pleased to announce our new publication that focuses on people & place in the Northwest. Learn why we believe that this place is who we are.

Continue

Forces of Nature for Nature

Meet some of the women who make it easier for us to connect to the land.

Continue

How to City Build and Be Smart About It

Writer Knute Berger looks at the complexity of density

Continue

Bluebirds and Gooseneck Barnacles

Forterra president Gene Duvernoy discusses how hiking at Snoqualmie Pass and tide pooling with his kids on the coast has enhanced his appreciation for the wild.

Continue

Tiny Tieton: Mighty New West?

An example of the new Northwestern town could very well be Yakima County’s tiny Tieton, home to creative ambition that’s giving it a new life.

Continue

Interview with Nick Hanauer

Nick Hanauer on utopia, and minimum wage jobs.

Continue

How to ID Five Common Northwest Trees

Our illustrated guide to five of our region’s most common trees. Brush up before your next hike!

Continue

The Palouse in Me

A writer with farming in her blood, Teri Hein ponders how different and similar it was to be a kid on a farm in the 60s from today from under the night sky.

Continue