Seattle’s Unique Opportunity: The Waterfront

This is the city founded centuries  ago by people from the Salish Sea.  The longboats of our Samish and Duwamish predecessors were part of a network of native navigation reaching from Tacoma to Alaska.  The white men came and replaced Chief Seattle’s home but the waterfront remained the core of the city of Chief Seattle

We have an incredible opportunity!  The viaduct is scheduled for demolition in 2016 and the sea wall must be replaced!   Given this much new waterfront space and a view that may be without comparison in any city in the world, Seattle has an unprecedented opportunity.

Vancouver's Waterfront, UBC Museum of Anthropology

I hope we will  not turn the waterfront into the another ugly high rise condo-opolis like Paul Allen’s SLU or decorate it with condo towers like those that spouted in Vancouver when that city became the second home to Hong Kong millionaires wanting a sage haven to go in cae their redoubt is taken over by some unsavory neo-maoist regime in Beijing.

As a UW prof, I  would especially love to see this space involve the UW!  What a chance to show the talents of our faculty and students!  Could this be an opportunity to empty the UW attic and turn the Burke Museum  into an attraction even better than the the Museum of Anthropology at UBC?    Could parts of the campus locate on the waterfront where the mix of students and cultural resources might better enrich the whole city?

One idea I have long favored would be moving all or part of the Burke Museum, an amazing collection of NW Art, Paleontology,  and PacRim  anthropology from the UW campus to a new site along the waterfront.  Maybe Paul Allen would finally find a memorial worthy of his fortune?


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  1. 1

    Nice thoughts & ideas ! Yes, down with the ugly viaduct !