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The Evergrey community’s top 10 list of things to know about Seattle

  1. We are a city of strong neighborhoods and strong cultures. We’re proud of what’s made here and love that different spots have their own personality. “The first follow-up question to anyone who says ‘Seattle is [generalization],’ should be, ‘What parts of the city do you spend time in?’” writes reader James Nau.
  2. We’re the fastest growing city in America, largely thanks to Amazon, but we know what it’s like when booms turn to busts. Boeing laid off 50,000 people here in the 1970s when plans to build a supersonic transport (SST) didn’t pan out, leading to our “longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression.” “Plan for the insane growth,” writes reader Katie Kikawa, “but know what goes up will come down.”
  3. Native cultures are the bedrock of this place. Seattle is named after Chief Sealth, a chief of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes, and the Duwamish tribe the city once forced out is now fighting for federal recognition.
  4. We’ve failed each other many times, and we have a lot to learn from that. We burned Duwamish longhouses so they’d leave the city. We banned people of color from buying homes in certain neighborhoods and systematically denied them loans — a practice called “redlining” — in others. We pushed Chinese people out in the Seattle Riot of 1886, and incarcerated Japanese citizens during World War II.
  5. The two richest people in the world live around here — Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos — and wealth is transforming the city. We’ve got 38 million-dollar neighborhoods — areas where at least 10 percent of homes are worth $1 million. Three years ago, we had just 16.
  6. There are right and wrong ways to say the names of key places around here. Our big market is Pike Place Market, not “Pike’s Place.” The body of water we sit next to is Puget Sound, not “the” Puget Sound. Know how to pronounce names around the region? Test yourself here.
  7. Seattle and water go way back. Ballard is home to our rich maritime history, and salmon is more than just a Northwest staple — it’s a big part of our ecosystem and our culture. “You have to know why you are supposed to lose your mind with excitement over the annual Copper River salmon arrival in supermarkets,” writes Tracy Record.
  8. We live in a place that’s vulnerable to earthquakes, and The Big One is due any day now. It’s smart to be prepared, and get familiar with the risk.
  9. Seattle is grey and damp most of the year — and that really is OK. The key is to adapt. Dress in layers. Get a good rain jacket. Cultivate an appreciation for cozy indoor spaces, and learn to do things in the rain anyway. Oh, and read this essay from Lee LeFever.
  10. We value strong relationships. Once we’ve made them, it’s a little hard to break out. So if you run into the “Seattle Freeze,” get intentional. Go after the connections you want, and you’ll make them.

A big thanks to everyone who contributed: Spencer Beard, Cynthia Brothers, Cherylynne Crowther, Michael Derr, Paul Fankhauser, Jordan Goldwarg, Lane Hatfield, Mary Holscher, Mike Kent, Katie Kikawa, Ian S. King, Tassoula Kokkoris, Jon Lasser, Judy Lozo, Luiz Humberto Melchert Marques, Shane McDonald, David Moore, Madeline Moy, James Nau, Erika Parker Price, Tracy Record, Nancy Robb, Kathy Swoyer, Vicki Weeks, and Dylan Wilbanks.