Baker Heights: Tight-knit Everett community must scatter

The Daily Herald

Kathleen Mullen spilled tears as the moving truck drove away.

Though she knew this had been coming for years, Mullen wasn’t prepared to leave her home and community of almost three decades. For most of that time she’s lived just a few doors down from Beverly Bowers, in a modest bungalow in Baker Heights, a public housing development in Everett’s Delta Neighborhood.

Gridlock keeps many in Sultan feeling trapped in their homes

The Daily Herald

Held hostage by an onslaught of cars that clog U.S. 2, Sky Valley residents rally for a solution.

Redmond waits for light rail

Seattle Transit Blog

Before Sound Transit began planning light rail expansion east to Redmond, the city’s then-mayor, Rosemarie Ives, was already eyeing a congestion-free trip via public transportation from her city to Seattle.

To make room for light rail, 5,300 trees will fall along I-5

The Daily Herald

Sound Transit expects to start clearing in late April and eventually replant more than 20,000 trees.

Push, pull or drag: They’re going to get the road open

The Daily Herald

Push, pull or drag: They’re going to get the road open.

Stuck in traffic: Super commuting of 3+ hours is on the rise

The Daily Herald

Four days a week, Kerese Holmes joins the brake lights streaming in and out of Seattle.

And on a good day — with no accidents or rainy weather to maneuver through — she’s lucky to make the drive home in less than two hours.

Holmes is part of a not-so-lucky group of “super commuters” who spend 90 minutes or more traveling one way to work.

‘Hidden homelessness’ surprises Edmonds council members

The Daily Herald

Homelessness is a reality for at least 230 Edmonds residents, according to a recently released report.

The findings challenge common assumptions that there are no unhoused people in the city and that people experiencing homelessness come from outside the region, the report notes.

The myths are familiar to Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas. “I keep hearing that,” Fraley-Monillas said in an interview. “There’s a perception that if you don’t see tents on the sidewalk you don’t have homelessness.”

Four wheels and nowhere to go

The Daily Herald

Returning home from a seasonal job three days before Christmas, James Wlos discovered the RV he was living in had been towed from an Everett street.

With his shelter hauled away, Wlos slept in a friend’s truck that night.

“If you impound a motor home, you just made a family homeless,” Wlos said.

Maritime workers wonder: Will there be a next generation?

Crosscut

For workers on Seattle's waterfront, the future is unknown and the change is rapid.

Seattle owes its existence to the waterfront. But, in a city looking past heavier industries to a future powered by tech and service work, maritime workers and business owners wonder how long they will remain a vibrant part of the cityscape.

A job with a view

Seattle Transit Blog

In a tight workspace with barely enough room to turn around, light rail operators enjoy some of the most unusual views of Seattle from their cabs as they traverse the city.

Whidbey locals ask: Is the drinking water safe?

Crosscut

Wearing gloves that barely fit, Garry Stone slipped two small, square-shaped bottles, one after the other, under a stream of water from his well. After packing the bottles on ice, the Whidbey Island resident took them to join samples from 40 other households also collecting their own water for testing.

They all want to know what, exactly, is in their drinking water.

Where are the kokanee?

The Issaquah Press // Sammamish Review

Before emerging from the creek on a cold, sunny December morning, Dan Lantz pulled out a notebook to record a very familiar number this kokanee spawning season — zero.

Lantz, an environmental scientist for King County, and other fish ecologists were expecting a low return of kokanee this year. Spawning runs are typically cyclical, with boom and bust years. But nobody expected the numbers to be this bad.

SLIDESHOW: Hunting for kokanee

Dan Lantz is surveying kokanee spawning grounds for the Kokanee Work Group's annual count of fish returning from Sammamish. Scientists for King County were expecting a low return of spawning kokanee this year—spawning runs are typically cyclical, with boom and bust years—but nobody expected the numbers to be this bad.

SLIDESHOW: Hunting for kokanee

Before emerging from the creek on a cold, sunny December morning, Dan Lantz pulled out a notebook to record a very familiar number this kokanee spawning season—zero. Scientists counted only 60 to 70 fish returning kokanee compared to nearly 6,000 a year ago.

SLIDESHOW: Hunting for kokanee

Scientists propose many reasons for the low return this year, such as lake temperature, disease or predation. “Something is occurring in the lake that affects the whole cohort,” said Jim Bower, a fish ecologist with King County.

SLIDESHOW: Hunting for kokanee

Last year, this area along Ebright Creek was stocked full of redds, but not this year. Due to drastic reductions in suitable habitat, the kokanee now only spawn consistently in a handful of creeks: Lewis, Laughing Jacobs, Ebright, Pine Lake. Today, all Lantz encountered was a partially eaten kokanee head and a redd that may have contained eggs. He marked the nest and moved on.

SLIDESHOW: Hunting for kokanee

In 2007, the Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group was assembled in response to the population decline that has nearly driven the kokanee in Lake Sammamish to extinction over the past 40 years. The ad-hoc group devised a two-part plan to stabilize and rebuild the kokanee population: a short-term supplementation program to increase egg-to-fry survival rate and habitat restoration projects to improve spawning grounds.

SLIDESHOW: Hunting for kokanee

During the fish escapement survey Lantz pokes and prods the vegetation along the creek, searching for any sign of the fish along recently restored creek bed. Using polarizing glasses, he scans the creek.

SLIDESHOW: Hunting for kokanee

Scientists check a nesting box along Zaccuse Creek, another strategy for the supplementation the group is experimenting with to better mimic conditions in the wild.

SLIDESHOW: Hunting for kokanee

In addition to restoring habitat, the Kokanee Work Group is more than halfway through a 12-year spawning program, started in 2009, to build resiliency into the population by boosting fry survival. Due to the extremely low return this year, scientists are far from their goal of collecting 60,000 kokanee eggs, leaving hatchery tanks barren.

SLIDESHOW: Hunting for kokanee

Despite the low numbers of returning fish, the Kokanee Work Group is forging ahead, working on other adaptive management strategies.

SLIDESHOW: Hunting for kokanee

“We may change some of our future practices with kokanee that are spawned and incubated at the hatchery to better match those of naturally produced fry,” said Jim Bower, a fish ecologist with King County. “One of the concerns we have are the (hatchery fish) are stronger and more fit when they enter the lake (than wild fish). However, because of their size, they may be more vulnerable to predation,” he continued.

Frustrated by the lack of affordable housing, middle-class workers are giving up on Issaquah

The Issaquah Press // Sammamish Review

When Kat Wilkins moved to the Eastside a year and a half ago, she thought the cost of living in the area couldn’t possibly be more expensive than where she moved from, California’s Sonoma County.

But with a monthly budget of $800 for housing, almost 50 percent of her income, Wilkins never bothered even looking in Issaquah, where she works for one of the city’s largest employers.

PFOS in new monitoring well near EFR is 31 times higher than federal safety benchmark

The Issaquah Press // Sammamish Review

Levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate, also known as PFOS, will likely increase at a City of Issaquah production well, according to experts hired by the city, after high concentrations of the chemical were found in a newly drilled monitoring well.

After soil samples taken from Eastside Fire and Rescue’s headquarters at 175 Newport Way Northwest were found to contain trace amounts of PFOS, the city drilled monitoring wells north and south of EFR in early October.


Multimedia reporter. Curious. Always up for a good story.

Covering cities around the Puget Sound, I’ve taken a deep dive into the lack of affordable housing and one of the biggest transit expansions in the nation, while covering city councils and industrial pollution. Publications include The Marshall Project, Crosscut, The Daily Herald, The Issaquah Press and Midwest Energy News. Resume

lizz.giordano@gmail.com

(773) 401-9345


Postcards from the West