Trapped in a Holding Pattern

Jose Robles was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials last month after living in Gethsemane Lutheran Church for over a year, seeking sanctuary from deportation. He had moved to the United States almost 20 years ago, started a small business with his brother in Lakewood, WA and established ties in his community with his family. When he was assaulted at gunpoint during a violent crime last year, Jose came forward and gave his testimony to Lakewood police; in return for his help, Lakewood officials denied his application for a U-1 visa, which is reserved for victims of violent crimes – the same kind of violent crime that Jose had assisted the police in their investigations. So what comes next for Jose Robles and his family?

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And There Was No One Left to Speak for Me

To say we are living in troubled times is an understatement. It’s easy to look back on history and say you would have recognized the warning signs and acted differently. Time seems to have softened the severity of toxic nationalism since 1945, and we are so self-assured that if it happened again, we would be ready to face it. But it’s happening right now across the United States, in my neighborhood and yours.

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July: Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

Strawberries are one of the first fruits to ripen in the late spring and early summer, followed by rhubarb. Washington State has a $49 billion agriculture industry, and there are plenty of places to pick your own fresh fruit if you’re willing to drive outside of the city. The sweetness of the strawberries complements the tartness of the rhubarb, so when my friend gave me a big bag of rhubarb from her parents’ farm, I had to find some strawberries to go with it.

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May: Vegan Pho Broth

Outside of Vietnam, Seattle is one of the best places to find authentic pho noodle soup. In fact, the world’s largest bowl of pho can be found in the city’s International District! Dating back to the early 1900’s, pho is traditionally made with beef broth and rice noodles, and filled with a combination of vegetables, tofu, meat and garnishes. This savory veggie pho broth is filled with aromatic spices, and can be frozen to use as soup stock for any number of vegetarian recipes.

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The Final Chapter of the Viaduct

The 66-year reign of the Alaskan Way Viaduct has officially come to an end. I can’t say that I’m sad to see it go because it was an ugly, inefficient and unstable piece of Seattle’s infrastructure. But like many other pieces of the city’s history, it creates a small void when it’s suddenly gone. I was one of the 30,000 people who came to say goodbye to the Viaduct and be one of the first to travel in the new replacement tunnel in the Tunnel to Viaduct 8K earlier this month.

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The Epic Saga: the Beginning of the End

As early as 2001, after the 6.8-magnitude Nisqually earthquake hit the Puget Sound area, officials have been discussing what to do with the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The double-decker roadway, which separates downtown Seattle from the waterfront of Elliott Bay, has been an integral part of people’s daily SR-99 commutes since it opened in the 1950’s. But the Viaduct sustained significant structural damage during the earthquake, and Seattle residents have been hearing about various plans and budgets to replace the Viaduct for almost 18 years ago. Now that it has been closed permanently to road traffic earlier this month, this officially marks the beginning of the end for the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

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Continuing the Epic Saga

Four years ago, I wrote a post about the ongoing saga of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct and Big Bertha, the massive drill that would bore her way under our streets to make way for an expensive new tunnel that will be everything that was promised. It was predicted that the project would cost $4.25 billion, that digging would be completed by the fall of 2014, and that the underground roadways would be open in 2015. Oh, my sweet naive child. How very wrong we were. This is not the final verse of the Epic Poem of the Viaduct, merely the next one, continuing on into eternity.

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