God, but I love Seattle. It’s a quirky city, full of distinctive neighborhoods and abundant public art. It’s liberal and highly literate. Its libraries are some of the most patronized ones in the country. It’s very urban but it also has a lot of natural space to enjoy. It delights in the unique. It’s politically active. It has wonderful food and festivals.
While the people can be reserved and sometimes incomprehensible to me, I love the earnest enthusiasm of the city itself. When I first arrived in the summer of 2014, Fremont Bridge, one of the drawbridges in which I work, was being painted. It took many months. During that time, one sidewalk or the other had to be closed to pedestrians and bicycles, and that’s a part of the city where there is a lot of that type of activity. So, to encourage people to cooperate, the city had signs put up on all four corners of the bridge. And they were in the form of poems.
Those signs were what made it official for me. I was in love with a city. I loved that it could poke fun at itself. I had just spent 40 years in Jacksonville, Florida, a city that took itself a lot more seriously than it had any right to do. It would never put up signs like these. Not in a million years. A dear friend used to call Jacksonville a truck stop that had gotten out of control. Needless to say, Seattle was a refreshing change.
Fast forward to 2021, and imagine my joy in discovering that Seattle has a SpokesSalmon. That couldn’t be more perfect, because salmon run right through the center of town. 10,000 a day, during peak season. As a matter of fact, most tourists, while wandering along the downtown waterfront, have no idea that they’re walking right on top of a salmon migration corridor that took four years to build and cost the city $410 million. We love our salmon.
According to this video, Sal the SpokesSalmon is currently living in West Seattle and encouraging people to #FlipYourTrip. In other words, seek alternative forms of transportation such as buses, bikes, and water taxis, to reduce traffic congestion in the city. This is particularly important in West Seattle at the moment because the main exit point from that part of the city is the West Seattle Bridge, which has been shut down for repairs and won’t reopen until 2022. So, yeah, listen to Sal, folks.
Can you understand my love affair with this city? It charms me. It makes me laugh. It makes me think. It never fails to entertain me. And I’m willing to bet that it’s the only city with a SpokesSalmon.
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