Jake Ellison

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City of Auburn

Are abandoned, dilapidated houses a problem in your neighborhood? They are in Auburn, and that city’s mayor isn’t putting up with it.

Mayor Pete Lewis has been taking photos of abandoned houses owned by far-flung banks and publishing them with the bank’s information on a “Wall of Shame” website. And that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the city's efforts.

Scott Eklund / TheArtofTimeLapse.com

Northwest photographer John Eklund spent a year-plus gathering the shots to create this time-lapse video (below) of iconic places in the Pacific Northwest.

“Some scenes took all night and several tries until I was happy with the shot,” he said in an email exchange.

Dave H / Flickr

Support for legal marijuana in Washington appears to be strong among adults, but what will it mean for kids?

This week saw surprising support for the state initiative legalizing marijuana from the Children’s Alliance. The Seattle-based advocacy group, which has dozens of social-service agencies as members, says legal pot would be good for kids.


Seattle has a new deal for a sports arena to house NBA and NHL teams. If the full council approves the agreement later this month, lead private investor Chris Hansen will then face the possibly tougher job of getting a deal for the teams.

The revised deal has been officially announced by members of the Seattle City Council and addresses concerns by the Port of Seattle and others that traffic generated by events there would clog up the SoDo area.

Seattle councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Tim Burgess and Mike O'Brien made the announcement.

To close a loophole in state law and further control the growth of the medical marijuana industry, the city of Seattle is proposing to tighten its zoning laws.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

Sure there was “ooh” and “aah” and “wow” from the top of the Space Needle on a sunny afternoon overlooking Seattle earlier this week, but then came “Oh my god!” and “What is that?” and “That’s amazing.”

The culprit?

Two 60-plus-foot “daddy longlegs” standing atop the roof of the Armory at the Seattle Center, casting long shadows and looking all the world like they could be real (if our universe allowed such things).

Jake Ellison / KPLU

The West Seattle “hum,” a loud noise of unknown origins that enveloped the neighborhood several years ago, has returned with “a vengeance.”

The resurgent thrumming humming sound has people talking and guessing what’s causing it. According to the editor of West Seattle’s popular news blog, its origins remain a mystery.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

Hard to know what to root for – a record dry spell or the return of rain.

Our weather expert and University of Washington professor Cliff Mass says the race is on, and it’ll be close.

Wendy / Flickr

Apparently bacon goes with everything … including in and not just with coffee.

Seattle’s Best Coffee held a series of contests for a new coffee recipe and the winner, from Des Moines, infused her coffee concoction with caramelized bacon.

James Maya / Maya's Westside Charters

James Maya, a ship captain and owner of a whale watching company, took these photos of an orca breaching on Monday off South Beach on San Juan Island.

He said this was the only whale breach that evening and he just happened to have his camera at the ready. These breaches are not uncommon, he added.

“Sometimes they just go crazy,” he said. 

In a game reminiscent of Whac-A-Mole, a press release making the rounds in the Seattle blogosphere says Toyota will offer you a chance to “Whac-A-Hipster” this weekend at Bumbershoot.

Craig Damlo / Flickr

The high price of gasoline is leading Northwesterners to drive less and use more fuel-efficient cars, according to the Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based environment and policy research nonprofit.

According to the study:

“Washington and Oregon are on track to burn less gasoline in their cars and trucks this year than at any time since 1996 – less even than in 2008, when gas prices spiked and the economy cratered. … At least for the 
moment, the plateau in gas consumption that began in the
late 1990s has turned into a gentle downward slide.”

The Associated Press

It’s 1970 and the one thing really bugging one Seattleite – enough to make him/her write a letter and, apparently, leave the city – was hippies.

“Seattle got so bad with hippies, I just had to get out of that city,” the anonymous writer told Mayor Wes Uhlman.

In addition to hippies, we found four other things really bugging people in the early 1970s on the Flickr stream of the Seattle Municipal Archives – communists, smelly busses, the United Nations and protesters.

Preparing for the “most significant waves of product launches in Microsoft’s history,” the Redmond tech giant has unveiled a new logo.

Chris Tarnawski / Flickr

Seattle is the best place to work in the nation for Generation Y (19 to 30 year olds), according to PayScale, a jobs and salary data analysis and employment website.

Geekwire, which tipped us off to the story, said Seattle outperformed what it identified as other tech hotbeds: Boston (#5), New York (#7) and San Francisco (tied for #9).

Above: The first of many thousands lined up early today to enter Hempfest, Seattle's mega pro-pot festival.

For more than 20 years, the Seattle Hempfest festival, rally and outdoor party has pushed for the decriminalization and mainstreaming of marijuana.

But as this year’s event gets underway today, with more than 300,000 expected over the weekend, regulations contained in an initiative that would legalize pot have split many advocates.

Evan Hoover / KPLU

In the Seattle region, where we have few air conditioners, a string of 90-plus days can raise alarms:

But with the rest of the country melting under temperatures of 100 degrees or more for days in a row and drought striking the Midwest, we wonder if perhaps we in the Northwest are heat wimps.

The latest election results from Washington’s primary shows that more than 43 percent of Washington voters cast their ballots for a state supreme court justice candidate with no judicial experience, who raised no campaign funds and was a public no-show.

The biggest factor in the race appears to have been one candidate's last name - Gonzalez.

Election results published by the Washington Secretary of State’s office this afternoon showed Bruce O. Danielson pulled in 276,142 votes for, so far, 43.1 percent of voters.


The Mars rover Curiosity has landed ... on Mars! And it's having a pretty lonely but humorous time of it, according to the rover's mock Twitter feed

SarcasticRover: "HEY EVERYONE! Hope you kids have fun writing shitty memes on my HI-RES PICS! After all, THAT'S WHAT I'M HERE FOR!"

A new commercial featuring a regular-ol’-mom-type-person pitching the legalization of marijuana in Washington is about to kickoff a $1 million campaign.

Kevin and Leann Leyva

The hotspot for "mysterious" crop circles in the Northwest is Wilbur, an eastern Washington town of about 1,000 humans surrounded by wheat fields.

This summer, you can add to the town’s stats: The best-kept secret – Who makes the crop circles showing up near Wilbur.

The Seattle City Council is facing a $1.1 billion shortfall in its pension fund, according to a report to the Government Performance and Finance Committee (first noted by the politics and government blog Publicola).

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The King County Council approved an agreement with the investors who want to build an NBA arena in the SoDo district of Seattle. The council voted 6-3 to ratify the "memorandum of understanding" and "interlocal agreement," documents which define the terms of the arena deal.

"There is intrinsic value in this arena," said county councilmember Julia Patterson. She added that she had voted against Seattle's other sports arenas in the past, when she was in the Washington State Legislature, but voted yes on this deal.

In opposition, councilman Pete von Reichbauer said transportation issues had not been resolved. 

"If you build it, they will come – they can't come if they're stuck in traffic," he said.

Bill Barber / Flickr

If you cuss at work, 57 percent of bosses say they are less likely to promote you and 64 percent will at best think less of you for it, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com.

So, Seattleites should be getting ahead in the world since we didn’t make the top ten cities in the U.S. for swearing at work.

When a chunk of I-5 flew up and smashed through the windshield of a car carrying a family of four, the dangers of Washington's crumbling roadways became all too real.

"The rock hit me so hard in the chest, it literally took my breath away," Henry Jessop, who was in the passenger seat, told KOMO. His son Ian and his daughter were in the back seat, and his wife was behind the wheel.

Sergio Bonachela / Flickr

You know you’re in a first-world economy when … many of your metro areas have larger economies than whole countries.

The Wall Street Journal wanted to put into perspective just how big the gap is between the U.S. economy and much of the rest of the world and so created a ranked list.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Ichiro Suzuki is going to the Yankees, confirms KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. 

“The Mariners have been spared huge ugliness,” Thiel said. "He wanted out of Seattle and Seattle fans wanted him gone, I think, largely because he was not productive for the salary he was making and was in the way of younger players."

The Associated Press

On the Seattle section of Reddit, a user-generated content aggregator, the user poltergeister asked the question: What is something you wish Seattle had?

The responses have been interesting and got us to wondering the same thing. Here are 10 things Reddit users want. Vote for your favorite and share yours in the comments below.

Mallory Kaniss / KPLU

To promote their new movie – “The Campaign” – actors Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis blazed into a Seattle cafe to stump for votes in their faux election campaign.

The two are touring the country as if mired in a real political race, though they are “campaigning” to represent a district in North Carolina. Below is a video of their event in Seattle.

Dave Morrow / Flickr

For those of us who have not gotten around to it, don’t want to stand in line for it or are afraid of heights, we sent our online news intern, Evan Hoover, to video his ride on Seattle’s waterfront Great ‘Ferris’ Wheel.

Here’s the the ride in under 3 minutes: