I’ve spent two days traipsing the hills of downtown Seattle, checking out some of the buildings, roads and sidewalks my Danish pioneer father, Hans Pederson, built 100 years ago after he helped tear down the hills to allow expansion of the waterfront. Now they’re tearing up the waterfront because it’s time to replace the piers and the seawall.
We dodge huge pile drivers and step around the orange cones that mark the torn up sidewalks. We board the gangway for the Argosy waterfront cruise, and afterwards, walk a block to the amazing Seattle Aquarium filled with sea creatures beyond the imagination.
Local people generally support repairs, but municipal growth is controversial. Tsk tsk, the local media claim. Too many transplants and immigrants. They’re clogging up the hillsides. Ruining the views with their new housing. Lake Union is cluttered with houseboats trying to recreate the movie, Sleepless in Seattle.
Long-term settlers often feel this way. We’ve found this in our own local coastal Maine town. Old-timers complain about the immigrants. ‘They bring their rules, rules, rules about what everyone ought to do in town,” says a neighbor whose family settled here 200 years ago.. “These people move up here because they want to start over. Then they spend all their time trying to turn us into the place they left.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same.