Northwest NEWS

May 20, 2002


How does one save a community?

The stone structure is gone, wasn't worth saving. It was hand built of stone and mortar over a wood frame with a now deteriorating roof left over from another time. I never knew its exact purpose — a tool shed, a milk room? Next to it stood deteriorating stable-like structures at Thrashers Corner overlooking the wet lands of North Creek. I first knew it as background for Donna's Trees at Christmas. It spoke of pride in craftsmanship and self reliance. I don't recall seeing another building like it. I never knew its age. It seemed worth saving to me. It's gone now — bulldozed to make way for yet another strip mall on the Bothell-Everett Highway. The topsoil under it as I speak has been removed down to below the surface level of the wetlands next to it. These wetlands along with their bisecting salmon -bearing stream, North Creek, and tributaries are under severe duress from development.
   My efforts to save the building as a connection to the past were futile. Bothell City Council's response was a letter from the planning department saying essentially it was rubbish. The plans submitted to Bothell for permits described the buildings as not worth saving — another piece of Bothell gone for good. I and others are still trying to protect what integrity remains of the creek as we feel a salmon bearing steam is a wonderful legacy to hand on. It too has been deemed not worth saving as it is already so degraded. Wet lands in North Creek's watershed are considered insignificant and as a result are paved over. Has no one read "Horton Hears a Who"? At some point, one of these insignificant wetlands will tip the balance. Then our children will know too late that some things are worth saving and wonder what were we thinking.   
   We in the neighborhood — most of us arrived long after the building was no longer in use — noted its demise with some pain. It spoke of the rural phase of the area, one we'd hoped to be connected to when we moved here, although our moving in contributed to its passing. It was just an abandoned building, albeit obviously built with skill and care.
   North Creek, thoroughly enjoyed by children in the past, is now so contaminated children of this generation are advised against playing in it and if they do, to thoroughly wash afterwards. The things that made the community attractive to us are being diminished one by one. Already people are moving further out. How does one save a community? 
   Most troubling is, with concrete connections to the past severed and ecological concerns handled by the letter of the allowable law to allow maximum profits, we in this neighborhood know a similar fate could happen to citizens elsewhere trying to save rural areas.
   We recently almost lost 12 families to Brightwater — a sewer plant being built in our county by a neighboring county in which we have no elected representation. How they got this right of eminent domain in another jurisdiction is still incomprehensible to me. One of those families is still under threat of displacement in a proposed extension of a road. 
   The Planning Commission said the developers were supposed to have a photographic record of the house if it couldn't be saved.
   I don't know if the same is required for wet lands. I can find no photograph of the cooling canopy of trees that covered a road crossing North Creek before recent road work — road improved, creek further compromised with salmon reportedly belly up in the process. There is definitely no such requirement for citizens "bulldozed" away in the name of development.
   In this land of personal freedoms, the individual citizen seems to have become disposable. In fact we are usually referred to as consumers. Our only recognized contribution to society is what we contribute to the GNP and in this we become interchangeable and replaceable. Before we "lose" any more, I think we all need to seriously consider what is worth saving. 
   United we stand, divided we fall. Is there a common good? Is it worth saving? 
   Adelaide W. Loges, Mill Creek