18 Holes in Chambers Bay

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Sports & Recreation

See also: Washington Golfers in the US Open

There are 18 holes in Chambers Bay and each holds a Northwest story.

Washington hosts the U.S. Open for the first time June 18-21, when the world’s top golfers test their skills and compete on the challenging and scenic links golf course in University Place.

The setting is remarkable. Chambers Bay, the relatively new (2007) public-owned course built atop a century-old sand and gravel mine, is often compared to the grandest golf course in the world: Scotland’s St Andrews, the birthplace of golf itself. It sits adjacent to Puget Sound in the carved-out bluff north of Chambers Creek. For most of the course, golfers can see four forested islands and the Olympic Mountains across the beautiful expanse of water.  In various places they might also catch glimpses of the Tacoma Narrows Bridges and come within a few dozen yards of a busy railroad line.  Robert Trent Jones II designed and landscaped the 250-acre shorefront course with dunes, wide vistas and fairways of fescue grass.  (He retained one tall tree that had survived the decades of mining.)  It looks almost natural — as if Puget Sound wind and waves carved the undulating hills, sowed beach grasses, and manicured the greens.  It’s a beautiful place.  And a world-class golf course.

Many of the features in and around Chambers Bay are memorialized in the names of the golf course’s 18 holes.  We’ve listed those holes below.

NOTE: The course is variable and holes may be played with different pars and different distances depending on the tees used.  The numbers listed below show some that variation; few are permanent.  We chose to group them as the first and second nine rather than the front and back nine because the 18 holes weave together with golfers on the first nine often crossing paths with those on the second nine between holes.  The course is so large, though, and separated by dunes, that players are usually sheltered from other holes while on the fairways.


Chambers Bay.

The golf course itself was named for it geographical location on Chambers Bay near the mouth of Chambers Creek.  The creek was named for Thomas McCutcheon Chambers (1795-1876), a pioneer who settled on the creek in the 1840s, built three mills there, and served as a judge in the early days of Lewis and Pierce counties. Chambers is buried about three and a half miles due south of the first tee.

The first nine

Hole #1: Puget Sound.  Par 5 (or 4).  West 465-598 yards.

Chambers Bay wastes no time, starting with a long par 5.  The 1st hole is named for the vast expanse of water dominating the view from the tee.  The fairway heads westward toward the water.  Just to the south, the 18th hole runs parallel to the 1st, but in the opposite direction.

Hole #2: Foxy.  Par 4.  North 337-399 yards.

Playfully named for Fox, the closest of four forested islands visible from the course.  It also pays homage to a famous 14th hole on a Scottish links golf course.  There is a perimeter walking path that more or less circles the entire golf course. We say more or less because the path actually cuts through the course here.  Holes 2, 16, and 17 are actually west of the perimeter path.  The other fifteen holes are enclosed by it.

Hole #3: Blown Out.  Par 3.  Northwest 130-198 yards.

This hole honors the brisk wind that blows in from Puget Sound and swirls among the dunes, challenging golfers to take notice of yet another variable in their game strategy.  The 3rd hole is one of the shortest holes on the course.

Hole #4: Hazard’s Ascent.  Par 5.  Southeast 424-530 yards.

Mt Rainier, Washington’s highest point, rises above the horizon southeast of Chambers Bay.  It was first climbed by Hazard Stevens (and Philemon Van Trump) in 1870.

Hole #5: Free Fall.  Par 4.  Northwest 423-488 yards.

This name describes this part of the course as it plummets downhill from the tee to hole.

Hole #6: Deception Point.  Par 4.  South 315-495 yards.

There’s a double meaning here.  Deception Pass is a well-travelled bridge and waterway a few counties to the north.  More immediately, though, the bunker near the green here is apt to deceive the unwary.

Hole #7: Humpback.  Par 4.  Northeast 435-508 yards.

Another double meaning.  The green leading to the 7th Hole rolls up and down AND whales have been known to visit the Sound.

Hole #8: High Road / Low Road.  Par 5.  South 488-614 yards.

At 614 yards (using the Championship Tee), this is the longest hold on the course and it stretches almost due south.  On the cliff above the 8th fairway is the long eastern leg of the park’s perimeter walking path.

Hole #9: Olympus.  Par 3.  West 168-227 yards.

On clear days the Olympic Mountains graceful rise along the northwestern horizon.  Mount Olympus is the tallest peak in the range.

The second nine

Hole #10: High Dunes.  Par 4.  Northwest 330-436 yards.

The path to the 10th hole rests in a long “valley” between two high dunes that run parallel to the fairway.

Hole #11: Shadows.  Par 4.  North 402-537 yards.

The name is said to have come about from the evening shadows that reach across the rolling texture of the course on the 11th hole.

Hole #12: The Narrows.  Par 4.  North 246-311 yards.

At Chambers Bay’s northwest corner golfers might glance around the bend (or through the trees) and see the two bridges that cross Puget Sound from Tacoma to Gig Harbor.  The Tacoma Narrows is the name both the waterway and the bridges share.  They are among the longest suspension bridges in the world.  One opened in 1950, the other in 2007.

Hole #13: Eagle Eye.  Par 4.  South and southeast 437-534 yards.

The 13th hole is Chambers Bay’s northernmost fairway and can be seen up close from the perimeter trail.  It arcs across the top of the course far away from the opening tee and the 18th green.  It also has a name with a double meaning.  A good golfer might play the par 4 hole in two strokes and thus score an “eagle.”  Eagles of the avian kind are also common in the area (and are hard to miss when the big birds soar overhead).

Hole #14: Cape Fear.  Par 4.  Northwest 383-546 yards.

Named in part for the shape of the fairway and green, this hole is reminiscent of a shoreline cape.  The hole is also capable of instilling fear in the unprepared golfer.  Like the 5th tee a short distance to the south, the 14th can be seen from the perimeter trail’s high eastern leg.

Hole #15: Lone Fir.  Par 3.  Southwest 103-167 yards.

While trees surround the course at Chambers Bay, only one is rooted on the course itself. It’s difficult to not notice the lonely fir standing tall among the dunes and it’s straight ahead of the 15th tee.  This hole is one of the shortest on the course.

Hole #16: Beached.  Par 4.  South 323-423 yards.

The course dips down toward the mixed sand and gravel shore of Puget Sound on this hole and continues southward on the next.  The course never touches the beach, however, because train tracks get in the way. (See Hole #17.)

Hole #17: Derailed.  Par 3.  South 119-218 yards.

Sandwiched between Puget Sound and the golf course here is a busy railroad line carrying freight and passengers north and south many times each day.  A passing train is likely to be heard two or three time during every 18-holes of golf.  If you want a double meaning, consider the 17th hole as the place where a good golf game can veer off the tracks.

Hole #18: Tahoma.  Par 5 (or 4).  East 487-604 yards.

The final hole at Chambers Bay — and the championship hole at the 2015 US Open — is a mammoth, slightly uphill par 5 on the course’s southern boundary.  Golfers here will pass the imposing ruins of the massive concrete bins used to sort sand and gravel during the land’s industrial days.  The hole bears what is considered to be the Indian name for Mt Rainier: Tahoma.  The word is also the source of Tacoma’s name.

PHOTO: Chambers Bay at Winter Sunset © Steve Campion, 2015.

SOURCES: We enjoyed the nicely illustrated book America’s St. Andrews : linking golf from its past to its future, publicly-owned Chambers Bay is the dream realized by Blaine Newnham (2014).  We also referred to Town on the Sound: stories of Steilacoom edited by Joan Curtis, Alice Watson, and Bette Bradley (1988), and the Chambers Bay Golf Course website.  Most enjoyable of all: we both walked and biked the trail surrounding the course several times.


Notes on the Boys in the Boat

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Arts, Culture & Media

Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat is one of the most popular non-fiction books in recent years relating to the Northwest.  It tells the triumphant story of the University of Washington 8-man crew which emerged from the Puget Sound region in the early 1930s to stun the big eastern schools, Nazi Germany, and maybe the boys in the crew themselves.  Along the way, the book touches on the Great Depression, the Olympics, and themes like discipline, sacrifice, teamwork, family, and athletic competition.

Pierce County Library chose The Boys in the Boat as its “one book, community reads” program (“Pierce County Reads”) in spring, 2015.*  It was a hit.  I wrote a series of minor commentaries for the library staff as the program and its events unfolded, culminating with an author visit and book signing April 24. What follows is, slightly edited, a list of those commentaries about both the book and a few related topics.

*The book was also central to this year’s Whatcom Reads in Whatcom County in February, 2015.

1. THE ROLES OF THE CREW. How many people are on an eight-man rowing crew?  Answer: Nine!  Only eight have oars, though.  All nine people on an “eight” have roles to play. The first three seats in the bow must be technically proficient to make the boat stable and cut through the water with ease.  The next three muscle seats, known as the “engine room,” give the boat its power. The number seven seat is a little of everything: technique, power, and awareness. The 8th seat, or “stroke,” provides the rhythm — the steady pace everyone else follows. The coxswain is in the stern.  He has no oars and is the only man facing forward. He steers, watches the race develop, plays out the race plan, and calls the tempo. The Boys in the Boat author Daniel James Brown said the coxswain is a quarterback, a cheerleader, and a coach all in one.

2. THE DEPRESSION AND THE DUST BOWL. The Boys in the Boat is a story set primarily between 1933 and 1936, a time when America was living through the Great Depression. Economic hardship is not the principal focus of the book, but it is persistently nearby; a minor character throughout the pages.  The Depression began with the Stock Market Crash in October, 1929, and continued for a decade. Many people struggled to simply survive.  Unemployment rose above 10% in 1930, above 20% in 1934, and didn’t return to single digits until 1941.  Seattle in the 1930s, like many cities, had its own “Hooverville” — a clustering of scrap tin and wood shacks sprawling south of downtown — today’s SoDo District.  (Run an Internet image search for Seattle Hooverville to see it for yourself.) If the economic depression wasn’t enough, a series of agricultural disasters struck the Midwest and West during this era, including several giant dust storms that ripped tremendous volumes of topsoil from farmlands and sent them aloft into blackened skies. The effects of “Black Sunday” (Apr 14, 1935) and other storms lasted longer than a single windy day. Crops were lost, farms were destroyed, jobs were blown away, and millions of displaced workers migrated in desperate searches for work.  While Joe Rantz and the Husky crew worked to keep their minds “in the boat”, this was the world just outside.

3. GREAT FROM GREATER. Husky crew coach Al Ulbrickson struggled to settle on a varsity crew. It was both a blessing and a curse that he could draw from a deep pool of talent. His task, as Daniel James Brown described it in The Boys in the Boat, was to “separate good from great, and great from greater.” But his choices went beyond individuals. Throughout the 1935-1936 school year, Ulbrickson moved boys from boat to boat, hoping to find the elusive perfect combination. He knew it was there, hiding, waiting to be discovered. He couldn’t simply stock a shell with the best rowers. He had to discover the best team — a team that, as George Yeoman Pocock would describe, operated as a single unit from bow to stern. Only then could the sum become greater than the parts.

4. B STREET. Washington rower Joe Rantz encountered many hard-working people the summer he worked at Grand Coulee Dam. Rantz and the others were attracted to the massive public construction project in the middle of nowhere in a decade of scarce job opportunities. In the Grand Coulee chapter of The Boys in the Boat, author Daniel James Brown mentioned B Street, a noisy entertainment and adult business district near the dam where many laborers spent their paychecks. He also mentioned Harry Wong at the Woo Dip Restaurant on B Street. It was a passing reference you might easily miss.  A local writer of Filipino & Native American descent grew up in that restaurant and wrote a memoir of those days. B Street: The Notorious Playground of Coulee Dam by Lawney L. Reyes (University of Washington Press, 2008) is his look back at the vibrant days in his boyhood. He describes his parents’ attempts at running the Chinese restaurant. Neither of them knew much about cooking or Chinese food beyond tasting it once in Spokane! Harry Wong, a Chinese immigrant who actually knew how to cook, arrived in town and made the place hum. Reyes also tells about life on B Street and about the region’s Native American peoples whose lives were disrupted and homes destroyed by the dam and its floodwaters. The simple local history memoir is tangential to the brief summer episode in The Boys in the Boat, but it’s an interesting 150 page read if you want to explore that time and place from a minority community’s (and a child’s) perspective.

5. TEAMWORK. If you boiled the essence of The Boys in the Boat down to one word, it would surely be “teamwork.” A good team is greater than the sum of individuals. In building the Olympic crew, Coach Al Ulbrickson sought certain qualities in its members. Author Daniel James Brown named five of them: the potential for raw power, nearly superhuman stamina, indomitable willpower, intellectual capacity to master details of technique, and the most important one: “the ability to disregard his own ambitions, to throw his ego over the gunwales, to leave it swirling in the wake of his shell, and to pull, not just for himself, not just for glory, but for the other boys in the boat.”  The author said each boy individually came to believe that he wasn’t up to par with his teammates, that he was the least among them, that he alone didn’t deserve to be among the others on the crew. With each boy harboring such humbling thoughts, each became determined not to let the others down.

6. HOW’S THAT AGAIN?. The Boys in the Boat book is remarkably well-researched. What about the audio recording?  On the whole, it’s an excellent performance. The late Edward Herrmann did a wonderful job reading both the action scenes and the quiet passages. But — some gentle chiding here — he may jar Northwest ears from time to time. You might find yourself shaking your head and saying: “you’re not from around here, are you?”  A little regional coaching may have prevented the actor from mispronouncing Alki Point, Anacortes, Ephrata, Hamma Hamma, Juan de Fuca, Montesano, Puyallup, the Skagit River, and a few other locales. Even the Suzzallo Library and the old Bon Marche department store get the tongue-twisted treatment. Ever the professional, Herrmann plowed through the place names without hesitation.  Give him credit. Herrmann was a terrific actor, had a great voice … and he pronounced Sequim right!

7. AN AFTERNOON ADRIFT. If you have memories of lazy afternoons spent drifting on water, you may have enjoyed one particular passage in The Boys in the Boat as much as I did. Five paragraphs in Chapter Nine (pp.159-160 in the hardback & trade paperback editions) described a joyous spring day that Joe and Joyce spent together rowing and floating in a rented canoe through Seattle’s Montlake Cut and the lake waters beyond. There were no race officials, no stroke counts; just two young people, a guitar, a few dragonflies, and the magic of gentle lake waves. “It was a day that both of them would remember well into old age.”  You can still take that same ride eighty years later. The University of Washington rents rowboats and canoes to the public on a first come basis out of its Waterfront Activities Center on Montlake Boulevard (on the opposite side of Husky Stadium from the Conibear Shellhouse). Rentals are $11 per hour or less — with discounts for weekday use and student and alumni status. By the way, I’m not advertising to benefit UW’s cashbox here; I’m merely tossing you the invitation to indulge in a future memory yourself.

8. PROPAGANDA. Parallel to The Boys in the Boat‘s gentler story unfolding on Lake Washington was the growing Nazi propaganda machine in Berlin. Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister, set out to design the 1936 Olympics as a stage for the Third Reich. The city became a movie set, of sorts. Goebbels’ scaffolding supported a peaceful façade for visitors.  It also hid the evils that had already begun in Nazi Germany — evils that would resume with a vengeance shortly after the games ended. Many elements of the pomp and pageantry of the modern Olympics (the torch relay, for instance) began with Goebbels’ intent to impress the world at the Berlin games. If Goebbels was Hitler’s set designer, then filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl was his cinematographer. She produced several films to showcase, magnify, and exaggerate an image of German culture, power, and greatness by using dramatic action, creative camera placement, and skillful editing. It was cutting edge stuff by 1936 movie standards even if the content is disturbing by cultural standards in 2015 — or 1936 in most places.

9. THREE FRIDAYS. History and Washington State are among my interests so it was naturally nerdy of me, therefore, to glance through a few of my past scribbles to get a sense of what else was happening in the Puget Sound area during the month the Husky crew rowed to gold in Berlin. I found three events of varying emotion and importance on three consecutive Fridays in August, 1936. You’ll read about only the second of these events in The Boys in the Boat. The first was front page news at the time, but it’s unlikely many people in 2015 have ever heard the story. The third was insignificant to all but a few in 1936, but it left a lasting legacy. Together they make a disconnected yet interesting trio of news.  Friday, Aug. 7, 1936: Tragedy. Washington’s 34-year-old U.S. Congressman Marion Zioncheck committed suicide. He wrote a brief note in pencil on congressional stationery before jumping from his 5th floor campaign office window in Seattle’s Arctic Building. His wife, sitting in a parked car outside, witnessed the tragic event unfold in front of her. Warren Magnuson filled Zioncheck’s congressional seat and served Washington in the House and Senate for the next 44 years.  Friday, Aug. 14, 1936: Victory. The Washington crew — the boys in the boat –won the gold medal at the Berlin Olympics. Friday, Aug. 21, 1936: Birth. Tacoma’s Evelyn Booth and Bryson Gardner welcomed a son into the world. The parents divorced 4 years later, but Evelyn’s re-marriage to Norton Clapp — a wealthy Weyerhaeuser investor, later company president, and builder of several Lakewood landmarks — enabled young Booth Gardner to gain an education at the prestigious Lakeside School, UW, and Harvard. Gardner became Pierce County’s first county executive and Washington’s 19th governor (1985-93).

10. GEORGE YEOMAN POCOCK, BOAT-BUILDER. George Yeoman Pocock was the son of a boat builder at Eton College in England and became an apprentice himself for a time. He gave up the trade when Eton let his father go. He and a brother started new lives in Canada, taking jobs in logging camps and factories. Someone in the Vancouver Rowing Club heard about Pocock’s past connection to boatbuilding and ordered two single sculls. Then Hiram Conibear, Washington’s crew coach, hired him to build shells for the university in 1912. It was the beginning of a long relationship between Pocock and UW. Other schools gradually discovered that his boats were far and away the best of the era. By the mid to late 1930s, nearly all the boats in national crew races were Pococks. His shells won at least one gold medal in each of the next five Olympics. George Pocock was a craftsman. “He didn’t just build racing shells,” The Boys in the Boat author Daniel James Brown wrote. “He sculpted them.” In his workshop at the UW boathouse, Pocock would use steam to bend and assemble spruce, ash, and cedar into lively boats that sliced the water. His boats are things of beauty — and I’m not only referring to the Husky Clipper which hangs from the ceiling in the Conibear Shellhouse at UW. I’ve had the good fortune of seeing five Pococks. Their smooth varnished texture, beautiful grains, and rich color stand out from most other racing shells which are nowadays mostly fiberglass. The expert craftsmanship is obvious. They have the ability to take your breath away even if you know nothing about rowing. To people who row, each is a Stradivarius.

11. DROPPING NAMES. If you read The Boys in the Boat too quickly you might miss a few people from Seattle history. Gil Dobie is mentioned during a quick summary of Seattle sports history. Dobie, or “Gloomy Gil” as he was known, was among the most successful coaches in early collegiate football. He led UW to nine (!) consecutive undefeated seasons and held the national unbeaten record (58 wins, 0 losses, 3 ties) for decades. UW never lost a game under Dobie.  Actress Frances Farmer is mentioned briefly, too. She was born in Seattle, attended West Seattle High School, and found success in Hollywood. But after a string of incidents and erratic behavior, she was diagnosed with manic depressive psychosis. Her family and the authorities committed her as a paranoid schizophrenic to Western State Hospital in Lakewood. She was said to have suffered horribly abusive experiences there. It was a long, sad story. Decades later, the abuse at Western State is more famous than her film career. You’ve probably heard that Safeco Field is “on the corner of Edgar and Dave” — a tribute to Edgar Martinez and Dave Niehaus, two familiar baseball names in these parts. You might not know that the street between Safeco and CenturyLink is Royal Brougham Way. Royal Brougham was a sports writer and appears throughout The Boys in the Boat as the ever-present reporter from the Seattle P-I. Brougham was on the newspaper’s staff for 68 years! He also started the regional Sports Star of the Year award and banquet that has been going strong since 1935. Husky crew coach Al Ulbrickson won in the award’s second year. He’s not from Seattle, but even actor Hugh Laurie appears in the book! Why? Discover that for yourself.

12. CHANT. Rowing is as much a challenge of the mind as it is a sport of the body. You must match whatever rhythm the coxswain calls for and concentrate on your movements to deliver power and produce that rhythm.  One of the chants the boys in the boat used to keep focus and rhythm was “M.I.B. M.I.B. M.I.B..” (No, they weren’t foreshadowing the Men in Black movies.) M.I.B. stood for “mind in boat.” That phrase reminded them to rid all distractions and to concentrate on their primary task from the moment they stepped into the boat to the finish line. They trained themselves to cast away thoughts about who was watching them from the shore or how the competing boats were faring.  “M.I.B.” reduced the world of the oarsmen to their next stroke, their rhythm, their power, the movement of their arms, the shoulder of the man in front of them, and the catch of their paddle in the water. Nothing beyond the oar existed during a race. Concentration. Focus. Mind in the boat. It was all about the boat.

13. SWING. There is musical beauty when several voices sing in perfect harmony. A similar effect happens in rowing “when all eight oarsmen are rowing in such perfect unison that no single action by any one is out of sync with those of the others.” It is called swing. The rowers cease being a boatload of individuals and become a single unit. Daniel James Brown wrote that it’s not just a matter of getting oar strokes together; it’s harmonizing every minute muscle action “from one end of the boat to the other. Only then will the boat continue to run, unchecked, fluidly and gracefully between pulls of the oars. Only then will it feel as if the boat is part of each of them, moving as if on its own.  Rowing then becomes a kind of perfect language. Poetry, that’s what a good swing feels like.”  The boys in the boat first found their swing rowing back to the shell house after a trial run at nationals one evening. Everyone was relaxed, everything was in sync, and the boat slid effortlessly in the quiet night.

14. HOW THE US TEAM FARED. We all know who won gold in the 8-man rowing event, but how did the rest of the US Olympic team do in 1936? Overall, Germany dominated the games with 101 medals (38 gold, 31 silver, 32 bronze). The United States was a distant second with 57 (24 gold, 20 silver, 12 bronze), and Italy was third with 27 (9 gold, 13 silver, 5 bronze). That medal count was a big reversal from 1932 when the US won 110 medals in Los Angeles to Germany’s 24.  But there was much for Americans to cheer. For starters, Northwesterners celebrated Jack Medica of Silverdale. The UW alumnus took home a gold, two silvers, and an Olympic record in swimming. Then, of course, there was Ohio State’s Jesse Owens. He won more gold medals than any athlete from any country: 4 golds in track & field.  He set three Olympic records and two world records in the process. His feats were dramatic counter-arguments to Hitler’s talk about a superior race. On consecutive days Owens won the 100 meters, the long jump, and the 200 meters. (In the 200 meters, by the way, the silver went to fellow American Mack Robinson, the older brother of Jackie Robinson who would break baseball’s color barrier 11 years later.) To cap his performance, Owens led the American team to the 4×100 meter relay gold. The only other American to win more than one gold medal was an 18-year-old woman from Missouri named Helen Stephens. Just like Owens, Stephens won the 100 meters and the 4×100 meter relay. And on August 8, Americans swept the decathlon: gold, silver, and bronze. It would be dozen years (and an intervening world war) before another Olympics was held.

15. STARTING OUT. The Boys in the Boat is primarily a book about rowing. Rowing and athleticism, teamwork, discipline, and dedication to a goal. There is also a love story in the book. Joe and Joyce fell in love in the early 1930s, married, and stayed together the rest of their lives. Within the couple of years central to the book, Joe and Joyce coped with work, money, time away, time with each other, and an assortment of thorny family issues. In other words: life happened.  There is a photograph of Joe and Joyce standing together in front of Joe’s car. It’s a wonderful image. They’re young and just starting out in life together. It is a scene that is very “1930s”, and yet it’s a theme that gets repeated again and again. I have a nearly-as-old black & white photo of my grandparents starting out together with their rented house in the background. I have a similar one a generation later with my parents, suitcases in hand, walking off toward their lives’ adventures. The photo is only the beginning. Life is what happens next.

16. THE BOYS IN THE BOAT. We’d be remiss if we didn’t list the boys in the boat by name. The gold medal crew aboard the Husky Clipper in 1936 were, in seat order* from the bow to the stern:  Roger Morris from Bainbridge Island. He was the only one in his freshman crew to have ever rowed before. Charles “Chuck” Day, a bespectacled young man who grew up just north of UW’s frat row. Big Gordon “Gordy” Adam, “a dairy farm kid from the Nooksack Valley who earned tuition money salmon fishing in the Bering Sea. Johnny White Jr from South Seattle, whose father had been a star rower a generation earlier. Junior was one of three crew members that worked a summer at Grand Coulee Dam. (Day and Rantz were the others), Jim “Stub” McMillin was “a six-foot-five, slightly goofy-looking beanpole with a smile that could knock your socks off.” He grew up on Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill and took work as the shell house janitor to get by. George “Shorty” Hunt was a star athlete from Puyallup High School, where he played basketball, football, tennis, and worked in the library. Joe Rantz, the main focus of the book, was born in Spokane, grew up in Sequim, and played a little banjo, Another star athlete in high school was Don Hume from Anacortes. He played basketball, football and track. He also played piano — from classical music to Fats Waller. Calling the races from the coxswain’s seat was Bobby Moch from Anacortes. He had been a sickly child, but even asthma would not stop him from trying out for every sport his school offered.

17. FAVORITE LINES. We’ll finish this series of commentaries by asking: What was YOUR favorite line, favorite scene, or favorite storyline in The Boys in the Boat?  I enjoyed too many stories to pick just one scene, but I did have a favorite sentence.  It was delivered by Seattle P-I sportswriter Royal Brougham. Reporting on Bob Moch’s race strategy at Poughkeepsie where the Husky crew toyed with and then ultimately dominated a strong field of rivals, Brougham wrote: “It was positively cold-blooded.” Do you have a different favorite line, scene, or storyline from the book? Please share it.

IMAGES: The Dust Bowl photo is a public domain image from the Library of Congress. All other photos (that are not book covers) are © Steve Campion.

NOTE: These commentaries appear here unaffiliated with the book’s author, the publisher, or the library.


Ten ways to die in Washington

Published by Steve Campion. Category: People, Uncategorized

Washington is a good place to live.  People inevitably die here, too.  In 2013, there were 51,264 deaths.  What were the leading causes?  Today we list the ten most common killers in the state and include some statistics putting them into context with other state and national averages.  (All stats are for 2013.)

The first two items on the list are far and away the deadliest.  Cancer and heart disease alone account for 43.8% of all deaths in Washington state.  Add Alzheimer’s at #3 (6.4% of the total) and you have a majority of all deaths tied to only three ailments.

Washington’s death rate from all causes is 735.3.  That means 735.3 people died for every 100,000 people in the population in the latest year for which statistics are available.  The national death rate for the same year was about 10.5% higher: 821.5 people per 100,000.  A glance through the statistics shows that West Virginia has the highest overall death rate in the nation (1178.0) and Alaska the lowest (543.7).   At the end of each entry below, we included the states with the highest and lowest death rates alongside the national and Washington rates.  Quick links to relevant Wikipedia pages are also provided.

1. Malignant neoplasms
Various forms of cancer make up the leading cause of death in Washington, accounting for 11,928 deaths (23.3% of the total) in 2013.   Despite it being Washington’s #1 killer and America’s #2, the state’s cancer death rate is still 7.5% lower than the national average.  Among the states, West Virginia has the highest rate of death from cancer and Utah has the lowest. (Wikipedia description)
Death rate: 171.1 in Washington. 185.0 in the United States. 254.4 in West Virginia — 102.4 in Utah.

2. Diseases of the heart
Cardiovascular diseases kill more Americans than any other cause, but it is only the second highest cause of death in Washington with a 22% lower death rate.  Still, 10,524 fatal cases of coronary heart disease and related conditions is enormously significant.  It kills more than three times as many people as #3 on Washington’s list. (Wikipedia description)
Death rate: 151.0 in Washington. 193.3 in the United States. 258.0 in Alabama — 96.0 in Alaska.

3. Alzheimer’s disease
Of all the ailments on this list, Alzheimer’s in Washington shows the sharpest disconnection with national averages. It is the state’s 3rd most common cause of death, but is only the 6th leading killer in America. Washington’s death rate from Alzheimer’s is 75% more than that of the country as a whole.  Only North Dakota and South Dakota have higher rates. (Wikipedia description)
Death rate: 47.0 in Washington. 26.8 in the United States. 50.2 in North Dakota — 9.8 in Alaska.

4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
Asthma and various pulmonary diseases are slightly less common in Washington that the rest of the United States, where it is the #3 killer.  West Virginia’s death rate from this cause is twice that of Washington.
Death rate: 42.1 in Washington. 47.2 in the United States. 85.7 in West Virginia — 19.9 in Hawaii.

5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
Washington is just below the national average in accidental deaths, which makes accidents the 5th most common cause of death in the state and 4th most common in the country.  Washington’s death rate due to motor vehicle accidents, by the way, is 7.7 per 100,000 people.   (Wikipedia description)
Death rate: 40.5 in Washington. 41.3 in the United States.  75.2 in West Virginia — 29.2 in Maryland.

6. Cerebrovascular diseases
Washington is in the midrange among states in regard to death from stroke and other diseases affecting blood supply to the brain.  The cause of death ranks 5th nationally. (Wikipedia description)
Death rate: 38.0 in Washington. 40.8 in the United States. 55.3 in Arkansas — 25.7 in Alaska.

7. Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes is the only item ranked the same on Washington’s list and the nation’s list: #7.  (Wikipedia description)
Death rate: 23.2 in Washington. 23.9 in the United States.  45.4 in West Virginia — 15.0 in Colorado.

8. Intentional self-harm (suicide)
Washingtonians commit suicide 13% more often than the national rate.  The other Washington (District of Columbia) has the lowest suicide death rate in the nation.  Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States as a whole.  FYI: Intentional harm to others — homicide — has a much lower 2.9 death rate in Washington and did not make this list. (Wikipedia description)
Death rate: 14.7 in Washington. 13.0 in the United States.  23.9 in Montana — 5.9 in Washington, DC.

9. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
Chronic liver disease can be caused by (among other things) hepatitis and alcohol abuse.  This is 21% more common in Washington than in the nation as a whole. On the national list of killers, it’s ranked number 12.  (Wikipedia description)
Death rate: 13.9 in Washington. 11.5 in the United States. 21.7 in New Mexico — 6.7 in Utah.

10. Influenza and pneumonia
Washington fares significantly better against the flu and pneumonia than the rest of the country.  Not only is it number 10 on our list (compared to 8th on the national list), but the death rate is 39% lower here than elsewhere.  (Wikipedia descriptions of influenza and pneumonia)
Death rate: 11.0 in Washington. 18.0 in the United States. 32.5 in Hawaii — 9.0 in Alaska.

SOURCE:  All data is from the National Vital Statistics System’s Leading Causes of Death, 2013, the CDC’s latest year of reporting.

PHOTO © Steve Campion.


The Long Voyages of the Mariners

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Sports & Recreation

SEATTLE 2011Mariners can certainly rack up air miles.* Play baseball for a team in the Midwest and you can hop to most other major league cities in short order.  Cincinnati and St Louis are not quite in the center of the country but they are in the thick of the baseball universe.  They have nearby teams in every direction.  But Seattle?  If you’re on the Mariners be prepared for long flights every road trip.  We’re all alone up here in the Northwest.  The nearest major league team — Oakland — is about 700 miles away.  All other ballparks are even farther.  It’s not surprising the Seattle Mariners are usually the most travelled team in baseball, logging 335,000 miles in seven years, about 50% more miles than the average team, and twice as many miles as those lucky teams out of the Midwest.

Baseball Savant calculated the numbers and we show a few of them below in three short lists.  We’ve also included three maps from Baseball Savant, including Seattle’s most travelled recent season (2011, top right), showing multiple cross-continent flights.

Seeing these numbers makes all the more impressive the record-setting 116 wins of the travel-weary 2001 Seattle Mariners.  And it makes the perpetually lousy Chicago teams seem even worse.  C’mon.  What’s their excuse?



  • 53,415 miles – Mariners in 2011 (see travel map above)
  • 51,845 miles – Mariners in 2013
  • 51,540 miles – Mariners in 2014
  • 46,383 miles – Mariners in 2009
  • 44,405 miles – Mariners in 2010*
  • 44,059 miles – Mariners in 2012*
  • 43,281 miles – Mariners in 2015 (see travel map below)

* The Mariners were the most-travelled team in major league baseball in five of these seven years. Only in 2010 and 2012 (when the Oakland Athletics wandered 48,446 and 45,773 miles respectively) did another team surpass Seattle.



  • 43,281 miles – Seattle Mariners* (see travel map here)
  • SEATTLE 201540,867 miles – Oakland Athletics*
  • 38,228 miles – San Francisco Giants
  • 37,207 miles – Texas Rangers*
  • 36,568 miles – Los Angeles Angels*

*Four of the five teams from the American League West appear in the Top 5 this year. The only AL West team missing is the Houston Astros, in 9th place with 34,497 miles in 2015,



  • CINCINNATI 201523,180 miles – Chicago White Sox
  • 22,508 miles – Detroit Tigers
  • 20,953 miles – Chicago Cubs*
  • 20,875 miles – St Louis Cardinals*
  • 20,612 miles – Cincinnati Reds*

* During the 2015 season the Mariners will trek more than two miles for every one mile that the home-spoiled Cubs, Cardinals, and Reds (whose comfy map is shown here) must do.  In other words, it takes the those teams two seasons to cover the same distances Seattle makes in one.  When the Mariners had their 53,415 mile road trip total in 2011, these same three teams (along with the Brewers) again halved the M’s total — each logging just over 24,000 miles.


*Seattle’s original major league baseball team was more appropriately called the Pilots.

SOURCE:  Kudos to Baseball Savant!  They calculated the mileage totals and generated the maps.  The intervening commentary is our own.


Russell Wilson versus NFL Teams

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Sports & Recreation

The Seattle Seahawks led by quarterback Russell Wilson have left no doubt they are among the most competitive teams in NFL history.  In three brief years, Seattle has racked up 42 wins in regular and post-season games — a remarkable 14.0 wins per season average.

Want another astounding team statistic?  (Granted, there are many.)  There are seven active Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks (other than Wilson himself).  You might consider them the best of the best.  The Wilson-led Seahawks have faced five of them in the last 3 years, compiling 10 wins, and 1 loss against them.  Here’s the data: Seattle is 3-0 vs. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (winner of Super Bowl #45), 2-0 vs. New York Giants’ Eli Manning (#42, 46), 2-0 vs. Denver’s Peyton Manning (#41), 2-0 vs. New Orleans’ Drew Brees (#44), and 1-1 vs. New England’s Tom Brady (#36, 38, 39).  Only Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (#40, 43) and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (#47) have thus far avoided a date with Seattle.  Both those delays will end in 2015.

Below we list all the Seahawks games in the Russell Wilson era (2012-15) broken down by opponent, division, and conference.  We’ve also included opponents to be faced in the 2015 season.


NFC (Seattle is 33-9 against NFC teams)

NFC West

Opponent 2012 2013  2014  2015 W-L total 
San Francisco 49ers L W W L W* W W  @SEA & @SF 5-2
Arizona Cardinals L W W L W W  @SEA & @ARI 4-2
St Louis Rams L W W W L W  @SEA & @STL 4-2

NFC South

Opponent 2012 2013 2014 2015 W-L total
Carolina Panthers W W W W* @SEA 4-0
New Orleans Saints W W* 2-0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 1-0
Atlanta Falcons L* W 1-1

NFC East

Opponent 2012 2013 2014 2015 W-L total
New York Giants W W 2-0
Washington Redskins W* W 2-0
Philadelphia Eagles W 1-0
Dallas Cowboys W L @DAL 1-1

NFC North

Opponent 2012 2013 2014 2015 W-L total
Green Bay Packers W W W* @GB 3-0
Minnesota Vikings W W @MIN 2-0
Chicago Bears W @SEA 1-0
Detroit Lions L @SEA 0-1

AFC (Seattle is 9-5 against AFC teams)

AFC East

Opponent 2012 2013 2014 2015 W-L total
New York Jets W 1-0
Buffalo Bills W 1-0
New England Patriots W L* 1-1
Miami Dolphins L 0-1

AFC South

Opponent 2012 2013 2014 2015 W-L total
Houston Texans W 1-0
Jacksonville Jaguars W 1-0
Tennessee Titans W 1-0
Indianapolis Colts L 0-1

AFC West

Opponent 2012 2013 2014 2015 W-L total
Denver Broncos W* W 2-0
Oakland Raiders W 1-0
Kansas City Chiefs L 0-1
San Diego Chargers L 0-1

AFC South

Opponent 2012 2013 2014 2015 W-L total
Baltimore Ravens @BAL 0-0
Cincinnati Bengals @CIN 0-0
Cleveland Browns @SEA 0-0
Pittsburgh Steelers @SEA 0-0

W = Seahawks Win

L = Seahawks Loss

* = postseason game

See also: Most Seahawks Wins and Seahawks Postseasons



Published by Steve Campion. Category: HA! List

We compare things every day.  Differences are often a simple matter of subtraction.  If we can count or measure a pair of things, we can likely do the math and see what separates them.  We call these quantifiably differentiated pairs “betweens.”  Pick the right pair of things and the betweens can be interesting.

Many things, of course, can’t be quantified.  Art is a good example.  There are quality and aesthetic factors not easily reduced to numbers.  That’s fine.  We won’t invent “artty” units to say Suzzallo Library is 1 artty better or worse than the EMP.  (At least we won’t do that yet.  We reserve the right to change our minds.)  For now, though, we’ll only look at betweens that we can count or measure in standard ways.

We collected many Northwest betweens and did the math.  We share a dozen of them in today’s list — the first in a series of betweens.

1 day BETWEEN the death at age 70 of Emil Sick, longtime owner of the Seattle Rainiers baseball team (Nov 11, 1964) AND the death at age 45 of Fred Hutchinson, the greatest star pitcher the Seattle Rainiers baseball team ever produced (Nov 12, 1964).

12 inches BETWEEN the height of world champion Seattle SuperSonics center Jack Sikma (6’11”) AND the height of world champion Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (5’11”).

41 miles BETWEEN the town of Starbuck, WA AND the nearest Starbucks coffee shop (Albertson’s at 450 N Wilbur Ave, Walla Walla).

54 years BETWEEN George Washington’s death (1799) AND his name’s attachment to Washington Territory (1853).

81 feet BETWEEN the Space Needle’s observation deck (519 feet) AND the top of the Space Needle’s antenna spire (605 feet).

166 degrees Fahrenheit BETWEEN the state record high temperature (118° at Ice Harbor Dam, Aug 5, 1961) AND the state record low temperature (-48° at Winthrop and Mazama, Dec 30, 1968).

289 driving miles BETWEEN the University of Washington campus AND the Washington State University campus.

306 driving miles BETWEEN Vancouver, WA AND Vancouver, BC.

1,306 Mariner games BETWEEN Ken Griffey Jr’s 398th Mariners home run (Sep 22, 1999) AND Ken Griffey Jr’s 399th Mariners home run (Apr 6, 2009).

2,182 days BETWEEN the first climb of Mt Olympus, WA (Aug 12, 1907) AND the first climb of Mt Olympus, Greece (Aug 2, 1913).

15,341 feet BETWEEN the maximum height of Mt Rainier (14,411) AND the maximum depth of Puget Sound (930 feet off Point Jefferson between Indianola and Kingston).

11,922,720 cubic yards BETWEEN the concrete volume of the old Kingdome (52,800 cubic yards) AND the concrete volume of the Grand Coulee Dam (11,975,520 cubic yards).

PHOTOS: Kingdome photo in public domain.  All other photos  © Steve Campion.

SOURCES: We referred to our accumulated WA-List files for much of the raw data, much of which is widely available, and some of which is approximate.  (Driving mileage, for instance, is approximate.) All the complicated math (hey, it’s subtraction!) was ours. Perhaps the most specialized data on the list is that of the last pair of betweens.  We found the Kingdome volume on King County’s webpage  and the dam volume at a Bureau of Reclamation page. Yes, that means the dam has the equivalent concrete of 226.8 Kingdomes.

We should also explain that Ken Griffey hit 213 home runs playing for Cincinnati and Chicago during the eight years intervening on his between.


Most Seahawks Wins

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Sports & Recreation

SEE ALSO: Seahawks Postseasons

The Seattle Seahawks closed out the 2014 regular season with six consecutive wins (and 9 wins of their last 10!).  They qualified for the playoffs for the third consecutive year (and fourth year in Pete Carroll’s five years as coach).

Seattle also secured home field advantage in the postseason for the third time in franchise history.  They played in the Super Bowl each of the two previous times that happened.

Three quarterbacks appear three times each on our list. In his three season career so far, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is now 36-12 in the regular season, and 6-2 in the postseason.


Regular season Postseason
Wins-Losses Year Quarterback Wins-Losses Notes 
13-3 2013DH Russell Wilson  3-0 Won Super Bowl 48
13-3 2005DH Matt Hasselbeck  2-1 Lost Super Bowl 40
12-4 2014DH Russell Wilson  2-1 Lost Super Bowl 49 
12-4 1984 Dave Krieg 1-1
11-5 2012 Russell Wilson 1-1
10-6 2007D Matt Hasselbeck 1-1
10-6 2003 Matt Hasselbeck 0-1
10-6 1986 Dave Krieg 0-0
9-6 1987 Dave Krieg 0-1
9-7 Seattle finished 9-7 nine times over the years: 1978, 1979, 1983, 1988D, 1990, 1999D, 2001, 2004D, 2006D.  The best post-season among those years was 1983 with 2 wins and 1 loss.

D = Seahawks won their division. (They also won the division in 2010 with 7 wins, 9 losses.)
H = Seahawks won home field advantage in the postseason.

PHOTO: CenturyLink Field by Steve Campion.


Giving Local: Pet Charities in Washington

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Business & Industry

For two years WA-List has maintained a list of local charities in Washington that focus on feeding, sheltering, and assisting the poor, abused, and homeless people among us. This year we’re adding a companion list for our companions in need: abandoned, neglected, and abused pets. There are many non-profit organizations in Washington, often relying on charitable donations and loving volunteers to care for dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, and other pets that people have neglected or can no longer assist.

Below you will find the names, locations, website links, and Facebook pages of 16 local charitable organizations that serve pet animals (domesticated or feral) with medical care, spay/neutering services, adoption, or food and shelter when it’s most critical.  This is not a “best” list and is far from a complete list.  Consider it starting point — a partial list with which to begin a search of animal organizations in need of charitable donations.

These are all registered charitable organizations. On the last line of each entry are some numbers from the Secretary of State’s office — fiscal year 2013 when available at press time, 2012 or 2011 if not. The first number is the dollar amount of services provided; the second is the group’s total expenses; and the third is the ratio of the two — an efficiency rating of your donated dollar, in a way. In the wordy “Notes” section for each, you will find the organization’s own words — often from a mission statement on their website.  Finally, we intentionally omitted phone numbers and addresses. It is much more efficient (and accurate) to let the websites themselves steer you to the right contact for donations.  On those sites you will also find photos and stories capable of getting you all teary-eyed.



Bulldog Haven Northwest
Website / Facebook

Bulldog Haven NW is a team of foster homes throughout the Pacific Northwest that welcome the dogs in our program into their homes while they receive the care they need. We are NOT a shelter, we DO NOT have a facility, and our dogs are spread across WA and the surrounding states including BC. All of our dogs are at the homes of our unpaid volunteers.
$70,817 / $82,159 = 86%

Concern For Animals
Website / Facebook

For 34 years, Concern for Animals has helped thousands of animals in Olympia and surrounding counties by providing funding for veterinary and rescue services: low cost spay/neuter, emergency medical care, animal food bank, and rescue & adoption.
$118,632 / $174,071 = 68%

Feline Friends
Website / Facebook

Feline Friends provides the following services to stray cats in our program: Rescue, Foster Care, Spay and Neuter, Placement into permanent, caring homes. We strongly encourage spay and neuter of all companion animals to reduce and eventually eliminate the unnecessary killing and abandonment of unwanted pets.
$89,714 / $89,714 = 100%

Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project
Website / Facebook

Our mission is to save the lives of homeless cats by providing access to high volume spay/neuter surgery in a safe and humane environment, collaborating with others and mentoring like-minded organizations to increase spay/neuter in their regions. The Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project has altered over 82,000 cats since our inception in 1997. We are the first free standing clinic that is dedicated to providing free spay/neuter surgery for free-roaming cats in a safe, high quality, humane environment. Cats from over 23 counties throughout Washington State have been brought to our clinic to be altered.
$386,162 / $465,162 = 83%

Furry Friends
Website / Facebook

Founded in 1999, Furry Friends’ mission is to rescue abused, abandoned or otherwise homeless cats and house them in a safe, healthy and socialized environment until we find new “forever homes” for them.
$67,591 / $71,697 = 94%

Homeward Pet Adoption Center
Website / Facebook

Founded in 1990, Homeward Pet is a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter serving the Seattle area. We started with simple goals: save and re-home cats and dogs and educate the public about spaying and neutering their pets. Our mission is to give homeless animals a second chance through our rescue, shelter, and adoption programs.
$784,923 / $1,077,348 = 73%

Northwest Organization for Animal Help (NOAH)
Website / Facebook

We work to “Build a Bond for Life” between pets and their families. The NOAH Center exists to stop the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable and treatable homeless dogs and cats across Washington State. We deliver high quality spay/neuter programs available to low income residents as well as family friendly pet adoptions and volunteer programs through our state-of-the-art facility located north of Seattle off of I-5.
$1,486,382 = $1,758,006 = 85%

Northwest Spay & Neuter Center (formerly Coalition: Humane)
Website / Facebook

Our mission is to promote and provide affordable, high-quality spay and neuter services for cats, dogs, and rabbits in an effort to stop the killing of animals due to overpopulation. Founded in late 2001 as Peninsula Spay/Neuter Project, we facilitated over 10,000 spays and neuters of pet cats and dogs, as well as over 5,200 feral and free-roaming cats in the first 5 years. This was done with a volunteer staff. PSNP was the first organization in Pierce County to focus on the overpopulation of feral and free-roaming cats, and the first organization in the Puget Sound region to focus on pit bull overpopulation.
$870,107 / $1,028,527 = 85%

Old Dog Haven
Website / Facebook

We are a network of private homes helping Western Washington’s homeless senior dogs. Old Dog Haven has no shelter or kennel, all our dogs live as members of a family. We are caring for over 240 dogs at a time in our foster homes. We focus on the oldest dogs left at shelters but occasionally we can take a dog directly from the owner. Dogs in good health with reasonable life expectancy are adopted out; the rest are loved and cared for in a Final Refuge home for as long as they have good quality of life. We also try to assist owners to find new homes for their senior dogs through our website and referrals, and cross-post senior dogs for shelters and other rescues.
$493,531 / $550,533 = 90%

Pasado’s Safe Haven
Website / Facebook

We are a non-profit on a mission to end animal cruelty located on 85 acres in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Pasado’s Safe Haven was founded in 1997 in honor of “Pasado“, a beloved donkey who was tortured to death by three teenage boys. In addition to investigating animal cruelty crimes and providing sanctuary and rehabilitation to animals who have suffered from abuse and neglect, we also advocate for better laws to protect animals and work to educate the public about how they can help end animal suffering. Through our uniquely comprehensive programs, we are able to help thousands of animals every year and spread a message of compassion to countless people.
$2,140,468 / $2,594,647 = 82%

Pet Savers
Spokane Valley
Website / Facebook

We are a high volume, high quality spay/neuter clinic completing between 30-40 surgeries per day. Established in 1996 as a cat foster and adoption group, the members of Pet Savers soon realized that adoption alone was not going to end the staggering pet overpopulation in Spokane County. Pet Savers opened the Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic in 2005 to address the issue of pet overpopulation at its source and has performed over 47,000 surgeries as of 12/1/14 leading to a direct impact on the number of animals entering our local shelters.
$346,051 / $549,904 = 63%

Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
Website / Facebook

PAWS is a champion for animals—rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife, sheltering and adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating people to make a better world for animals and people. PAWS brings together people like you to ensure animals are respected, safe and have a voice. Since 1967, PAWS has united more than 130,000 companion animals with loving families, cared for 115,000 injured and orphaned wild animals, and made the world a better place for countless others through advocacy and education.
$2,631,304 = $3,692,698 = 71%

Rabbit Haven
Gig Harbor
Website / Facebook

A shelter and sanctuary for unwanted and mistreated rabbits … until they all have homes. Rabbit Haven welcomes rabbits from emergency situations, other shelters and animal organizations and from the public [on priority basis].
$24,128 / $31,099 = 78%

Second Chance Ranch (SCR)
Website / Facebook

Second Chance Ranch specializes in the rehabilitation, transition training and adoption services of Thoroughbred race horses from the racetrack into second careers. SCR assists these magnificent athletes transition into a new careers, rehabilitate from minor injuries, or find their permanent retirement home. Also welcomed into our program are thoroughbreds rescued from auctions and feedlots. We are proud to have been chosen as the retirement home of Washington champions such as Longacres Mile winners, The Great Face and No Giveaway, as well as Flying Notes, and many others. Second Chance Ranch strives to make an impact on the lives of horses and their owners in our community through direct intervention, education, and community outreach.
$160,565 / $164,465 = 98%

Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue
Website / Facebook

Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue is a volunteer-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to placing unwanted and abandoned purebred dogs into new homes. Since 1987, Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue has been working with local area shelters and private individuals to find homes for unwanted or abandoned purebred dogs.
$128,786 / $138,463 = 93%

Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation (WAIF)
Website / Facebook

Founded in 1990, WAIF is a non-profit organization that helps pets and their people. It’s mission is to create a community in which animals are treated with compassion and respect and where no companion animals goes unwanted. WAIF manages animal shelters in Coupeville and Oak Harbor, and operates a minimal-kill facility for healthy, adoptable pets until they are placed into permanent, suitable homes.
$899,634 / $1,205,486 = 75%

SOURCES: The websites themselves were our primary sources for the text in the Notes columns. We edited some sentences and adjoined others from different places on the website to suit the clarity of a short description. We were careful not to change the context or meaning. As described above, we also relied on Secretary of State’s charities database to verify licenses, tax exempt status, and the financial information shown here. We also consulted with Kari Kells, a professional pet sitter who champions animal rescue and has been associated with Feline Friends in Olympia.

PHOTO of Sydney by Steve Campion. Sydney was a stray cat taken into the temporary care in Olympia.


Giving Local: Washington Charities (2014)

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Business & Industry

SEE ALSO: Pet-related charities.

Two years ago, WA-List researched and published a list of 14 local charities in Washington that focused on feeding, sheltering, and assisting the poor, abused, and homeless among us. We’re pleased that it has been among the most frequently used lists on our site. Today we update and slightly expand that list for 2014-2015.

You will find the names, locations, website links, and Facebook pages of 19 large local charitable organizations that serve human needs (food, clothes, rest, and help battling addiction, abuse, mental illness, etc.). In the wordy “Notes” section for each, you will find the organization’s own words — often from a mission statement on their website. If the group has a slogan, you’ll see that first in quotes and italics.

On the last line of each entry are some numbers from the Secretary of State’s office — fiscal year 2013 when available at press time, 2012 if not. The first number is the dollar amount of services provided; the second is the group’s total expenses; and the third is the ratio of the two — an efficiency rating of your donated dollar, in a way. Finally, we intentionally omitted phone numbers and addresses. It is much more efficient (and accurate) to let the websites themselves steer you to the right contact for donations.



Catholic Charities of Spokane
Website / Facebook

Catholic Charities Spokane is a network of agencies, institutions, parishes, and individuals, united in Gospel spirit, who are servants to the poor, supporters for families and aides to parishes and communities in meeting the social services needs of people in eastern Washington.
$9,601,271 / $10,927,376 = 88%

Website / Facebook

Healing children today – Breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect forever. ” Our mission is to end the cycle of child abuse and neglect forever by healing its youngest victims with scientifically proven therapeutic care, preparing them to be successful learners, supporting their families and laying the foundation for lifelong loving relationships. Our vision is a community where child abuse and neglect no longer exist.
$6,713,168 / $8,271,998 = 81%

Clark County Food Bank
Website / Facebook

Our mission is to “Alleviate Hunger and Its Root Causes.” This two-part mission statement includes both the providing of emergency food to hungry individuals and families, and also the preventive element of doing everything we can to help people not be in a long-term place of needing food assistance.
$5,445,802 / $5,719,754 = 95%

Cocoon House
Website / Facebook

Because every child needs a home.” Established in 1991, Cocoon House has been Snohomish County’s only resource exclusively serving homeless and at-risk youth ages 12-24. We believe that every child deserves a home and the opportunity to achieve his or her fullest potential. Cocoon House provides youth housing and other critical community -based services to caregivers, families and the community.
$2,798,028 / $2,948,434 = 95%

Emergency Food Network
Website / Facebook

…so that no person goes hungry.” The mission of the Emergency Food Network (EFN) is “to provide a reliable food supply so that no person in Pierce County goes hungry.” Emergency Food Network provides more than 13 million pounds of healthy, nutritious food annually at no cost to over 65 food banks, hot meal sites and shelters for distribution to low-income families and individuals. With its combination of working farm, Repack Project, orchard, distribution warehouse, and Gleaning Project, the Emergency Food Network is unique. It is one of the only non-profit emergency food distribution centers in the country capable of growing, gleaning, purchasing, storing and distributing food—taking food straight from the land to the tables of those in need.
$21,830,707 / $22,382,311 = 98%

Everett Gospel Mission
Website / Facebook

Feeding Hope in Snohomish County since 1961. Everett Gospel Mission first opened its doors in 1961 to care for the rising number of homeless people in Everett. Today, the Mission is the largest homeless services center in Snohomish, Skagit, and Island Counties. In addition to our comprehensive life recovery programs, Everett Gospel Mission provides meals and shelter for 174 men, and 75 women and children. We provide all services without regard to age, gender, race or religion while sharing the love of Christ to those who wish to hear.
$1,777,363 / $2,644,231 = 67%

Website / Facebook

With a combination of a food bank and a family resource center, FamilyWorks offers people in the neighborhood a unique opportunity to truly nourish and strengthen their bodies, minds and spirit in a positive, supportive environment..
$1,394,934 / $1,505,428 = 93%

Website / Facebook

Great food. Better lives.” FareStart is a culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. Since 1992, FareStart has provided opportunities for nearly 7,000 people to transform their lives, while also serving over 6 million meals to disadvantaged men, women, and children.
$6,234,034 / $8,402,255 = 74%

Food Lifeline
Website / Facebook

Feeding hope. Feeding western Washington.” Food Lifeline is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington. Working with the food industry and its surpluses, we come up with creative solutions to stopping hunger, including redirecting good food from manufacturers, farmers, grocery stores and restaurants that might otherwise go to waste. We provide 82,000 meals a day to local food assistance programs, and that, combined with our policy work, creates a sustainable approach to hunger.
$62,903,305 / $65,148,938 = 97%

Jewish Family Service
Website / Facebook

Jewish Family Service helps vulnerable individuals and families in the Puget Sound region achieve well-being, health and stability. Jewish history and values guide our work; therefore, we provide effective services to people of all backgrounds and also have a responsibility to meet the particular needs of Jewish individuals and families in the region.
$7,062,549 / $9,238,042 = 76%

North Helpline
Website / Facebook

North Helpline is dedicated to combating hunger and homelessness in Greater North Seattle, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, and Shoreline. It was started in 1989 by a small group of volunteers who noticed that many of their neighbors were not able to pay their rent, cover their utility bills and put food on the table because their paychecks didn’t stretch that far. These friends began collecting food and financial support to distribute to those most in need in their community. The initial group grew to 600+ volunteers who contribute over 2000 hours of work monthly. North Helpline now provides critical human services to over 1700 clients each week in an effort to reduce the impact of hunger and poverty in the Greater North Seattle Area.
$2,033,560 / $2,123,568 = 96%

Northwest Harvest
Website / Facebook

Hunger stops here.” Northwest Harvest is Washington’s own statewide hunger relief agency. Our mission is to provide nutritious food to hungry people statewide in a manner that respects their dignity, while fighting to eliminate hunger. Our vision is that ample nutritious food is available to everyone in Washington State.
$39,899,018 / $42,385,367 = 94%

The Rescue Mission
Website / Facebook

Help. Hope. Healing.” The Rescue Mission provides help and hope to men, women and children who need shelter, food and assistance with life changes that lead to self-sufficiency. The Rescue Mission works with people at all stages of addiction, homelessness or other life challenges, offering proven services, support and facilities. Originally founded over 100 years ago to serve homeless men in Tacoma, the Rescue Mission has grown to serve women and children in all parts of Pierce County.
$5,196,225 / $5,910,994 = 88%

Second Harvest Inland Northwest
Website / Facebook

Fighting hunger, feeding hope: Second Harvest brings community resources together to feed people in need through empowerment, education and partnerships. It has been leading the hunger-relief network in the region since 1971. Second Harvest distributes over 2 million pounds of free food each month to help people in need in 26 counties in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Partnerships with more than 250 neighborhood food banks and meal centers make it possible to feed 55,000 people each week.
$49,521,946 / $50,278,804 = 98%

Website / Facebook

“Giving foster kids a childhood and a future.” With fierce optimism, Treehouse invests in the lives of young people who have faced the deep wounds from a crisis of parenting. In helping them to secure the essential education, basic material needs, and social experiences they equally deserve, we help kids in foster care discover their own resilience and strength. Treehouse is committed to leveling the playing field for youth in foster care, so that each is included, may prosper in, and contribute to society.
$6,071,436 / $7,698,859 = 79%

Tri-City Union Gospel Mission
Website / Facebook

The Tri-City Union Gospel Mission is a Christ-centered organization desiring to see homeless, hopeless and hurting people in our community become transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We serve all whom God brings our way and do so with love, compassion and urgency as we see them experience lasting change through our Rescue, Recovery and Restoration programs.
$2,379,292 / $2,845,722 = 84%

Vision House
Website / Facebook

“Building hope. Restoring lives.” Vision House is a Christian social service agency based near Seattle, Washington. Since 1990, Vision House has provided transitional housing, support services and child care for homeless mothers and their children and separately to homeless men recovering from substance abuse.
$1,973,686 / $2,536,120 = 78%

Wellspring Family Services
Website / Facebook

For more than 120 years, Wellspring has been a source of opportunity for children and families to win their resilience, triumph over trauma, and reach their full potential. Our mission is to build emotionally healthy, self-sufficient families and a nonviolent community in which they can thrive. We achieve our mission through the effective provision of social and mental health services that help strengthen families, addressing a broad range of issues that can negatively affect their lives.
$9,844,023 / $11,982,280 = 82%

West Seattle Food Bank
Website / Facebook

It has always been about neighbors caring for neighbors. A group of concerned people started the Food Bank in 1981, to make sure that neighbors in need did not go hungry. West Seattle Food Bank is committed to providing food security and community connections to our neighbors in need. We envision a strong and connected community in which all people have access to safe and nutritious food and the essential necessities of living.
$2,518,749 / $2,687,833 = 94%

We’ll say again that this is far from a complete list or a “best” list. We regret we don’t have more wonderful organizations to share but we had to set a threshold of some kind to keep the list manageable.

SOURCES: The websites themselves were our primary sources for the text in the Notes columns. We did not alter the sentences, but in a few cases we adjoined sentences from different places on the website to suit the clarity of a short description. We were careful not to change the context or meaning. As described above, we also relied on Secretary of State’s charities database to verify licenses, tax exempt status, and the financial information shown here. Among the other relevant databases consulted, we found Charity Navigator the most helpful.

PHOTO of food bank volunteers checking expiration dates in the public domain.


Record Heat in an Ice Harbor

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Weather

Summer heat waves have rolled through the Pacific Northwest in the past and will certainly return in the coming years.  None so far have matched the roasting that eastern Washington suffered through in the first week of August, 1961.  That long ago heat wave started slowly with three weather stations edging over 100 °F (37.8 °C) on August 1. More than a dozen communities topped that mark the next day and still more simmered August 3.

Then it really turned into a scorcher.  Temperatures all across the east side of the state soared on Friday, August 4.  Many stations set local records that still stand more than 50 years later.  Ephrata was the hottest at 115 °F, followed by Walla Walla at 114 °F, and both La Crosse and Lind at 113 °F.  Friday was the peak heat for most areas, followed by a cooling trend for the weekend.  Walla Walla dropped 25 degrees for Saturday.

But stagnant air settled in the Lower Columbia Basin bringing still higher temps on Saturday, August 5.  It was on that day Ice Harbor Dam established the all time record high temperature for the state of Washington. Newly anchored in the Snake River a few miles east of the Columbia confluence — and not even operating yet — the dam’s weather instruments peaked at 118 °F (47.8 °C) — a full ten degrees Fahrenheit warmer than its Friday temperature.  Nearby Richland suffered at 113 °F.  Dayton, to the east, wilted at 114 °F.

These were daytime temperatures, of course, but many of these communities didn’t get an overnight respite from the heat during the week. Odessa registered an overnight low of 81 °F; Priest Rapids Dam 8 °F0; Ephrate, Richland, and Ice Harbor 79 °F.

There was a merciful cooling for everyone by Sunday, though. With a few exceptions (e.g., Priest Rapids at 94 °F) eastern Washington dropped back to the 80s. Another 100+ heat wave struck a few weeks later, but temps were nowhere as high as they were August 5 and 6.

Below are the daily highs (and the 3-day peak temperature) reported at selected eastern Washington weather stations during the worst of the 1961 heat wave.


-Aug 3- -Aug 4- -Aug 5- 3-day Maximum
Ice Harbor Dam 105 108 118 118 °F
Ephrata 107 115 102 115 °F
Dayton 100 107 114 114 °F
Walla Walla 107 114 89 114 °F
Lind 107 113 112 113 °F
Richland 105 106 113 113 °F
La Crosse 104 113 93 113 °F
Odessa 108 112 110 112 °F
Ritzville 104 106 112 112 °F
Priest Rapids Dam 109 110 98 110 °F
Chewelah 102 104 110 110 °F
Coulee Dam 105 110 97 110 °F
Pullman 102 110 86 110 °F
Northport 106 109 108 109 °F
Pomeroy 101 103 109 109 °F
Kennewick 101 108 108 108 °F
Leavenworth 104 108 102 108 °F
Spokane International Airport 103 108 97 108 °F
Yakima 103 108 88 108 °F
Chief Joseph Dam 92 101 108 108 °F
Rosalia 98 99 107 107 °F
Newport 106 106 105 106 °F
Wilbur 102 106 105 106 °F
Quincy 103 106 na 106 °F
Goldendale 103 106 85 106 °F
Winthrop 102 105 102 105 °F
Waterville 101 104 97 104 °F
Sunnyside 101 103 103 103 °F
Davenport 102 103 102 103 °F
Wenatchee 99 103 102 103 °F
Omak 101 102 91 102 °F
Republic 95 101 102 102 °F
Bickleton 99 102 91 102 °F
Stehekin 101 96 89 101 °F
Chelan 98 99 96 99 °F
Conconully 98 99 90 99 °F

PHOTO: “Thermometer that couldn’t take the heat” by Dave Beedon (Moab, Utah,  2005).  Used by permission. The photo was not taken in Washington — let alone 1961 — but it illustrates well an extremely hot day.

SOURCES: We built this list with data derived from the NOAA’s Online Weather NOWData involving three different Northwest regions. The table design was our invention to best display the raw data.

By the way: During the research we sought contemporary newspaper articles about the heat wave from sources like the Seattle Times, assuming there might be a recap in the August 6, 1961, issue. We found nothing.  It was as if the heat wave wasn’t happening.  Well, of course, it wasn’t happening … in Seattle.  When the temperature topped off at 118 °F at Ice Harbor Dam Aug 5, Seattle was 77 °F and pleasant.  It’s high that week was 88 °F.