Publicly pointless, personally meaningful. For the third year in a row, I’m tabulating my travels in a list. No one cares where I wandered. But I enjoy recalling the trips and activities and people I encounter each year. This is my list. Make your own!
After a rough, mostly home-bound 2012, I was back out on the road this year, bagging more than half of all Washington counties, and enjoying a long northeastern adventure. I’ve been to all 39 counties in Washington at least twice over the years. In fact, I’ve been to 31 counties since WA-List launched two and a half years ago. (See my 2011 & 2012 lists.)
There’s plenty of interesting things to see and do and explore here. Our state has great variety in its landscapes, cityscapes, culture, art, agriculture, recreation, history, and people. It’s well worth wandering. That’s what I do. That’s what WA-List does. Thanks for traveling with me again this year! And if you’d like, please leave a comment saying where YOU wandered this year.
COUNTIES WHERE I SPENT MY TIME, 2013
SOURCE: Off the top of my head … and in some of my bills.
PHOTO of a Douglas County road © Steve Campion
“This city starts at Fifth Street.” It’s an accurate description. Downtown Vancouver grew from the Columbia River ferry landing a century and a half ago. It was the logical point to walk off the boat from Portland and emerge in the business district. Later it was the logical place to build the river bridge and the interstate highway. Ah, there’s the rub. Highways need space, and a large part of downtown was razed to let the cars flow through. When you drive past Vancouver on Interstate 5 today, you are driving on the old downtown. And what isn’t gone has greatly changed.
Vanishing Vancouver, a new book by Pat Jollota in the “Images of America” series, is a community photo album. Like the people in an old family album, many of the landmarks in this book are no longer with us, and those that remain show a glint of familiarity but are noticeably different. It’s fascinating to see the changes in buildings, streets, and vehicles.
If you’re familiar with Vancouver, you might recall some long-gone businesses like the Vancouver Brewery, Kaiser Shipyards, the Holland Restaurant, and Hi School Drug. You will also see early photos of an Igloo Restaurant, and Burgerville USA.
But need not be from Vancouver to be drawn into the history told on more than one hundred pages of captioned photos. The city is the home of the earliest permanent European settlement in Washington. It has served as an encampment for both British and American interests. Ulysses Grant was stationed here before the Civil War and POWs were housed here during World War II. Vancouver has hosted business and industry for nearly two hundred years. History has continuously changed the landscape and the urban appearance. The photographs in Jollota’s book captures many of the ghosts of this vanished past.
You’ll see images of the Columbia River — frozen. (A plane is parked on the ice in one photo.) You’ll see a parade of Prunarians. They were an important group 100 years ago, but seem rather curious from the perspective of 2013. And you’ll learn about the Witness Tree (pictured at right) that served as the basis of the street grid and all property claims in town.
Whether buildings succumb to highways, civic developers, new technologies, fire, flood, or abandonment, all cities change. It is very easy to not notice the changes that happen gradually. It is far easier to forget things that have vanished completely.
Vanishing Vancouver, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or 888-313-2665.
One more thing: Knowing of the modern city center west of Interstate 5, I was fascinated to see images of the older, now-missing downtown. The pictures reminded me of Tumwater, another Washington city that yielded its central business district to I-5 pavement. (See Tumwater by Heather Lockman and Carla Wulfsberg, another book in the “Images of America” series.)
PHOTOS: courtesy Arcadia Publishing.
Sports & Recreation
After an 8-4 bowl-bound season, Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian packed his bags. He’s left the University of Washington football program after five years to return to USC where he previously worked as an assistant coach. He didn’t even wait to find out which bowl game the Huskies would be playing. Tally his five seasons at UW and you’ll find 34 wins, 29 losses, three postseason appearances, and one bowl win. The 2013 Apple Cup win over the Cougars earned him the last win he needed to rise on the all-time Husky win list (below) over Coach Rick Neuheisel who reached 33 wins in only 4 seasons about a decade ago.
The Huskies have played under 27 head coaches since their first games in 1892. There may be no argument who among them was the most successful. The late Don James trotted onto the filed at Husky Stadium 18 seasons and won almost three out of every four games. The “Dawgfather” also had ten bowl game victories, one national championship, and a trophy case full of coaching awards. His nearest rival might be Gil Dobie who coached nine undefeated seasons (and whom we featured in A Gloomy Success). Yes, that really is a zero in his loss column! John Cherberg, a beloved but not-so-successful coach, converted his popularity into a political career. He served as lieutenant governor for the next three decades, 1957-1989!
Now that Sarkisian has coached his last Husky game, we wanted to see how he ranked on the all-time list. He’s 7th in wins, and 15th in winning percentage. Sarkaisian fared better than his two immediate predessors, Keith Gilbertson and Tyrone Willingham. They were two of only eight UW coaches with losing records.
UW HUSKY FOOTBALL HEAD COACHES, IN ORDER OF MOST WINS
|14||Victor M. Place||1906–1907||8||5||6||.579|
|15||Ralph Nichols||1895–1896, 1898||7||4||1||.625|
|17||Claude J. Hunt||1917, 1919||6||3||1||.650|
|20||A. S. Jeffs||1899||4||1||1||.750|
|22||W. B. Goodwin||1892–1893||2||4||1||.357|
|25||J. S. Dodge||1900||1||2||2||.400|
|26||Carl L. Clemans||1897||1||2||0||.333|
PHOTO of Steve Sarkisian by Bryan Veloso.
Politics & Government
Two very happy announcements arrived last week — both involving babies, congresswomen, and Washington State. We have photos and a list.
The first happy news was an announcement from Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the U.S. Representative from Washington’s 5th Congressional District:
“Brian, Cole, Grace, and I are thrilled to welcome Brynn Catherine to our family! (Born at 6:19 am on Nov. 24, weighing 7 lbs. 6 oz.) Nothing compares to the miracle of bringing a new life into the world. She’s beautiful and seems to be taking it all in stride. Our hearts are full.”
Politicians have had children before, of course, but considering the overwhelming majority of office holders in American history have been male, it’s been a rarity for a member of Congress to give birth. The first was Rep. Yvonne Burke of California. Burke had a daughter on Nov 23, 1973 — 40 years and a day before McMorris Rodgers — while serving the first of her three congressional terms. A generation passed before a second congresswoman became a mother in 1995. Two more representatives gave birth the following year before another quiet decade in the congressional nursery slipped by.
McMorris Rodgers ended that quiet. You’ll notice the names Cole and Grace in the announcement above. They were born to the representative and her husband Brian in 2007 and 2010 respectively. So not only is the Spokane Republican the most recent congresswoman to have a baby, she was also the first to give birth twice — and now three times — while in office. And she’s not exactly neglecting her day job. McMorris Rodgers is in the House leadership, the chair of the House Republican Conference, and the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress.
The second happy news story involved Jaime Herrera Beutler, Republican U.S. Representative from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. Herrera Beutler had a baby this year herself, but she (Abigail) was born 12 weeks premature with Potter’s Syndrome, a serious and usually fatal condition that stifles the development of the kidneys and lungs. Since her birth on July 15, Abigail has been living in a California hospital getting remarkable care. She was born without kidneys and will need a transplant eventually, but thanks to an experimental procedure suggested by doctors at Johns Hopkins, she has not only beaten the odds and survived, but has gotten stronger. Last week the “miracle baby” was released to an outpatient care facility and is expected to go home to Camas for the first time by Christmas.
So congratulations and best wishes to both Washington congresswomen and their families! And welcome to the world, Abigail and Brynn. Your moms have delivered four of the only twelve babies ever born to members of Congress.
BABIES BORN TO CONGRESSWOMEN
|1.||1973||girl||Autumn Roxanne||Yvonne Braithwaite Burke||1932-||D-CA||1973-79|
|2.||1995||girl||Elizabeth||Enid Greene Waldholtz||1958-||R-UT||1995-97|
|3.||1996||girl||Susan Ruby||Susan Molinari||1958-||R-NY||1990-97|
|4&5.||1996||boys||Reece & Bennett||Blanche Lincoln||1960-||D-AR||1993-97*|
|6.||2007||boy||Cole||Cathy McMorris Rodgers||1969-||R-WA||2005-|
|8.||2008||boy||Zachary||Stephanie Herseth Sandlin||1970-||D-SD||2004-11|
|10.||2010||girl||Grace Blossom||Cathy McMorris Rodgers||R-WA|
|11.||2013||girl||Abigail Rose||Jaime Herrera Beutler||1978-||R-WA||2011-|
|12.||2013||girl||Brynn Catherine||Cathy McMorris Rodgers||R-WA|
Six states. Nine women. Twelve babies. Six boys, six girls. Six baby Democrats (5 boys, 1 girl), six baby Republicans (1 boy, 5 girls).
*Lincoln later served in the Senate 1999-2011. Gillibrand later served in the Senate 2009-present.
PHOTOS: Both photos appearing in this article were posted on the congresswomen’s Facebook pages. We intended to use official photos received from congressional offices when we conceived (no pun intended) and researched this list in June. But mother-and-baby photos are so much better. Duh!
SOURCES: The terms of office were taken from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Baby names and birth years were culled from official online biographies and dozens of news articles concerning the various congresswomen.
Sports & Recreation
The Lutes have reclaimed the crown. With eight wins, Scott Westering’s squad earned the best record among the state’s college football teams in 2013. That means we can declare Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma our third annual WA-List virtual state champion.
Over the last three years we have run “virtual standings” on the WA-List home page for all seven local teams as if they were competing in a regular season state league all their own. It is a way to track who is doing well regardless on which level of competition they played.
Pacific Lutheran won the title in 2011, too. A modest 6-3 record that year was sufficient to edge out the rest of the state’s teams. Despite improving to 7-2 in 2012, the Lutes lost the virtual state championship to Eastern Washington University (9-2). Ironically, Eastern improved its record again this year, but couldn’t overtake PLU in our regular-season standings.
Improving seasons appear to be contagious. Since we began our virtual standings, not only have PLU and Eastern steadily improved, but Washington and Central Washington have gotten better. In fact, for six of the seven Washington college teams, 2013 was the best of the three seasons we’ve tracked. Added together, Washington teams were 44 wins, 31 losses this year, up from 40-34 last year, and 31-42 in 2011.
We also want to mention that Eastern finished strong this year; they won their last 8 games and are continuing into the NCAA Division I championship bracket!* And we’re relieved that Puget Sound ended its 20 game losing streak at Whittier September 21, despite the fact they have lost all seven games since. (Hey, it’s a consequence of keeping score: someone wins, someone loses.)
Congratulations to the Pacific Lutheran Lutes for winning the state again this year!
VIRTUAL STANDINGS FOR WASHINGTON COLLEGES, 2013 FOOTBALL SEASON
|Pacific Lutheran University||8-1||—||—||W||W||W||L||W||W||W||W||W||—||—||—|
|Eastern Washington University||10-2||W||W||L||—||L||W||W||W||W||W||W||W||W||—|
|University of Washington||8-4||W||—||W||W||W||L||L||L||W||—||W||L||W||W|
|Central Washington University||7-4||—||L||W||L||W||W||W||W||L||W||L||W||—||—|
|Washington State University||6-6||L||W||W||W||L||W||L||L||—||L||—||W||W||L|
|University of Puget Sound||1-8||—||—||L||W||—||L||L||L||L||L||L||L||—||—|
*PLU played in the NCAA Division III bracket but lost the opener to undefeated Linfield — the only team that defeated them during the regular season, too.
Described as a grand hotel unlike any other in the region, it was a meeting place for both society and business. Then one night in 1935, the Tacoma Hotel went down in flames (right). Fortunately no one died in the fire, but the event was sad nevertheless because a landmark building was gone overnight.
A new book by Caroline Gallacci and Ron Karabaich illustrates this sort of story many times over. Vanishing Tacoma, like most books in the Images of America series, uses captioned vintage black and white photographs to show the steady remaking of a city. Hotels, schools, banks, houses, and roads have come and gone. One generation’s structures erase those before them. Only a precious few survive. The buildings that manage to grow old sometimes do so through the efforts of preservationists, but more often their longevity is due to the pure chance of being in a place that city planners, developers, or disasters didn’t find and destroy. Time moves on. A city is forever changing.
Vanishing Tacoma shows ghosts in plain view. If you’re familiar with Tacoma, you might recognize in the photographs (like the one of North Tacoma Avenue near Division Street below) the curve of a hill or a building that still stands. Such clues may reveal places you know well. But stark differences between a century-old photo and your modern reality can play games in your brain. You know the place, but the surroundings have utterly changed. Ghosts. Gone and mostly forgotten. Replaced.
The fourteen images in the first chapter show neighborhood scenes a few decades on either side of 100 years ago. They are perhaps the best examples with which to compare today with that foreign land of the past. Sequences of photos later in the book show specific properties over time, with the comings and goings of icons like the Charles Wright Building in downtown Tacoma and the Boathouse on the waterfront near Point Defiance.
Not all parts of the city are represented in the book, to be sure, and some photographs are not as interesting as readers might wish. The cover photo, for instance, was a curious choice to spotlight. But many other photographs in the book simply reveal a past you may be entirely unfamiliar with: the “wild west” look of an unpaved Pacific Avenue in the 1890s, Sixth Avenue with streetcar tracks, the Crystal Palace Public Market, and the sturdy bicycle bridge spanning the gulch near Holy Rosary Church.
Cities change slowly but steadily. The images in Vanishing Tacoma remind us how the present fades into the past one building, one paved road, and one ghost at a time. Historians and preservationists try to prevent it, but even something of grandeur (and all the people who toiled on it or in it) can fade completely. From our perspective of the Tacoma Hotel many decades after its fire, we see that not only has that grand hotel vanished from the city’s skyline; it has been erased from popular memory as well. How many modern Tacomans know that such a grand hotel operated at Ninth & A for more than 50 years? Or that it even existed at all? Will the work of our lives vanish as well?
Vanishing Tacoma, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or 888-313-2665.
PHOTOS: courtesy Arcadia Publishing.
Politics & Government
Of the 108 men and 4 women who have served on the Supreme Court, only one rose from the state of Washington. But that one — William O. Douglas — sat on the high court’s bench longer and wrote more opinions than all the rest.
Douglas was born in Minnesota on Oct 16, 1898. His family moved west as his father took various jobs. When his father died in Portland, Douglas’ mother settled the family in Yakima. Young William grew up in eastern Washington, hiked in the Cascade mountains, and graduated from Whitman College in 1920. After teaching English at Yakima High School for a couple years, he entered Columbia Law School in New York. By 1925, he had a law degree and began a career teaching at Columbia and Yale. But his growing political connections served him well during the 1930s and he made a name for himself among Democratic Party leaders. Only 14 years removed from law school, President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Douglas to the Supreme Court . He was only 40 — one of the youngest justices ever.
His political and judicial leanings were progressive. He supported FDR’s New Deal programs, civil rights, and environmental activism. His opinions often landed opposite others on the court who believed in judicial restraint. His court career was one of Constitutional reinterpretation more than precedent.
Politics aside, his remarkable tenure is the subject of today’s WA-List. Douglas served on the Supreme Court from April 17, 1939, to November 12, 1975. That’s 13,358 days — more than 2 years longer than anyone else before or since. During that 36.6 year span, he served with five chief justices and 23 associate justices.* That made him a colleague to more than a quarter of all the members of the court in United States history! Thirteen justices came and went entirely during his term. He retired in 1975, due to declining health and died January 19, 1980 at age 81 — three months shy of 41 years after taking the bench.
Today’s list shows all 14 justices who served 30 or more years on the US Supreme Court. Douglas tops the list, besting Stephen Field by 744 days. Remarkably, Douglas was succeeded on the court by John Paul Stevens, who himself made it to #3 on the list. That one seat, therefore, was occupied by only two men over a span of 71 years. Stevens, who is still living at the time of this writing, would have surpassed Douglas on July 16, 2012, had he not retired.
The longest-serving current justice is Antonin Scalia, appointed by President Ronald Reagan. He took office September 26, 1986, and has served more than 27 years so far. He would need to serve through April 25, 2023 to surpass Douglas.
SUPREME COURT JUSTICES WITH THE LONGEST TENURES
|Justice||Term||Years Served||Appointed by||Home state|
|1. William O. Douglas||36yr 6m||1939-1975||Franklin Roosevelt||Washington**|
|2. Stephen J. Field||34yr 6m||1863-1897||Abraham Lincoln||California|
|3. John Paul Stevens||34yr 6m||1975-2010||Gerald Ford||Illinois|
|4. John Marshall, CJ||34yr 4m||1801-1835||John Adams||Virginia|
|5. Hugo Black||34yr||1937-1971||Franklin Roosevelt||Alabama|
|6. John Marshall Harlan||33yr 10m||1877-1911||Rutherford Hayes||Kentucky|
|7. William Brennan, Jr||33yr 9m||1956-1990||Dwight Eisenhower||New Jersey|
|8. William Rehnquist, CJ||33yr 7m||1972-2005||Richard Nixon||Virginia|
|9. Joseph Story||33yr 7m||1812-1845||James Madison||Massachusetts|
|10. James M. Wayne||32yr 5m||1835-1867||Andrew Jackson||Georgia|
|11. John McLean||31yr 2m||1830-1861||Andrew Jackson||Ohio|
|12. Byron White||31yr 2m||1962-1993||John Kennedy||Colorado|
|13. Bushrod Washington||30yr 9m||1799-1829||John Adams||Virginia|
|14. William Johnson||30yr 2m||1804-1834||Thomas Jefferson||South Carolina|
*Douglas served with 28 justices (including 5 chief justices). The names make a long list unto themselves: Hugo Black, Harry Blackmun, William Brennan, Chief Justice Warren Burger, Harold Burton, Pierce Butler, James Byrnes. Tom Campbell, Abe Fortas, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, John Harlan, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, Robert Jackson, Thurgood Marshall, James McReynolds, Sherman Minton, Frank Murphy, Lewis Powell, Stanley Reed, Owen Roberts, Wiley Rutledge, Potter Stewart, Chief Justice Harlan Stone, Chief Justice Fred Vinson, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Byron White, and Charles Whittaker.
**Douglas was from Washington, as described above, but was appointed to the court officially as a Connecticut resident due to his association with Yale.
SOURCES: Dates were derived from The Supreme Court of the United States website. Biographical information was culled from various sources and assorted personal files.
Geography & Geology, Quiz
Welcome to our second annual satellite image quiz! There’s no place like home. There’s no place like any place, really. Shorelines, roads, forested land, and human development make each place unique. This week we’re offering a list of satellite images* of specific places in Washington State. Can you guess the location of each one? We’ll add one image to our list each day this week.
- Leave your guesses in the comments below — and in the spirit of the game, please post your guesses without verifying them first!
- Be sure to include the number (or the day of the week) given for each image.
- Come back each day for the next image.
- Be sure to return Saturday for all the answers!
*All images shown are from either Google Maps or Google Earth.
#1 (MONDAY). We’ll start out with what may be an easy location to guess.
#2 (TUESDAY). Today’s image might be more of a challenge.
#3 (WEDNESDAY). Deeper greens and blues than yesterday’s image. Is the location easier to guess?
#4 (THURSDAY). Hmm. That’s a curious mix of building shapes. Where do you suppose it is?
#5 (FRIDAY). There are a few roads in this last image of the week. Where are they?
SATURDAY. Answers! Thanks for playing this week.
- Monday: Gas Works Park, Seattle. The water from Lake Union is just below the scene shown..
- Tuesday: The Vancouver Land Bridge, a pedestrian overpass designed by Vietnam Veteran Memorial artist Maya Lin as part of the Confluence Project. It’s the first bridge over Highway 14 east of 1-5. You can walk it if you approach from the waterfront or Ft Vancouver National Park.
- Wednesday: Cape Flattery, the extreme northwest tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Neah Bay is barely visible on the right.
- Thursday: Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla.
- Friday: Interstate 705, freshly sprung from I-5 in Tacoma — thus the multitude of lanes — passing by the long, silvery Lemay Car Museum. The Tacoma Dome is outside of the frame to the right.
See also: The 2012 Quiz.
Politics & Government
|Important: WA-List is a media outlet. We are not affiliated with the state government or any insurance company. For detailed information about the plans mentioned below (or enrollment instructions) please go to Washington’s state exchange.|
Without getting into the politics1 of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) or discussing the federal government’s less than stellar rollout this month2, we thought we’d take a quick look at the insurance options on Washington’s state exchange. We knew Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler took on the authority to approve or deny plans, but we hadn’t seen any news reports specifying which companies had received his yeas or nays until we researched today’s lists. We also didn’t know the extent to which those options varied county by county. We worked it all out, though, and created the lists below.
Kreidler approved eight health insurance companies for the state exchange before it opened October 1. Seven of the eight serve residents in King County and Spokane County. Six counties (Asotin, Clallam, Garfield, Jefferson, Klickitat, Lincoln, and Skamania) are limited to only two competing companies.
That geographic disparity in companies leads to a sliding scale in the number of available health plan options, too. The federal ACA categorizes insurance plans by the scope of coverage, and among the plans approved by Kreidler, there are 12 gold plans, 17 silver, 14 bronze, and 2 catastrophic. That’s 45 total options. But no county in Washington has access to all 45. King and Spokane have 38 available; Clark has 18. Everyone else falls somewhere in between. Eighteen counties have no catastrophic insurance options. None have an approved platinum plan — the ACA’s highest grade.
The first of our two lists below identify the eight state-approved insurance providers, ranked by the number of counties each serves. The second list shows which companies serve each of Washington’s 39 counties.
THE INSURANCE COMPANIES ON THE WASHINGTON HEALTH EXCHANGE.
- LifeWise (LW): 39 counties; 8 plans = 2 Gold 3 Silver 3 Bronze
- Premera Blue Cross (PBC): 38 counties; 16 plans = 4 Gold 6 Silver 6 Bronze
- Community Health Plan (CHPW): 26 counties; 3 plans = 1 Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze
- Group Health Cooperative (GHC): 19 counties; 4 plans = 1 Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze 1 Catastrophic
- Coordinated Care (CC): 14 counties; 3 plans = 1 Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze
- BridgeSpan Health Company (BSHC): 7 counties; 3 plans = 1 Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze
- Molina Health Plan (MHP): 3 counties; 3 plans = 1 Gold 1 Silver
- Kaiser Foundation (KF): 2 counties; 7 plans = 1 Gold 3 Silver 2 Bronze 1 Catastrophic
1 We try to be non-partisan here.
2 That’s the OTHER Washington, for crying out loud..
SOURCES: Most information on this list was culled from Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner press releases dated Aug 1, Aug 30, Sep 4, and Sep 5. Additional information was received after queries to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and Coordinated Care.
Geography & Geology
The Northwest is not exactly famous for its sunshine. Would we miss it if it was taken away? Suddenly? Sure, a miles-thick nimbostratus might darken our skies from time to time and volcanic ash has been known to turn some of our cities’ noontimes to night, but how often does several thousand miles of solid rock come between us and our favorite star?
Not often at all.* The last total solar eclipse — an astronomical phenomenon caused by the moon passing between the earth and the sun thereby casting a shadow on us — visible from anywhere in the state of Washington happened more than 30 years ago.
I remember that morning, February 26, 1979, because we kids were permitted to linger at home an hour before going to school. The sun came up somewhere behind the clouds, everything went dark for a few minutes, then daylight resumed. Had I been with my brother in Maryhill I might have witnessed the moon’s disc slide completely across the sun, banishing daylight and calling back the stars for a few minutes. But even in overcast Tacoma the peculiar mid-morning nightfall was fascinating.
Many years have passed since then. Will totality strike Washington again soon? For today’s list we decided to spin the astrolabe 50 years into the future and list all the eclipses that might be visible from here. About twenty partial eclipses are due in that coming half century, starting with one precisely a year from today: Oct 23, 2014. The best eclipse of the lot, however, will come 34 months later on August 21, 2017. At about 10:20 that Monday morning, the thin shadow of totality will slide into northern Oregon from the Pacific and roll east and south toward South Carolina. If you watch from anywhere in Washington, you’ll see a partial eclipse. With 99% of the sun covered, Vancouver will have an almost total eclipse, but you’d have to venture still farther south — near Salem, Oregon — to be cast into the pits of darkness.** The two-minutes of totality coupled with the much longer partial eclipse phase fore and aft might be worth the short trip to the Beaver State. We’ll have a close call with an annular eclipse streaking through Oregon in 2023, too.
FAR FUTURE: We looked for the holy grail — a total eclipse in the state — but couldn’t find one any time soon. Not in this century, at least. The closest after 2017, won’t come until September 14, 2099. That’s right: 2099! That’s when a totality shadow will pass through British Columbia north of us. The main shadow of an annular eclipse, however, will next cross through Washington on July 3, 2094. It will cut a wide diagonal path from Bellingham to Clarkston and all parts south and west. The remainder of the state — the north central, northeast, and Spokane areas — will be in the partial shadow. Another annular eclipse will graze the Longview and Vancouver area Nov 15, 2077. Each of these three events, of course, involve a very long wait. It might be best to enjoy the partial eclipse of 2014, plan for the near-total eclipse in 2017, and for goodness sake hope for good weather.
SOLAR ECLIPSES VISIBLE FROM WASHINGTON, 2013-2063
|DATE||TYPE||VISIBILITY FROM WASHINGTON|
|2014 Oct 23||Partial||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2017 Aug 21||Total||Partial throughout Washington, but very near total. The path of totality runs horizontally across northern Oregon. Vancouver and Portland will be 99% total; Salem 100%.|
|2023 Oct 14||Annular||Partial throughout Washington. The path of annularity runs through Oregon.|
|2024 Apr 8||Total||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2026 Aug 12||Total||Partial in extreme northeast Washington only, if at all.|
|2029 Jan 14||Partial||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2033 Mar 30||Total||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2039 Jun 21||Annular||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2040 Nov 4||Partial||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2043 Apr 9||Total||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2044 Aug 23||Total||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2045 Aug 12||Total||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2046 Feb 5||Annular||Partial throughout Washington, with the path of annularity ending near the Oregon-Idaho border.|
|2048 Jun 11||Annular||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2052 Mar 30||Total||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2054 Sep 2||Partial||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2055 Jun 27||Partial||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2056 Jan 16||Annular||Partial throughout Washington.|
|2057 Jul 1||Annular||Partial throughout Washington.|
*Solar eclipses are not common. There are typically two or three somewhere in the world during any given year and not all of them are total eclipses. They might be annular. That’s when the moon, farther away than normal, isn’t large enough to cover the sun, but manages to block most of its center and leave a bright ring-of-fire around it. There are also partial eclipses in which the moon passes above or below and merely grazes part of the sun’s disc. Even the few that are total reach totality along only a very narrow ribbon of the earth’s surface. And that ribbon is more likely to cast a shadow across open ocean than any particular landmass. So it’s a special event when the moon passes in front of the sun where you happen to be. Most people yearning to see an eclipse must travel. And hope for good weather when they get there.
**I’m sure being cast into the pits of darkness is not what most visitors expect when they visit Salem. Or even Eugene.
PHOTO: The corona of the sun during a total eclipse, August, 1905.
SOURCES: This list was long in the making. We first learned of the 2017 eclipse in 1979 — long before WA-List was a household name. In more recent years, we sifted through various reports and resources that calculated eclipses. Dates worldwide were easy to come by, but detailed shadows maps were not. Some maps were excellent in an astronomical sense, but were understandably not designed to be precise down to a state boundary level. As a consequence, it took some time to determine how close some eclipse shadows approached Washington. We believe our final list is accurate. The Astronomy Department at the University of Washington kindly confirmed our dearth of total eclipses through the next century and shared the main shadow tracks of several of our closest encounters. The best sources for eclipse data that we found online included the US Naval Observatory, the UK Hydrographic Office, the International Astronomical Union, MrEclipse.com, and eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov.