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Posts Tagged ‘Bothell’

How will we know it’s us without our past?

John Steinbeck

There is a Bothell I used to know. It is an increasingly distant memory, a mist flickering on the moors of my imagination. What remains of that Bothell amounts to the dying embers of a fire that is being stamped out by an oversized boot called Progress.

In the early 20th century, progress was a large house for the Ericksen family, Bothell pioneers. Gerhard Ericksen was a state legislator whose legacy lives on although most people don’t know his role in the building of Bothell. The Ericksen family only owned this house for a few years. Then it became home to a different family who stayed for quite a while.

The Bothell the Ericksens helped build was not a city that decimated its natural resources and constructed seas of soulless boxes priced beyond what many could bear. It was a Bothell that coexisted with much of its natural environment, that built individual homes with sufficient space between them.

This is summer 2019. Unable to bear the high property taxes any longer, and with property values going through the roof, the strained owners of our eclectic beloved shopping center sold out to developers. An out of state company headquartered in Atlanta stepped in.

Fences went up, buildings started coming down. I was told that the City of Bothell didn’t have the money to save any historic buildings at Country Village on the Bothell-Everett Highway south of Canyon Park. The developer did not respond to questions.

The free-roaming chickens were rounded up and rehomed. People started to take mementos from Country Village without permission. There were online auctions and some of us asked what protections the ducks would be given. We were assured that the duck pond would stay, but that did not mean a thing for the surrounding land that the ducks have nested and lived on for generations.

Have you ever watched Disneyland burn? That’s how losing Country Village feels. For decades we shopped there, ate there, fed ducks there until they banned it, saw Santa there, sang songs there, took photos of the reindeer there. Country Village is where people went for haircuts, Moso bags, toys, antiques, Pirate Day. You could stop by for no other reason than to sit on a bench near the pond and enjoy a bag of kettle corn.

There was a peace there. Malls don’t have this peace. Urban shopping centers don’t have this lifeforce. The feathered fowl, the willow tree, the aging arches and old wagon lent themselves to a calm in the frenzied Seattle metro bustle. No matter how busy it was, you could hear yourself breathe.

On this sweltering day I stepped inside the northern arch to photograph one of the buildings that, to my amazement, was left standing. A security guard approached and related how people were waltzing into the property despite signs indicating that we needed to go no further than where I was. A red dragonfly hovered above his car as we talked at length. Who were you really, dragonfly?

Above is one of the two buildings that I learned would be left standing until April 2020. If someone does not move the buildings by then, they too will be lost forever. So I put the word out– free houses! But there they stand, and now it’s October. They have less than six months to live unless we find a kindhearted soul to save them.

This is the front of that old building. I stood there and stared into the ragged trellis of 2 X 4s designed to protect its interior. But for how long?

How long have these houses stood here unmolested? And now they waste away in hopes of a savior, a moving truck, new land to live the rest of their lives. I remain perturbed that there has not been an organized effort to save them. There are so few like them left.

I still have books I bought in these buildings as a kid.

The Ericksen House served as Whitehouse Antiques in recent years. They had quite the collection of candy and chocolate in addition to metal signs and antiques. Visitors would wind their way through its midsection, then clomp downstairs to circle the basement where, inevitably, someone would always trip at an unexpected step down. Then you’d clomp upstairs past the records on the wall and visit the old bedrooms that were either too hot or too cold.

In an era of big box homes with tiny to no yards, it’s disturbing that a historic beauty like this could go the way of the dodo. Experts tell me that because of vandalism and remodels much of the interior isn’t original. But the bones are still there. And it’s still significant. And it’s still one of a kind.

Descendants of the Ericksens marched in the 2019 Bothell Fourth of July Parade.

This is now October 2019. The former Country Village site looks like someone scraped away all of its trees and creatures and structures with a merciless metal spatula. Someone meaning Progress. This is what’s happening throughout King County as forests are being razed for huge developments, like the travesty in Black Diamond where thousands of cookie cutter homes will transform that wild, tiny mining town into Anywhere, USA.

The land regulations that allow this alarming displacement of wildlife and construction of myriad buildings that are grossly unsuited to the surrounding habitat are supposedly environmentally sensitive. “People need somewhere to live” they tell me. Why do they have to wipe out the local biome and pack people in like sardines? “We need affordable housing,” they say. Then why can’t longtime locals like myself even afford half of one of these supposedly affordable units?

This is the land where we ban plastic straws but tear down acres of proud ancient trees without regard for the inhabitants who’ve been there for thousands of years. There is no empathy for the mountain beavers, coyotes, deer, possums, raccoons, bears, birds, fish. Many of the new inhabitants have no connection to the surrounding environment or local history.

What’s that in the distance? To the right?

What’s that to the left? Oh. The same generic buildings that will soon fill the entire site. That seem to be dominating the Seattle metro area. That are consuming the I5 corridor from Chehalis to Bellingham.

This is what’s left of the duck pond. The rest of their habitat has been destroyed. I don’t know how ducks will be able to roam a high density complex of concrete freely, but Progress knows.

Look north and there it is, its footings being sheared away by loud machines. The Ericksen House is still standing proudly in the face of impending destruction. It’s nightmarish seeing this, and only this corner, of the village left.

It seems illogical, implausible, impossible that in a community as collectively wealthy as Bothell that we cannot find enough of us to band together and save this.

This is not a sinkhole. Not literally. But these buildings will be sucked into the sinkhole of Progress next spring without intervention.

The arch that used to say “welcome” now serves as a billboard for the demolition company.

Near. Far. But near could soon be so much farther that we’ll never see it again.

Will the road signs have to be changed too? Or will they stay and remind us of what Progress has cost?

As if there weren’t enough of these on the former back lot already, here are over a hundred more… along with thousands up and down the Bothell-Everett Highway. As an out of town visitor said, this road seems to have turned into a nonstop block of high density from downtown Bothell to Everett. Where is the wildlife supposed to go? Where are the lower to middle class people supposed to go?

After taking that photo I looked south. This cloud looked like a hand, a tidal wave, an angry face, or perhaps, if you tilt your head to the left, a mighty angel sheltering something with its wings.

If buildings could talk, these two might be reciting lyrics from the ’80s, the decade Country Village was born.

My defenses are down
A kiss or a frown
I can’t survive on my own…

Send me an angel
Send me an angel
Right now…

Above is the Ericksen family plot in the Bothell Pioneer Cemetery near UW Bothell, established 1889. Like the house they built so long ago, their graves face east, hoping for new life.

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History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.

David McCullough

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©2019 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Bothell’s Yakima Fruit Market is a family-owned business that has been around for 81 years. Sound Transit intends to put a bus lane right through it. Please stop by and grab a postcard to send to Sound Transit in the interest of saving this Bothell institution.

Right now it seems like Bothell is destroying all of its traditional community gathering places to be more urban, worldly, and generic. Country Village is gone. If the Ericksen House and Carriage House, the only two buildings left standing there after demolition, are not moved by April, they too will be gone forever. We should not lose the Yakima Fruit Market too. Let’s fight for our neighbors!

KING 5 wrote a story on this last month. Please take a moment to visit the market for pumpkins, Uncle Harry’s personal products, apple cider, an amazing array of produce, fall flowers, many local grocery items, nuts and snacks, and cool YFM t-shirts, buttons, and posters. The staff is friendly, the produce is always top notch, and the property is sprinkled with unique carvings and photo ops.

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Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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©2019 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Bothell Fire KING 5

Bothell Fire, July 22nd, 2016 from KING 5 News

Yesterday, in the early morning hours of July 22nd, several explosions were heard in the area of 102nd and Main Street. Neighbors looked out their windows to find the historic Mercantile Building, which was being expanded into multistory apartments, engulfed in flames.

Morning traffic reports warned drivers that State Route 522 was shut down near Kaysner Way. Nearly 100 firefighters from Bothell and neighboring agencies including Kirkland, Northshore, Woodinville, and Redmond converged on a three-alarm fire that was being spread by wind.

If you know Bothell, Washington, you probably think of its quaint downtown core before you think of the bigger name stores further north and east. Rows of older buildings line Main Street for blocks with, for the most part, no separation between them. Banks, pubs, a clothing store, a furniture store, art galleries, antique shops, and various eateries create a small town feel despite massive new construction nearby.

Midday a trip down 522 showed warning signs that something was wrong.

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Power and internet were knocked out in parts of downtown by the fire. Crews worked hard to restore service.

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The fire continued to smolder. The stench of burning building blanketed the air. Note the crane at the left. More on that soon.

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Today crowds gathered downtown to make sense of what had just happened. Bothell Public Works had an eductor truck on Main Street. These vehicles are like giant vacuums and are often used to clean out storm drains. There was a great deal of foam and debris to clean up and the Sammamish Slough is just down the hill.

I’d heard Alexa’s Cafe was damaged but am not sure. So far I haven’t heard the same about the Three Lions Pub immediately to the right. It was open and looked intact.

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Looking east down the north side of Main Street.

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Seeing this sale sign made me realize how hard some of these businesses are going to be fighting to stay alive. Some might be done for.

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Approaching ground zero on the southwest corner of 102nd and Main. This is what’s left of the Kozy Corner Cafe and the poor trees around it.

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This is (was) the Mercantile Building, recently rechristened The Mercantile as its interior was gutted and rebuilt to support the residential units on top of it. Most locals agree this is where the fire started and many suspect that it was arson although there have been no official reports to that effect yet. The bridge and senior center nearby are okay.

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Fires are strange. Some things burn, others don’t. This particular tree actually looked less singed than others despite the intense heat right next to it.

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The crane being used on The Mercantile project melted.

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Bothell Fire still had a truck on scene.

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Note the melted Honey Buckets.

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Someone I was talking to said, “look at the bushes behind us.” Despite being across the street, the bushes were crispy, including the rhodie to the left.

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Looking up Main to the east towards Sundance Energy, which I originally heard was destroyed, then heard was saved.

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The driveway to the back of the Logsdon Building was closed. Lynn Logsdon, the dear woman who owns the building, was kind enough to fill me in on the conditions of some of the buildings around hers. Hers, despite being right across the street, was unscathed. I know that prayers often go out for the safety of this place.

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From the west side, the First Lutheran Church with its beautiful cross appeared to be undamaged.

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Walking around the block, I found a crowd gathered at Sundance Energy, which is temporarily operating out of a different location. Across the street is the Frontier building which sounds like is a loss. I was surprised to see the two propane tanks on the front of that trailer intact given some other damage farther north on the property.

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From Sundance, which is uphill from 102nd, you could see the roof of the Mercantile Building.

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The landscaping along Main was decimated and the Wells Fargo signs melted.

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Note the damage to the trailer. I’m not sure what the charred pieces are in the background.

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The Mercantile across the street.

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The roof is just a mess. It’s obvious how hot the fire was.

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The front of Sundance’s property looks like an ebony moonscape.

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Nobody’s going to be using that picnic table or… barbeque (?) again.

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Sundance will need community support to get back up and running. They are housed in older buildings that I’m amazed weren’t lost.

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There appeared to be pry marks on the door, likely from the firefighters’ entry.

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Sundance wisely had some literature about their services on a table. Note how the table is warped and pitted from the heat and embers.

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The roof on this back building was damaged more than the others.

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Wow. This recycling bin was a significant distance from Main Street. It could have been moved, but it seemed to be in its logical place next to the dumpster.

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Zulu’s was one of the businesses damaged by the fire. Two other area businesses are donating their proceeds on July 25th and 27th to help them and the Kozy Corner. Some of us lookie loos decided to go in for a beverage and one woman bought jalapeno poppers for the group. Strangers might not normally talk to each other in this area, but today, we were family.

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The Frontier building. Note the van from the disaster recovery company and the damage along the right roof line. We discussed how many under 30 might not know what that blue and white box is for other than recognizing it as something Dr. Who rides around in.

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Everything is closed. Don’t even try. Police and security are maintaining an active presence on this stretch.

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More charred remains from the front of Sundance Energy.

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Bothell Public Works had multiple vehicles on scene and by all accounts did a knockout job during and after this event. It’s not just Public Safety who handles emergencies. Public Works is always close behind.

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Looking out at Zulu’s deck with its awning still curiously intact.

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Water damage inside Zulu’s.

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Zulu’s had the best view of the Mercantile’s roof. There are hot spots to the right and left.

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Upon closer examination, Zulu’s tent was pitted with holes from the fire.

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The Mercantile’s roof looks like it was hit by a bomb.

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Fried foliage, cooked crane.

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The view to the west over the fence at Zulu’s.

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A lot of businesses have had to air out their buildings.

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One little pot of fake flowers was still standing behind Sundance as if in defiance of the fire.

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People of all ages gathered to talk this through and see the smoke. We all probably went home smelling like it too.

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Wells Fargo was damaged as well.

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The first evidence that something was amiss at First Lutheran.

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A closer view. But they’re coming back tomorrow.

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Being a Public Safety-Public Works hybrid, I remain amazed at how quickly my cohorts can mobilize and organize at times like these.

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Still working hard 38 hours after the place exploded. We literally have some of the best first responders on Planet Earth here.

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Good job. Often passed by without a second thought, we are reminded of how important our fire hydrants are at times like these. Some have stood as sentinels for decades.

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It’s just not something you see every day. Soon after, a couple of Bothell firefighters came walking up the street and we all gave them a hearty round of applause. I wish we could have done the same for the Public Works crews inside their sweepers and Vactors.

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It’s therapeutic to meet people and compare notes. You can tell who the engineers are.

Per my education I instinctively listen for those who seem to know too much about the particulars. We don’t know that this was arson, but some arsonists like to return to the scene to gloat over their work or brag about their knowledge. There are different motivations for arson and various types of arsonists, but a small subset experience a high similar to sex from setting fires. I considered those deviants, the thrill seeker type, the revenge seekers, the wannabe heroes, and the profiteering types after being here.

I realized later I was in behavioral profiling mode, noting who was where and how they were feeling. All seemed like concerned locals or business owners. No one stood out.

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Singed beauty.

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One man pointed out that besides the obvious damage to Wells Fargo, the ATM had bubbled.

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The remaining highest point of the Kozy Corner. Two women told me how they’d just moved their bridal store business out of the upstairs and some friends moved into that space.

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It was surreal to see only the O in the open sign left and hanging down in front of a dangling TV.

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More survivors.

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Returning to the antiques store, which did have to be aired out, there was no trace of smoke inside. It was strangely normal compared to the carnage just outside.

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The first booth I walked into had this Fire! Fire! book front and center. There’s some irony. The proprietor confirmed that the book was coincidentally in that spot before the fire started.

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Now this is appropriate. How firefighters protect people and property.

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These “open for business” banners were everywhere. Some businesses stayed open late because of the people roaming downtown to see the fire. I strongly suspect that Larry and Susie Ormbrek of Sign Up, Sign Co. are behind the speedy production and distribution of these banners.

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Bothell is a well-loved place with a lot of supporters. Mills Music, by the way, survived. The clothing store space, Banner Bank, and another building adjacent to the Kozy Corner are said to have water damage even though they look okay from the outside. A wall of the Kozy Corner is tilted towards the clothing store as well.

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It is truly amazing how much of Main Street was saved. Two or three blocks could have been lost had it not been for some epic teamwork. The damage is stunning as well, but it could have been exponentially worse. The fact that it was contained as well as it was is a testament to the training and caliber of our local fire departments.

Please patronize local businesses and keep an eye on the Bothell Chamber of Commerce website for fundraisers and ways to support the community. They have this posted already:

Day of Support for Bothell’s Kozy Corner Cafe and Zulu’s Board Game Café
Beardslee Public House and Wildwood Spirits Co. would like to announce
a Kozy Corner Café and Zulu’s Board Game Café Day of Support July 25 & 27. 

All profits from Beardslee Public House on Monday, July 25 and all profits from
Wildwood Spirits Co. on Wednesday, July 27 will be given to the owners of the
Kozy Corner Café and Zulu’s Board Game Café to help them rebuild. 

Twitter has continual updates and some jarring video.

There is a GoFundMe page for the Kozy Corner, whose staff is now unemployed.

Bothell has a long road back to normal but they’ll stay afloat. They always do, as a community and city, as this mural suggests. Whether all of the 20 or so businesses impacted by this fire do remains to be seen.

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Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. -Scott Adams

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Copy of IMG_4456

Shh. Don’t tell anyone. We haven’t gotten any meaningful amount of rain in Seattle for at least a couple of months and have been stricken by a heat wave. It’s supposed to be nearly 100 tomorrow and will climb over 90 today. We want out-of-staters to believe that it rains all the time here so they don’t move here.

Some of you might laugh at us being miserable in 90+ degree weather, but that is abnormally hot for us this time of year. We’ve been breaking records right and left. Despite the broiling temperature, many people made it out to what’s long been one of the best local parades this side of the Cascades. Although Bothell has decided to reinvent itself and the downtown area looks like a meteorite slammed into it as high rises sprout out of the debris, the parade retains most of the hometown America feel it’s always had.

Attendance was not what it was in the other years I’ve been to Bothell’s event. It might have been the heat; it might have been the shock caused by recent Supreme Court decisions that will restrict our freedoms even more. Some people feel confused about whether to celebrate our country or not right now. But in Bothell, you’re not likely to be scrunched in next to a drunk guy yelling things he believes are cool and clever as his $50 too-tight tee sweats some nauseating designer fragrance. There’s room to breathe and the vast majority of people are polite and personable. They cheer, they clap, they have fun, and they celebrate America.

This group of veterans from the local American Legion post carried the colors at the front of the parade. I was so impressed when a mother in front of me asked her teenagers to stand that I had to thank her (and then forgot to take off my hat).

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Yes, we love our firefighters. This is Bothell Fire’s vintage engine.

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Lights and sirens and firemen, oh my!

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It’s a longstanding tradition for the families and friends of Fire employees to ride on the engines as well.

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The American Legion vehicles and floats are always flamboyantly festooned with flags.

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I missed getting a shot of the muscle-bound O2 superhero guy that preceded Community Transit’s bus, but he knew how to work the crowd.

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The Masons brought the Washington Monument– and George Washington or a close relative.

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People from around the world visit my blog, so it might not be normal for them to see a dancing clam in their town. In the Northwest, it’s been very normal for a long time. We don’t even blink. It’s just “one of Ivar’s clams.” Local businessman Ivar Haglund was involved in all kinds of shenanigans like The Great Syrup Spill and underwater billboards. Click on his name for a good laugh.

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The Knights of Columbus always lend a regal air to the procession.

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Americans: we like cars. Enough said.

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Several Boy Scout troops marched in the parade.

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People do crazy things with their vehicles in Fourth of July parades– and I love it!

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There are always some real vintage beauties…

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This group didn’t carry a banner, but the crowd applauded loudly for these vaqueros and their dancing horses. The horses were gorgeous and highly trained. I got a kick out of them being stopped in front of the Ranch for a few minutes until the parade got moving again.

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Paddle sports are becoming increasingly popular in our region. You’ll see paddle boarders on our local lakes a lot.

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The Cub Scout on the end was a hoot to watch.

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The Bothell Sons of Norway are always present to spread hearty Viking cheer.

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Thankfully this Viking knew to use his non-sword hand.

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“Hail to the king, baby.” -Bruce Campbell

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Scottish pride! It’s not a parade without the pipes and drums.

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Our local Sikhs had one of the livelier groups, drumming and dancing.

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The Yakima Fruit Stand is to Bothell what the Empire State Building is to New York City. It’s inextricably linked.

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Hydros of all sizes are part of summer in Seattle.

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I don’t know if this was the woman running for City Council or one of her supporters, but I heartily approve of her outfit.

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The Kenmore Shooting Range entry had a ram in the back that made me do a double take… it was fake. And yeah, let freedom ring, people!

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This was one of the smallest vehicles in the parade. If it were up to the Seattle City Council, we’d all be driving vehicles this size.

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The original American patriots.

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This British soldier was calling out to the crowd, telling them, “Join the British Army! See the world!” He was the sole redcoat present.

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This might have been the smallest horse in the parade, but he was definitely the coolest. And most patriotic.

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This might be my favorite shot of the day. Many sports teams participate in the parade. Many soak spectators with water. Today that was very, very welcome, and they were having a blast, pun intended, doing it.

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A local Muslim group chanted, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

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Who ya gonna call?

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Fred Flintstone made an appearance. I think Barney was covering the Kirkland parade.

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This really is a fun antiques store if you’re ever in downtown Bothell.

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Bothell did a great job putting on this parade. One question on everyone’s minds, though, was “where are the Seafair pirates?” We all heard the Moby Duck’s mortar at the start of the parade; I couldn’t believe the guy next to me brought his dog because not only was it too hot, but that boom can be heard for miles. No one knows where the boisterous, booming pirates were. That was a bummer.

There needed to be more music and marching bands. There were some long stretches in-between parade entries. But kudos to Bothell for keeping this wonderful local tradition alive. Happy Fourth, all! Now onto the next stop…

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Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults. I’m not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be. -John Wayne

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Bothell Police Department.  From http://www.ci.bothell.wa.us/?p=1286.

Bothell Police Department. From http://www.ci.bothell.wa.us.

Alan Smith has been arrested for first degree murder:

http://www.bothell-reporter.com/news/213349861.html

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Bothell-man-arrested-in-wifes-murder-213321531.html

Sounds like the case is still coming together but KOMO reports that the Bothell Police Department was comfortable enough to make an arrest.

The comments thread where this is being discussed on my site is https://wildninja.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/murdering-susann-smith/#comments.

Remember, this is not a conviction, and it doesn’t mean Alan Smith stays behind bars or forfeits his life. It could be a tricky case to prosecute and it’s the kind of case that could attract a brash, big name attorney. (more…)

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