Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Land Use

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The Elwha River: Roaring back to life

In a special report for The Seattle Times, reporter Lynda V. Mapes tells the story of the resurgence of the Elwha River ecosystem, which is benefiting hugely from the largest dam removal project in human history, completed two years ago. “Today the river roars through the tight rock canyon once plugged by Elwha Dam, and surges past the bald, rocky hill where the powerhouse stood,” Mapes writes. “The hum of the generators is replaced by the river singing in full voice, shrugging off a century of confinement like it never happened. Nature’s resurgence is visible everywhere.”


Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy arrested by FBI in Portland; last four militant holdouts at Malheur to surrender tomorrow

The idiotic, dangerous right wing insurrection against the people and government of the United States in rural Oregon appears to be almost over.

The Oregonian reports that FBI agents have arrested Ammon Bundy’s father Cliven Bundy following his arrival at Portland International Airport. Bundy the elder had been planning to drive out to rural Oregon to join the small band of remaining militants who have been holed up in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge complex in Harney County. But instead, he found himself in federal custody.

Bundy is charged with crimes pertaining to his 2014 conflict with authorities in Nevada over grazing fees that he owes. Federal agents evidently figured that capturing Bundy while he was in transit was the safest way to nab him.

Meanwhile, the FBI successfully infiltrated the refuge complex and has the remaining militants surrounded. They are supposedly going to surrender tomorrow morning.


President Barack Obama briefed on Washington wildfires, White House says

President Barack Obama’s staff have briefed him on the dangerous wildfires burning throughout the western United States, including in Washington, the White House says. From Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz:

The President was updated this evening on the wildfires plaguing the American West, including the tragic loss of three Washington State firefighters who selflessly battled these fires.

On behalf of a grateful nation, the President’s thoughts and prayers are with the families of these brave Americans.

The President directed his team to stay in close touch with state and local officials as their efforts to fight these fires continue. Administration officials will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide Federal assistance as necessary.

Governor Jay Inslee, Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Representatives Dan Newhouse and Dave Reichert are all visiting the Chelan area today to support the firefighting efforts.


Mother Nature didn’t intend for forty million people to live here… This is literally a culture that since the 1880s has progressively invented, invented and reinvented itself. At what point does this invention begin to hit limits?

— Kevin Starr, a historian at the University of Southern California who is intimately familiar with the Golden State’s history, via The New York Times (California drought tests history of endless growth).

Video Clip

Tides have wiped out two more homes on Washaway Beach, according to a report by KING5’s Drew Mikkelsen. A blogger who has been chronicling the demise of homes on Washaway Beach posted a number of pictures last week of homes crumbling into the ocean or on the verge of being the next to go.


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For-profit tech companies are displacing nonprofits in San Francisco

“Soaring rents drove 2,000 of San Francisco’s 8,000 nonprofits out of town or out of existence from 2011 through 2013,” reports Bloomberg Businessweek.



Fracking, I once thought, was something that happened to other people, not mine. Hydraulic fracturing may be confined to the shale regions of the country, but the wider effects of the natural gas boom, and the pipelines being built to support it, include the feverish development of wilderness and private property.

— Ann Neumann: A pipeline threatens our family land (The New York Times)

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Oso neighborhood never should have been built

The Seattle Times has an in-depth article today about the neighborhood that was destroyed in the Oso mudslide two months ago. It turns out that the neighborhood, called Steelhead Haven, was constructed without proper permits.

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Risk of massive slide ‘unforeseen’? Warnings go back decades

The Seattle Times connects with geologists who have long been concerned with the a catastrophic failure of the hill above the rural Snohomish County community along the Stillaguamish River near Oso, especially Daniel and Lynne Roders Miller, who wrote a prescient report in 1999 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warning of disaster.