Keep Edmonds weird

By Brian Soergel | Jul 07, 2016

Yes, keep Edmonds weird.

I don’t mean in a Portlandia or Republic of Fremont kind of a way. But an Edmonds Kind of Day weird way.

Edmonds has this lively, wonderful synergy that works most days. It’s a tourist town. Arts town. Ferry town. A newly emerging restaurant town. On sunny days, it bustles.

It’s a town of distinct neighborhoods: the Bowl, Westgate, Perrinville, Five Corners, Seaview, Olympic View, the International District. And others.

But it’s defined by the Bowl, the upsweep from Puget Sound to Ninth and 100th that houses downtown and hilly homes with views, occupied by grandfathered oldtimers, smart regular folk who bought early, and new money. Lots of new money.

Edmonds residents love the city, for the most part.

I live here, and previously covered Mill Creek, a planned bedroom community with enough foresight to build Town Center, a recognizable and vibrant downtown. But there’s a contentedness in Mill Creek you don’t see in Edmonds.

At Mill Creek City Council meetings, the sole members of the public listening to proceedings most weeks were me and the publisher/editor of the News of Mill Creek, an online news site. We had to be there. One or two gadflies occasionally showed up, but they’ve disappeared lately.

People actually attend Edmonds council meetings because they want to. Many recently packed the chamber to speak out against oil and coal trains rumbling through town. The Raging Grannies sang a protest song.

Citizens care about building heights – they still do, right? They wonder when the newly narrow Sunset Avenue will claim its first victim. If the crumb rubber playfields are hurting their kids.

Edmonds worries about things. It doesn’t want to be Kirkland or Bellevue most of the time. Independent stores are king, even if business can be slow. But we love Starbucks, so having a spot at the most visible place in town, at the fountain, is OK with us.

Now Trader Joe’s needs to see the light.

Edmonds is a literate town. Dan Woodside knew this when he founded the Edmonds Paper 30 years ago. Current publisher Paul Archipley purchased the newspaper in December 1998, six years after starting the Mukilteo Beacon in his hometown.

Al Hooper was editor of the Beacon for 15 years or so. He still contributes his “City Lights” column before the Super Bowl, and is welcome anytime he wants to pen his thoughts.

There have been some great columnists over the years, including the late P-I sports editor John Owen and the late John Pierre, the Constant Curmudgeon, who wasn’t that curmudgeonly once you got to know him and his outsized personality.

Now we have James Spangler, who writes about arts and dining and is proving to be a popular new addition. Joannne Peterson has her loyal followers with her long-running “Home Again” column.

Maria Montalvo is our latest columnist, and she shares her worldview with her “At a Moment’s Notice” column.

The Beacon is always looking for fresh voices, so if you have one, let us know.

I’m honored to be the Edmonds Beacon’s new editor. I am excited to work for a weekly, hometown paper its loyal readers appreciate. I hope you’ll continue to contribute to your newspaper with spirited letters to the editor, contributed photos and any tidbits – or bombshells – of news you’d like to pass along.

I will also be overseeing our website,, as well as our social media accounts. They are all updated frequently between print editions. Don’t forget to “like” Edmonds Beacon on Facebook.

Full disclosure: I’m no mossback, as I’m one of the many who have discovered Edmonds by way of California. I’ve lived here 15 years now (so there’s some moss growing), my two kids graduated from E-Dub and my wife works at Third and Main.

My first view of Edmonds came in the late 1980s, when visiting my newly relocated mom and sister. My sister lived in Marysville, and my mom in a cool rambler with a view on Daley Street.

I’d return to California with Edmonds in my head. Visions and sounds that are still there – I dig it when the ferry bleats – but visions and sounds that now come daily.

Thanks for reading. And bring on the Taste.

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