Would a pineapple change your mind about Seattle's sip 'n stroll idea?: Today So Far
- Mayor Bruce Harrell wants to open up a sip 'n stroll vibe (alcohol on the street) to help attract more people to downtown Seattle. Perhaps this tactic can help sell the idea to doubters.
- There might be more time to go see the tulips in Mount Vernon this year.
- Washington lawmakers failed to agree on a fix to the state's drug possession law.
This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for April 25, 2023.
Mayor Bruce Harrell wants folks to walk the streets of downtown Seattle, and open a cold one.
Let's get something straight, because I'm sure there will be headlines and hot takes making it sound as if the mayor's office wants to open every downtown Seattle street to booze. The idea here is to allow alcoholic beverages in Pioneer Square during its First Thursday Art Walk (hyped as being the longest-running art walk in the USA). So this is for one corner of the city, on one day of the month, targeted at the art gallery crowd.
The hope is that this will produce some much-needed foot traffic by getting people to visit Pioneer Square and walk from gallery to gallery. It will require a special permit from the state's Liquor and Cannabis Board. Also bundled up in this proposal is a measure to relax some permitting rules to get more food carts down in the area. Add that up and the aim is to get more people on Pioneer Square streets, visiting local shops, galleries, and food trucks.
This is not an entirely new idea. Just take a trip to any of the plethora of art walks scattered throughout our region. There are so many, you can hit multiple towns in a week, or even have a very artful month. Wine is not uncommon at these events. In fact, cities like Bellevue and Renton have leaned in to sip 'n stroll events. Years ago, while I was living in Portland, the mayor at the time would open a keg at city hall during art walk days. During this time, I learned an important lesson. There was one particular spot with outdoor seating where they served a cocktail in a pineapple. I loved that pineapple drink. I probably shouldn't admit this, but I would often walk off with that pineapple (once it was empty) and stroll through downtown Portland with a pineapple snack (I do not endorse walking around in public with full pineapple cocktails where it is illegal). I noticed that nobody seemed to mind or question the pineapple much. In fact, it was received quite well.
So for all those folks out there questioning any idea that allows public alcohol (even on one day of the month in one neighborhood), I would like to add my proposal on top of the mayor's proposal for Pioneer Square: All alcoholic drinks travelling through Pioneer Square should be served in a pineapple. Tiny umbrellas are not required, but are very much encouraged. Patrons won't have to put up with plastic cups, plus, these drink containers are technically compostable. So the environment wins, too. I look forward to marketing for "Grab a pineapple, visit Pioneer Square," "Seattle's Pineapple Square," or "First Thursday Pineapple Walk."
And yes, if I'm honest, I selfishly just want to walk around town with a pineapple drink. I am not ashamed of that.
Read the full story on the mayor's proposal here.
If you were hoping for a late-season opportunity to see the tulips over in the Skagit Valley this year, you may have an extra chance to visit the annual Tulip Festival. A couple farms have announced that they expect to get at least an extra week out of the flowers this year, which means the festival at some places will stretch into the first week of May. Read more here.
After a legislative session ends in Olympia, Washington moves into the next step of the lawmaking process — finger pointing. That's where we are now.
You may have heard that state lawmakers have been working on a "Blake fix," or a "fix to the Blake issue," or "Who's Blake and why do we have to fix their mess?!"
All session, lawmakers in Olympia crafted a fix to the state's drug possession law. The law has remained in limbo ever since the state Supreme Court ruled that Washington's rule on this issue was unconstitutional. That meant representatives and senators had to come up with something that was constitutional, and it looked like they were going to get it done before the session ended on Sunday. There was even a compromise bill pushed through to make Democrats and Republicans happy. At the very last minute, it didn't pass.
Democrats are "flummoxed" by Republicans. I'm not sure if Republicans get flummoxed. Perhaps "irate"? Whatever the GOP equivalent is, state Republicans are arguing that local communities were voicing opposition to the bill. For example, it would not allow cities to implement their own laws around drug possession. In the end, however, nobody can completely point fingers based on party, because a group of progressive Democrats voted "no" on the bill too, which helped put a nail in its legislative coffin.
Read the full story here.
As for that whole "Blake" thing. This issue all stems from a 2021 state Supreme Court decision — the State vs. Blake. Shannon Blake was arrested for drug possession in Spokane a few years ago, and claimed that she didn't know there was a bag of meth in her pants' pocket. She received the pants from a friend. The court ruled that the state's drug possession law criminalizes unknown drug possession, which it argued violated the due process clause of the Constitution. After that, the state had no drug possession law. Lawmakers put together a patch — a temporary law that is set to expire in July. With no statewide compromise this session, local city and county governments will have to come up with their own rules.
AS SEEN ON KUOW
Josh Fryberg Jr (9) center, and Daniel Fryberg (8), left center, during the opening ceremony at the Tulalip Gathering Hall. Deb Haaland, the United States' first Native American secretary of the interior, was visiting Tulalip on Sunday. Washington state is the sixth stop on Haaland's Road to Healing tour. There were 15 Native American boarding schools in Washington state. The last one closed in the 1970s. (Juan Pablo Chiquiza / KUOW)
DID YOU KNOW?
The largest Dungeons & Dragons game ever played was successfully carried out in Provo, Utah, last Saturday. It was organized by the store Geek Together, which got the D&D campaign officially recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records. The previous record was 500 people playing the game together. More than 1,200 people showed up at the Provo Towne Centre mall last weekend to break that record.
"Dungeons & Dragons" is a game produced by Renton-based Wizards of the Coast. It was first published in 1974 and has only grown in popularity ever since (there's a major studio film based on the game in theaters now).
ALSO ON OUR MINDS
"When I ran for president four years ago, I said we are in a battle for the soul of America. And we still are. The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer."