Cascadia Daily Dec. 28, 2017

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Whale-watching restrictions good for orcas

Lynda Mapes at the Seattle Times reports that 2011 restrictions on whale-watching trips (including requiring a distance of 200 yards) are helping reduce noise-associated impacts on orcas, but not negatively affecting tour businesses. Meanwhile, it’s whale-watching week on the Oregon coast, when some 20,000 gray whales are migrating from Alaska to Baja.

Inside Seattle’s homeless sweeps

The South Seattle Emerald reports on the city of Seattle’s sweeps of homeless encampments, and finds that often the city’s criteria for clearing a camp aren’t met and that residents’ belongings are confiscated or destroyed. “It’s really inhumane,” says one camp member, “especially on Christmas, to take everything from someone who’s already had everything taken. Kind of kick them while they’re down.”

Ruling party can’t have it both ways on Site C dam

Andrew Frank, writing for the Georgia Straight, criticizes British Columbia’s NDP for trying to claim it’s saddened by the construction of the Site C dam in the Peace River Valley while also going forward despite First Nations opposition. “They promise to stop inflicting that pain soon, but not just yet. They are “heavy-hearted” colonizers.”

The biggest Douglas-fir

No tree is as emblematic of the Cascadia bioregion as the Douglas-fir. In a great short video, Oregon Public Broadcasting offers a history of some of the tallest Douglas-firs in the Cascades, including some trees that rivaled (and perhaps exceeded) the redwoods of Northern California.

Taxes and support for the arts in Oregon

One of the lesser-noticed impacts of the recent US tax bill is an increase in the standard deduction–which could mean a decrease in itemization and in the process an estimated 4 percent drop in charitable giving (or about $13 billion). Oregon Arts Watch editor Barry Johnson points out that now would be a very good time to donate to the arts, especially in Oregon, which ranks 26th in the US in government support for the arts.

An interview with theMystery.doc author Matthew McIntosh

There’s a lot of buzz lately about theMystery.doc, the second novel by Washington state author Matthew McIntosh, a 1600-page collage of photos, online conversations, and textual experimentation. The Seattle Review of Books scored a rare interview with McIntosh, who guards his privacy and doesn’t often do appearances.

That’s all for today from the upper left-hand corner of the continent.  –Andrew Engelson Photo credit: homeless camp by Wonderlane, CC BY-SA 2.0