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Life on the Duwamish

Reporting by Jessica Partnow, photography by Alex Stonehill. Read all production bios

In the past 150 years, the Duwamish estuary has been home to a tranquil Native American community, Seattle's first white settlers, gold miners enjoying 24–hour saloons, one of the country's busiest ports and cutting edge companies like Starbucks, Boeing and Amazon.com.

Life on the Duwamish explores the history, culture, and neighborhoods around the Duwamish waterway, a historical center of industry in Seattle, Superfund Cleanup site, and a focal point of communities in South Park and Georgetown.

Life on the Duwamish: Rediscovering Seattle's Dirty South

Funding for Life on the Duwamish: Rediscovering Seattle's Dirty South was provided by the KUOW Program Venture Fund

South Park was home to the founders of the Pike Place Market, Italian and Japanese truck farmers who worked the rich soil close to the Duwamish River. Our first segment in the series Life on the Duwamish traces the 100 year history of this diverse and changing neighborhood.

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Photo: Efrán Rodriguez and his daughter tend their plot at the community P–Patch on the former site of the Marra Farm in South Park. Up until the 1970s the land was a working truck farm owned by George Criddle's grandfather. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

South Seattle's history starts long before the city was founded. For generations Native American villages dotted the banks of the Duwamish River. In this segment of Life on the Duwamish, Jessica Partnow explores the Native history of Seattle that is right under our feet.

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Caption: The Duwamish Tribe recently broke ground for their new longhouse on an overgrown patch of land across from T–107 park on West Marginal Way. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

The County Line has an infamous reputation and a bitchin' karaoke night. This segment takes us to perhaps the only place in Seattle where US Marines, Mexican immigrants, gutterpunks, and church ladies all get together to sing their hearts out and drink their wallets empty.

Enlarge Read signs on the County Line's door.

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Caption: A regular patron of the County Line Bar and Grill unwinds on the bar's front porch on a Saturday morning. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

Once as crucial to the global economy as the Panama Canal, the Duwamish Industrial Area is still home to 80,000 Seattle jobs. But some developers would rather see industry head south and out of the city. Today's segment examines the fate of industry here on the Duwamish.

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Caption: George Blomberg, Senior Environmental Program Manager for the Port of Seattle, explains operations at Terminal 5, where millions of tons of cargo are loaded and unloaded each year. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

From the reshaping of the river in favor of industry to the massive dumping of industrial waste, the Duwamish Waterway is one of the most environmentally controversial areas within the city limits. Our final segment asks just how Metro Natural Seattle really is.

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Caption: Park T–105 on West Marginal Way is one of several habitat restoration sites created by the Port of Seattle along the Duwamish Waterway. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

Life on the Duwamish: Rediscovering Seattle's Dirty South

12.19.14

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