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33 minutes | Jul 12, 2018
The Man on Iron Mountain
Charles Pillon, who usually goes by Chuck, has been living on a ten-acre property in unincorporated King County, near Renton, Washington, for decades now. He's built it into a sprawling empire of junk—including trucks, cars, buses, boats, RVs, tires, scrap metal, lumber, cans of paint, and heaps of yard waste mixed with trash. According to Chuck, this isn't junk; it's a place where old stuff can find new life. He says he salvages and recycles a lot of it, creates his own compost, and provides a service to a community that can't afford regular dump fees. According to the state attorney general's office, though, it is an illegal wrecking yard that's leaching all kind of hazardous waste into the soil, air, and water. The AG's office recently convicted Chuck of two felonies and a misdemeanor, but that was hardly his first run-in with the law. This week, in the final episode of Season 2 of Seattleland, reporter Josh Kelety leads us through Chuck's world, and helps peel back the curtain on the kind of guy who would create and hold onto this kind of thing so tightly, for so long. Music by Leeni Ramadan and Jahzzar This week's cover photo is a portrait of Chuck Pillon and was taken by Caean Couto. Josh Kelety is the King County reporter for Sound Publishing and produced a print version of this story in June.
33 minutes | Jul 5, 2018
Safe Consumption Part III: The Opposite of Addiction
As Seattle moves forward with piloting its first supervised consumption site—now likely to be housed in a mobile van, not a building—the fierce debate roars on. Although many people on both sides of the issue are saying the exact same thing, if you listen for a while, there's a fundamental difference that emerges. And it has everything to do with the definition of "success." This week, in the final episode of our three-part series on supervised consumption sites, we hear from family members who've lost loved ones to substance use, and explore perhaps the biggest rift of all between people who support the sites and people who don't. Featuring interviews with Jennifer Asplund, Turina James, Joshua Freed, Guy Felicella, and Tim Gautier. Music by Kevin MacLeod, Loyalty Freak Music, Jahzzar, and Leeni Ramadan This week's cover photo is an image of a mural near Insite in Vancouver, B.C., and was taken by Nicole Jennings.
38 minutes | Jun 28, 2018
Safe Consumption Part II: The Site
The closest supervised consumption site to Seattle—and the first one built in North America—is located on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia. It's called Insite, and was created in 2003 in response to an overdose and HIV transmission crisis there in the late 1990s. Because it's the first and the closest, and has about 15 years of operation and data behind it, lots of people in the Seattle area look to Vancouver for an example of what works, or what doesn't—again, depending on whom you ask. This week, in Part Two of a three-part series on supervised consumption sites, Seattleland takes a field trip to Vancouver to tour Insite and speak with people who work there, who use there, and who now work in advocacy near there, to better understand what this practice looks like and what it really means. Featuring interviews with Tim Gautier, an Insite participant named Brandi, Shelley Bolton, and Guy Felicella. Music by Kevin MacLeod, Nctrnm, and Leeni Ramadan This week's cover photo is an image of a participant entering the front doors of Insite, and was taken by Nicole Jennings. Nicole is a former staff writer at the Issaquah Reporter and she published an article based on this trip in February.
33 minutes | Jun 21, 2018
Safe Consumption Part I: The Debate
In January 2017, Seattle and King County made national headlines: They announced their intentions to build the first two supervised consumption sites in the U.S. as a way to help combat the opioid crisis. The sites, also known as Community Health Engagement Locations (CHELs), safe consumption sites, or heroin injection sites, depending on whom you ask, are places where people can inject or consume illicit drugs legally and under medical supervision. They're designed to prevent the spread of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C, as well as overdose deaths, and can serve as a way to connect people to treatment and other health and social services. But lots of people and public officials both in and outside of Seattle are vehemently opposed to the idea, and more than a dozen cities in the region have permanently banned them. This is Part One of a three-part series on the heated, emotional, and sometimes bitter debate in the Seattle area around one of the most controversial policy proposals in the country. Featuring interviews with Turina James, Joshua Freed, Jared Nieuwenhuis, and King County Executive Dow Constantine. Music by Kevin MacLeod, Kai Engel, Nctrnm, The Insider, and Leeni Ramadan This week's cover photo is an image of the injection room at Insite, the supervised consumption facility in Vancouver, B.C., and was taken by Nicole Jennings.
23 minutes | Jun 7, 2018
Dockless in Seattle
In summer 2017, thousands of brightly-hued bikes started covering Seattle streets. Unlike Seattle's previous bikeshare program, Pronto, which required users to return the bike to a designated parking station, these don't have a station. You unlock the bike with your smartphone, then leave it at your destination. It's more convenient, so the program has been seeing a lot more use and overall enthusiasm than Pronto ever did. But all that freedom sometimes leads to... well, chaos. The bikes have been hung off of bridges, stop signs, and trees; they've been drowned in lakes, thrown in bushes, and holed up in people's houses; they've been tossed in piles and mangled and tagged. This week, as Seattle releases its initial evaluation of a year with dockless bikeshare, Seattleland's intern Aidan Walker takes stock of all that vandalism and mayhem—and explores what bike companies and city staffers are doing to stem the tide of careless parkers. Music by Ask Again, Kevin MacLeod, Jahzarr, and Leeni Ramadan This week's cover photo is an image of a remarkably orderly line of Ofo bikes, taken by Aidan Walker.
32 minutes | May 31, 2018
King County has the third-largest homeless population in the country. And despite Seattle and King County's concerted efforts over the last decade, more and more people are living outside. That means more and more people are dying outside. Anitra Freeman and Qween B King Rios are two members of Women in Black, a group of volunteers that aims to stand in silent vigil for every unsheltered person who dies outside or by violence in the region. Both women have experienced homelessness, and each does this as a form of advocacy—a way to say that homeless lives matter and that keeping the issue in the public eye matters, too. Seattleland sits down this week with Anitra and Qween B to hear their stories, their hopes and fears, and what motivates them to do this work. To learn more, visit homelessremembrance.org and fallenleaves.org. Music by Natalie Mai Hall, Doctor Turtle, and Leeni Ramadan This week's cover photo was taken by Sara Bernard and is an image of the leaf made for Anitra's friend Colette Fleming, located in front of the Seattle Justice Center.
34 minutes | May 24, 2018
Faith, Doubt, and Pedro the Lion
When Seattle-based musician David Bazan began his career in the mid-1990s, he was Christian. In the beginning, he put his faith—and his doubt about his faith—into his music. But over time, he began to sing less and less about faith, and more and more about doubt. His band, Pedro the Lion, broke up in 2005, and he’s built a solo career since, releasing albums that explore his breakup with Christianity as well as his anger toward corporate power, politics, and patriarchy. In late 2017, Bazan reunited the band, revisiting some of his old work—and his old doubts—through a very of-the-moment exploration of toxic masculinity. Seattleland editorial director Mark Baumgarten leads us on that complicated journey, talking with both Bazan and his fans to probe the depths of personal change made public and the role that faith and doubt can play in art and life. Featuring interviews with Mark Baumgarten, David Bazan, Nina Maldonado, Steven Heller, Leif Andersen, Nick Foster, Josh Morrison, and Noah Janes. Music by David Bazan and Leeni Ramadan This week's cover photo is a portrait of David Bazan, taken by Ebru Yildiz.
23 minutes | May 17, 2018
This year's edition of the Seattle International Film Festival features more than four hundred films from ninety different countries. It's the largest film festival in the U.S.—and nearly half of the films featured this year were made by women. This is a big deal when compared with the lineups from most every other festival out there, including the SIFF numbers from just a few years ago. What are the organizers at SIFF doing differently? Seattleland sits down with executive director Sarah Wilke and artistic director Beth Barrett to find out. We talk about gender, representation, and power in Hollywood and how much of SIFF's new look is intentional and how much is simply a reflection of an industry that, for a number of reasons, is seeing more work from women come to the big screen. Music by Leeni Ramadan, Jesse Spillane, BOPD, Mystery Mammal, and Kevin MacLeod This week's cover photo was taken by Amy Kowalenko and is courtesy of SIFF.
29 minutes | Apr 12, 2018
Secret Agent Man
At the end of March, following the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England, the Trump administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle. White House officials said that these weren't necessarily diplomats, though. More likely, they were spies. Seattle resident Naveed Jamali, whose experience working as a double agent for the FBI and Russian intelligence prompted his memoir, How to Catch a Russian Spy, agrees. Although the Cold War ended a few decades ago, he says Russia still views the U.S. as enemy number one. This week, in the final episode of Season One of Seattleland, we catch up with Naveed to get the inside scoop on how spy movies and TV shows can become real life—seriously, Naveed lived it all, from clandestine meetings to Hollywood-style showdowns—and why Russian espionage might have a nexus in Seattle. Music by Leeni Ramadan, BOPD, and Jahzzar This week's cover photo is an image of the Samuel Hyde mansion in Seattle, home of the Russian Consul General since the 1990s. Photo obtained via Wikimedia Commons.
29 minutes | Mar 29, 2018
The cities throughout the Puget Sound region are home to Amazon, Microsoft, and tons of other tech companies—many of which hire a significant number of their employees on H1B visas. These are temporary work permits designed for foreign workers with specific kinds of skills and expertise. In recent years, a vast majority of those workers have come from India. And when they and their employers apply for permanent residency—something that's legally required after six years on an H1B—that's when they run into problems. Workers and the companies that hire them are insistent that the system needs to change. Their critics, meanwhile, argue that H1B holders are taking jobs away from Americans and that the current system is more than fair. This week, Seattle Weekly staff writer Melissa Hellmann and H1B visa holder Lokesh Marenayakanapalya discuss the gigantic green card backlog for Indians and the impact it is having on the lives and families of thousands of our area's tech workers. Featuring interviews with Melissa Hellmann and Lokesh Marenayakanapalya; performance by Mark Siano. Music by Leeni Ramadan, Jahzzar, and The Insider This week's cover photo is courtesy GC Reforms and was taken in downtown Bellevue during a rally in late February.
29 minutes | Mar 22, 2018
Boarders vs. Bureaucracy
Skateboarding continues to grow in popularity in the Pacific Northwest. But it’s still difficult for skateboarders to find a good, safe place to get together and do their thing. Rain is a big problem, and covered skate parks are few and far between. Recently, a group of skaters in Renton took matters into their own hands and, using 50,000 pounds of cement, built a park under a freeway overpass. This was, of course, illegal. The Washington Department of Transportation threatened to tear it down last fall, but a crowd of skaters from across the region showed up to defend it. Renton Reporter staff writer Leah Abraham set off to figure out just why one park could mean so much to so many people—and discovered a whole world in the process. Featuring interviews with Leah Abraham, Jack Skeel, Kristin Ebeling, Marshall Reid, and David Waite. Music by Leeni Ramadan and Jahzzar This week's cover photo is a shot of Longacres Skate Park, taken by Leah Abraham for the Renton Reporter in late November 2017.
21 minutes | Mar 15, 2018
Black Lives Matter Meets #MeToo
The Black Lives Matter movement has been active in the Seattle area for more than four years. But it wasn't until this past December that a trio of activists created the first official BLM chapter in the region, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC). The catalyst for this, organizers say, was the harassment and abuse that some male BLM leaders had allegedly been exacting on women and gender non-conforming members of the movement. In this week's episode, South Seattle Emerald editor and Seattle Weekly columnist Marcus Harrison Green talks about Black Lives Matter's #MeToo moment—and how the fight for one kind of justice can sometimes overshadow other injustices. As the nation grapples with revelation after revelation of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination in the workplace, Green discusses a history of the same thing happening within social movements. Music by Leeni Ramadan, Kai Engel, and Grapes This week's cover photo was taken by Naomi Ishisaka during a 2015 Black Womxn's Lives Matter memorial gathering.
34 minutes | Mar 8, 2018
The Matriarch of Marijuana
Everyone knows that Washington was one of the first states to legalize marijuana—medicinal in 1998 and recreational in 2012. But few know the story of the small, tight-knit community that fought the battles for patients' rights that eventually opened the door to recreational cannabis. Those who do know will tell you that none of it would have happened without JoAnna McKee, who passed away in late 2017. In this episode, we meet some of the people who knew and loved JoAnna; hear about her role in the first-ever federal raid on a medical cannabis dispensary in the country; and pause to reflect on the legacy of a person whose life's work won't be forgotten, especially with new leaders at the federal level who are attempting to turn back the clock on cannabis policy. Featuring interviews with Meagan Angus, Dale Rogers, Douglas Hiatt, and Stich Miller. Music by Leeni Ramadan, Jahzzar, Josh Woodward, and Doctor Turtle
8 minutes | Mar 1, 2018
A Hardwood Classic
In this mini episode, we introduce you to the editorial director for the show, Mark Baumgarten, who is really into basketball. He plays in a pick-up league on Monday nights and on Tuesday nights in winter he and some buddies go to high school basketball games. It's cheap, he says, and really good! So good, in fact, that after one dramatic game this season, he was inspired to write a poem about it. Since this weekend is the Washington state high school basketball tournament, aka the Hardwood Classic, we decided we would share it. Music by Leeni Ramadan
20 minutes | Feb 22, 2018
Inslee and Outrage
It became abundantly clear on Nov. 8, 2016 that Seattle is not a big fan of President Trump. Only 8 percent of the city's votes went to him on election day. In King County, the number jumped to about 20 percent, but still: That’s a landslide of opposition. Activists and politicians from across Western Washington bellowed their outrage for the next … um, well, it’s still happening. And Governor Jay Inslee is among them. This week, Seattleland catches up with Inslee to process a tumultuous, anger-filled year, during which the Trump administration issued order after order that the governor vehemently disagrees with. Music by Leeni Ramadan, Jahzzar, and Lee Rosevere
13 minutes | Feb 15, 2018
What's in a Game?
Seattle has a little-known claim to fame: It is one of the pinball capitals of the world. Competitive pinball tournaments are a nightly occurrence here—and a lot of the players are internationally ranked. But for a very long time, most of those players were men. Host Sara Bernard heads down to Add-A-Ball arcade in Fremont, lets the plunger fly, and introduces us to a growing cadre of badass women who are taking over a game that was, once upon a time, against the law. Featuring interviews with Maureen Hendrix, Kelsie Sherman-Hall, Zac Petersen, Lauren Aquino, and Kayla Greet. Music by The Shrugs and Leeni Ramadan
23 minutes | Feb 8, 2018
The Other Robert E. Lee
After white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, protested the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in August 2017, some residents of Kent, Washington noticed that their police department was located inside the Robert E. Lee Memorial Building. Wait... what? In part two of our What's in a Name series, we explore the origins of the building's name and discover a man who, to the people of Kent anyway, managed to overshadow the legacy of his namesake. Featuring interviews with Vicki Lee Schmitz, former Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke (she retired at the end of 2017), Kent City Councilmember Brenda Fincher, and Kent City Council President Bill Boyce. Music by Leeni Ramadan and Kai Engel This week's cover photo features Vicki Lee Schmitz standing next to the building that is named after her father, Robert E. Lee. It was taken by Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter, who first reported this story last August.
13 minutes | Feb 5, 2018
Meet the Producer
In this special bonus episode we introduce you to Sara Bernard, the host and producer of the Seattleland podcast. Three months ago, Sara moved from a staff writer role at Seattle Weekly into a multimedia producer role at Sound Publishing and began working on this podcast, hitting the ground as a reporter while also coaxing stories out of her colleagues at the company's many Seattle-area weeklies. In this making-of episode, editorial director Mark Baumgarten turns the tables on Sara and interviews her about the power of audio, what it's like to launch a podcast, and what you can expect from Seattleland going forward. Oh, and they talk about stress. Lots of stress. Music by Leeni Ramadan This week's cover is of Sara, by Sara, taken in the Seattleland studio.
35 minutes | Feb 1, 2018
Martin Luther King's County
Seattle, Washington is the county seat of King County—Martin Luther King, Jr. County. Some locals already know that their county is named for the civil rights leader; others don't. But even those who are aware of the name probably don't know much about the long, difficult journey to make this the only jurisdiction in the entire country named for Dr. King. How did that happen and what does it mean? In part one of a two-part series we're calling What's in a Name, we talked to the local political leaders and activists who made it happen to find out. Featuring interviews with Eddie Rye, Jr.; Charlie James; King County Councilmember Larry Gossett; and former King County Executive Ron Sims. Music by Leeni Ramadan and Lee Rosevere This week's cover photo was taken during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963.
1 minutes | Jan 24, 2018
Welcome to Seattleland
Coming February 2018! Available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and most other podcast platforms. Music by Leeni Ramadan
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