South Park is located in south Seattle, surrounded by industrial activities, the Duwamish River, and some major arterials. It is, by Seattle standards, lower income, given the physical and built environment. Still, it is home to many families and others who live here, in single family homes, subsidized housing, and apartments. More Latinos call it home than any other racial or ethnic group. A number of Latino-owned businesses can be found in the main intersection at Cloverdale and South Fourteenth Avenue. The South Park Bridge, which has been under repair for four years, cutting off a lot of potential business for the area, finally reopened this summer. The bridge now includes a lot of steel artwork, which I like. I also spied some developments along the industrial Duwamish, on land claimed by the Port of Seattle. I have no idea what is happening there. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)
This happens to be a “picture” I see often, at least when the clouds let me see Rainier behind the industrial facade. Maybe I just like the Duwamish River because it is the one I see most often, and feel some deep pity for. It was once a living thing. Now it is just a place where we built a city, a port, an economy. Seeing the Duwamish every day some times reminds me of what I felt when I saw the Mississippi in Louisiana, where the river is subverted to human desires and the many industries that thrive there. Maybe I just have a thing for rivers?
The massive Port of Seattle provides an impressive backdrop for my there again and back again, and there again and back again commute. This is one of the country’s largest cargo container ports (eighth busiest, it claims), and most of it is blocked off to the public for miles. Highway 99 is one of the few places citizens can see where our nation unloads containers filled with consumer goods destined for Walmart and other retailers nationwide. In essence, I am penetrating the beating heart of our nation’s mostly consumer-driven economy everyday, enveloped by its brawn, by its scale, and by its relentless motion. For some stretches, this also happens to be one of the most scenic commutes in the country, too.