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Originally published July 17, 2014 at 5:12 PM | Page modified July 18, 2014 at 10:36 AM

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Puget Sound’s tenacity of spirit

Patience and hard work fuel cycles and renewal that show on up the gridiron, and a horizon full of construction cranes.

Times editorial columnist


I might have to go duck(s) if I revealed my Pac-12 affiliation, and it would be all the more awkward since I want the Huskies to have a great football season.

Having the University of Washington do well would confirm my faith in cycles and change. Going from a national championship and bemoaning 9-3 seasons, to 0-12 was quite the journey for UDub.

Now the gridiron future is brighter, and I applaud and respect the effort that turns things around. Go Dawgs.

I get the same buzz from an illustration in The Times describing the ginormous buildings eventually going up on the newspaper’s parking lot. Developers promise to spare a wee park if the towers can go higher. Sure, why not?

The region has been through a lot since I arrived in 1988. Mood swings, economic swings and lots of chatter.

The Microsoft layoff announcement Thursday was jarring, but those buildings going up at Fairview and Denny, and many others under construction downtown, speak to an active confidence in what is ahead for Seattle and Puget Sound.

Looking ahead is why basic, vital investments in education and public infrastructure are fundamentally about maintaining options.

Learning about the role of the fool in King Lear is part of a bigger picture in expanding one’s mind. Education is all about continuing education. It never stops. Narrow skills for specific jobs will be outdated in no time. Core skills evolve. Thank you, University of Missouri School of Journalism.

One of the most inane political squabbles of recent years — a truly tough competition — is the fight over federal highway funds to repair and build roads and bridges. Basic stuff.

A growing list of elemental issues need attention. Renewal of the Columbia River Treaty with Canada is fundamental. The region cannot cheap out and abandon flood control protocols that work.

Get a new Columbia River bridge built between Oregon and Washington. Invest in efficient ways to move commuters, and get freight traffic and emergency vehicles moving again.

Citizens frustrated by the premeditated gridlock in Congress are reforming the process close to home. It is happening with citizen challenges to oil-train and coal-train traffic.

Change happens. When I arrived in Washington, the state was woefully behind Oregon on land-use regulations, but Olympia caught up.

My time at The Times draws to a close at the end of this month. I have been honored to work for an independently owned newspaper steeped in the community and social values of the Blethen family. A tradition that reaches back, and looks forward with a fifth generation.

I have been surrounded by talented editors, reporters and opinion writers through a career that began 39 years ago in Salem, Ore.

My continuing education included an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for a year on Capitol Hill.

Over the years, journalism travels took me to Japan, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba, East and West Germany as they reunited, China, Vietnam and South Korea. Resulting articles covered economics, religion, politics and urban issues.

My editorial writing even included a stint at USA Today as a Gannett “loaner” from its Salem paper, with my copy scrutinized by legendary editor John Seigenthaler, who died last week in Nashville.

I started this editorial page’s annual school supply drive. After 14 campaigns, the 15th is being ably carried forth by colleague Thanh Tan. She is using her video and online skills to help provide the tools of learning.

Her creativity and visual approach are part of the evolution of news presentation and opinion engagement.

My thanks to the Blethen family and colleagues for a chance to share in a community conversation about this region and the world. Thanks also to legions of thoughtful readers whose responses have helped shape and inform my opinions.

Change, cycles and recycling. No end in sight.

Lance Dickie's column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. His email address is

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