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Mossback’s Northwest

The Movement that Scorned Seattle's Global Ambitions

February 19, 2019

In the years after World War II, civic boosters undertook an effort to put Seattle on the map. They called the campaign Greater Seattle and rolled out the red carpet for transplants and tourists, promoting the transformation of the city into a global destination. Meanwhile, another kind of civic booster was arising in the shadow of Greater Seattle. Operating under the banner Lesser Seattle, these Seattleites sought to keep Seattle from changing its character. They loved the rain and did not love Californians. What became of this movement? Mossback explains.


Knute Berger

Knute Berger is Crosscut’s Mossback. Born and raised in Seattle, he writes with his own Pacific Northwest perspective. He also writes the monthly “Gray Matters” column for Seattle magazine where he is editor-at-large, and is an occasional commentator on KUOW-FM’s “Week in Review.” He is the author of two books: Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes On Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps, and the Myth of Seattle Nice and Space Needle, The Spirit of Seattle (2012), the official 50th anniversary history of the tower. He was writer-in-residence at the Space Needle and has had a cocktail named after him at Ivar’s. You can email him at or follow him on twitter @KnuteBerger.

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Stephen Hegg

Stephen is a 25-year veteran of KCTS, producing a wide range of cultural and public affairs series, documentaries and arts programming.  His credits include PIE, Something in the Water  (PBS feature on Seattle’s indie music scene), the gala opening of Benaroya Hall, and documentaries on Asahel and Edward Curtis, Dan Sullivan and Doris Chase.  Seattle-born, Hegg is a graduate of Whitworth University and is also an accomplished violinist and avid cyclist.

More stories by Stephen Hegg