Port Angeles is changing.
Timber is still key to the economy, if no longer king. Tourism and new industries at once mean hope and a sudden need to manage growth. And a housing crisis looms large, and touches people seemingly regardless of income. Hear more about that in the audio above.
There are challenges and big questions ahead. But no place is defined solely by its challenges.
While reporting for our KNKX Connects project, which culminated in a live broadcast from the Port Angeles Public Library, we spent time in a place that, like most, has way more nuance than any headline can offer.
Here on the North Olympic Peninsula, we learned about a baseball team, the "Lefties," with a fierce following in just its second season, and a radio station in Sequim whose importance to the community goes far beyond music and news.
A Klallam language class at Port Angeles High School teaches lessons that have deeper meaning than grammar and speech.
We rode along with the volunteers with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, who rush into harm's way when someone's in trouble on the sea, and learned about what the U.S. Coast Guard does on the other side of the water.
A nurse who started a free, volunteer hospice 40 years ago told us about her efforts, and how she thinks about the end of her own life.
A farmer talked to us about the organic crops in his fields, but also about the future of the land he fell in love with when he moved here 50 years ago.
We went for a hike in the woods, and planned a trip to Vancouver Island.
We listened to some music with a prolific jazz composer and arranger at Peninsula College. And we met a poet inspired by this region and another Northwest, thousands of miles away. She even read us some of her work.
We hope that you'll spend a little time with us on the North Olympic Peninsula, by listening to the audio at the top of this post and clicking the links to the individual stories.
And we hope we'll cross paths with you someday soon, as well, as KNKX Connects to communities throughout Western Washington.