Our Northwest

Northwest athletes compete in Sochi

Friday, February 7, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

The Winter Olympics kicked off Feb. 6, and among the Olympians are several Northwest athletes, including Sadie and Erik Bjornsen of the Methow Valley, Torin Koos of Wenatchee, Patrick Deneen of Cle Elum, and J.R. Celski of Federal Way.
   The Bjornsen siblings and Koos compete in cross-country skiing, while Deneen is back for his second Olympics as a moguls skier. Celski is a veteran speedskater trying to fill the shoes of retired Apolo Anton Ono.
   Two Oregon skiers also are in Sochi – Jacqueline Wiles, of Aurora, will tackle the downhill and super G, while Laurenne Ross of Bend competes in the super G and super combined.

Retailers come and go: Nordstrom announced Feb. 5 it will close stores in Portland’s Lloyd Center and Westfield Vancouver mall in one year.
   At that time, local shoppers will find their closest Nordstrom in downtown Portland, Tigard’s Washington Square, or Clackamas Town Center.
   Meanwhile, retailer Target is eyeing Bellevue. Not that long ago, 116th Avenue N.E. south of Overlake Hospital was known as Auto Row, but dealerships have fled for other locations. Now Target plans to build a new store on a 5-acre plot at 116th and N.E. 4th Street.

Bumblebee closed: A popular campground in Idaho’s panhandle won’t open this summer. Bumblebee, located on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, is rampant with root rot, which weakened tall firs that now must be removed.

Final thoughts on Seahawks: If you haven’t had your fill of Seahawks football yet (hey, don’t you know we’re now in the 2014 preseason?), read on. The Bellingham Herald ran a story explaining where Marshawn Lynch got his drum for the victory parade. For insight into Russell Wilson’s character, read this 2013 Tri-City Herald article about his summer as a Tri-Cities Dust Devils baseball player, sleeping on an air mattress in the home of his Kennewick host family. And check out this unique 12th Man photo that helps a bomb blast victim.
   Friends around the country voiced surprise at the size of yesterday’s Seattle parade, and some don’t understand the passion behind “that 12th Man thing.”
   I have my own theory. The Super Bowl win was epic for our region because of Seattle’s trampled, collective sports psyche. Consider:

  • After 9th grade, I enjoyed major league baseball for all of one summer. Then we lost our Seattle Pilots to Milwaukee.
  • In 1996, owner Ken Behring literally packed up our beloved Seahawks on a Sunday, had all the team possessions stuffed into moving vans, and sent them to Anaheim. Thankfully the NFL intervened, and soon Paul Allen bought the team, blocking relocation.
  • The Seattle Mariners resumed their losing ways in 2004. ‘Nuff said.
  • UW Husky football fell on hard times after Rick Neuheisel was fired in 2003. Following 30 years of wins and bowl games, Washington endured seven years of bad football, including a winless 2008 season.
  • The Seahawks lost a badly officiated 2006 Super Bowl in which refs affected the outcome, prompting referee Bill Leavy to say, "I'll go to my grave wishing I'd been better."
  • In 2008, Clay Bennett stole our Seattle Sonics and moved them to Oklahoma City. Then NBA commissioner David Stern went out of his way to block an all-but-finished relocation of the Kings to Seattle just last year.

   All of that combined to fuel the euphoria that boosted Seattle following the Seahawks Super Bowl blowout. And David Stern retired Feb. 1.
   At last, we feel like winners.

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