Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fife, WA--The City That Sold Its Soul to the Devil.

Another sunny day after a storm yesterday, and I picked small branches off my car and driveway. I took the opportunity offered by the good weather to clean my car out. It was full of books and coats mainly. I emptied it out and vacuumed it. It's amazing what such a change can make in how the car drives :).
I also drove out to Fife (the city that sold its soul to the Devil) and visited Brown and Haleys the makers of Almond Roca, et al. I bought lots of variations on their Almond Roca. Their candy is amazing. I have to stay away from it though and bought this mainly for gifts.
I say that Fife is the city that sold it's soul to the Devil because it actually is. It was a nice community when I came out here in 1980. Large poplars lined its streets and many farms took advantage of the rich alluvial soil of the Puyallup River which flows milky with glacial melt from Mount Rainier to Puget Sound. The flat river bottoms proved to be ideal places for factories and plants of all kinds. The entire place has turned into an industrial park, interspersed with an almost continual row of car and rv dealerships lining I-5. The poplars are gone (old and dangerous the city elders said) and the apartments which have sprung up amongst the car dealerships are revealed in all their starkness. The city has the highest income of any other city its size in the state of Washington from...traffic tickets. A Tacoma News Tribune article (October 7, 2001) reported that the city issued more tickets than the city has residents. Nobody I know willingly drives through this benighted berg after dark because of the danger of being pulled over by the local gendarme for...dim license plate lights among other excuses (I was stopped for my license plate light being out)--any excuse will do for them to pull you over while they do a computer search in the hopes that they can stick you for something more serious.
I used to take a short cut through Fife on the way to work and passed homes with these fantastic western cedars growing in their yard. I recently passed that way only to see that the homes were gone and so were the great cedars--except for their stumps. Another industrial plant was going up. I couldn't understand why the trees had to go though since they were on the margin of the property. I guess the beautiful trees weren't part of the image the company was trying to project.
Part of the city is on an Indian Reservation. Because of this they are able to have gambling casinos with their large lighted signs. They are able to skirt the laws regulating billboards and I-5 which passes through Fife is lined with huge billboards lit up like Christmas trees, flashing their message to passerbys. At night this presents a definite safety hazard with the large animated signs dazzling one's eyes. It seems incongrous that Native Americans, so often protrayed as "keeper's of mother earth," would flaunt the environmental regulations in such a way.

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