Plus: Lawmakers convene in Olympia as hundreds of National Guard soldiers stand by.
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🔓 How we get to the new Phase 2

Plus: Lawmakers convene in Olympia as hundreds of National Guard soldiers stand by.

Hey there, and welcome to Tuesday. We’re several days into 2021 now, and it appears the new year isn’t letting us off the hook for busy news cycles and unprecedented political happenings.

Case in point: A chain-link fence and heavy police presence surrounded the state Capitol building as the 2021 legislative session began in Olympia yesterday. More on that below, plus a closer look at what you can and can’t do under Gov. Inslee’s latest coronavirus restrictions.

But first, we want to hand the mic over to you, dear reader. Here at The Evergrey, we’re starting the new year with some fresh questions about what you’d like to see in the newsletter and on our website.

Got five minutes to spare? We’d love your input on a quick reader survey to help us plan for 2021 and beyond. 💌

Now let’s find out what’s happening in your city. 

If all else fails, grab a beach chair and pretend it’s summer. 🏖️ Tag @the_evergrey or use #theevergrey to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @leda.c.costa

What Seattle is talking about

Security checkpoints. A chain-link fence. Hundreds of National Guard soldiers standing by. The first day of the 2021 Washington state Legislative session looked unlike any other in recent memory. For an overview of what’s at stake in this 105-day session — and how lawmakers will conduct business remotely — check out this explainer from statehouse reporter Austin Jenkins. (NW News Network)

So long ‘Safe Start’; hello ‘Healthy Washington.’ There’s a new COVID-19 recovery plan in place, and this one has two phases instead of four. For Phase 1 — which currently includes every region in Washington — indoor gatherings and indoor dining are prohibited. To move to Phase 2, regions will need to hit four key health metrics, including a 10% decrease in both case rates and hospital admission rates. (The Seattle Times)

In the meantime, many bars and restaurants are trying to get by on takeout and outdoor dining, and that includes a handful of new establishments. Wondering where you can snag a seat under a heated tent or next to a cozy fire? Here’s a roundup with several enticing options. (The Infatuation

Pike Place Market was once saved from redevelopment, and now preservationists hope to do the same for a three-story building across the street. The 130-year-old Hahn Building is slated for demolition to make way for a 14-story hotel, but an effort called Save the Market Entrance wants to see it turned into a city landmark. A vote is planned for Jan. 20; read the back story here and visit the city’s website for instructions on how to weigh in.

Getting to Zero: Decarbonizing Cascadia

Twenty-year-old Aji Piper was just 15 when he became a plaintiff in a landmark lawsuit in which youths are suing the U.S. government on the grounds it is continuing to allow climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. (📸: Alex Garland)

Living in Seattle, we and the rest of the PNW take great pride in being known for our commitment to the environment. There are jokes about the over-zealous recycler or composter, our ban on plastic straws and bags, and our proximity to the great outdoors has given us a reputation as being tree-hugging hippies. 

But is this stereotype a reality? Are we actually leaders when it comes to addressing climate change? InvestigateWest is exploring this question and how the region of Cascadia might take effective and equitable action to address climate change in their new yearlong initiative “Getting to Zero: Decarbonizing Cascadia.”

As partners of the series, we’ll be publishing their articles on our website and including previews of them right here. 

Here’s an excerpt of part one, “A Lost Decade: How Climate Action Fizzled in Cascadia.” Read the full article on our website

With dozens of people killed by wildfires in the western U.S., millions of acres scorched, and choking smoke spreading far into British Columbia, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee lit up the news wires in September. “These are not just wildfires,” Inslee asserted at a press conference from Olympia, “these are climate fires.”

A few days later, however, the question in a Seattle courtroom was whether the state Inslee had run since 2013 should be sanctioned for helping to load and light the torch. On Sept. 17, an attorney representing Inslee and the entire apparatus of Washington state government stood to tell three masked judges behind a plexiglass shield that courts could not hold the state legally responsible for its part in the climate crisis: The part where it expanded highways. The part where it licensed power plants and factories to emit many tons of greenhouse gases. Where it set building standards that would keep residents’ stoves and furnaces and water heaters polluting the atmosphere for decades to come. 

Thick haze from the climate fires still clogged the air outside the appeals courtroom in downtown Seattle as Assistant Attorney General Chris Reitz offered his arguments. The panel of judges peppered him with questions and probed for logical holes.

“I have asthma,” interjected one of the judges, David Mann of the Washington Court of Appeals Division One. “So I have to stay inside, with the windows shut.”

“Why isn’t that affecting my life and my liberty?”

The events leading to this legal confrontation in Washington, years in the making, are akin to those that recently prompted similar battles in Oregon and British Columbia courtrooms — government action and inaction that has increasingly spurred legal actions around the globe. In the Washington case, as in those to the north and south, young people are suing to stop what they call a state-sanctioned degradation of their futures.

Help us help you

Winter can be a dreary time in Seattle, and the pandemic isn’t exactly helping. But don’t despair — there are still things to do and adventures to be had, if you know where to look.

Starting this Thursday, we’ll be introducing a weekly members-only guide featuring a list of safe and socially distanced ideas for getting out there and making the most of Seattle, rain or shine. Our first installment: Five snow-filled adventures to check out this winter. ☃️

Want in? Sign up for an Evergrey Extra membership, and look for the guide in your Thursday newsletter. 

Things to do

Submit your events to our calendar.


💬 Explore the intersection of justice and wellness in a mutually respectful space (Virtual)

📚 Tune in to a virtual book event with Melinda Gates (Online)

✔️ Can the center hold? Get the latest on Congress' New Democrat Coalition from U.S. Rep Suzan DelBene (Seattle)


🗣️ Hear how purpose-driven business leaders can model MLK in their company cultures. (Online)


🙏 Learn how to meditate, something we could all benefit from (Online)

✂️ Create a hand-crafted piece of art in this online embroidery class for beginners (Shoreline)


💭 Ground 2021 by reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr.'s words "hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” (Online)

That’s all for today

Thanks for sticking with us to the end. We’ll see you back here tomorrow. 👋

—The Evergrey

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