From the Womxn's March to Bertha's breakthrough to Mayor Murray's resignation, 2017 was an enormous year in news for the Seattle area, not to mention the nation. As we flip the calendar to 2018, here's a look at 20 impactful stories from the past year

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What a year.

To celebrate the new year, we’re taking a look back at 20 of the most significant stories from 2017. Our picks, recommended by editors around the newsroom, are below.

This is not a definitive list of the biggest local stories of the year – we of course had a presidential inauguration, court battles over travel bans, North Korean missile tests, controversy at the Evergreen State College, the election of Seattle’s first female mayor in nearly 100 years, the ongoing #MeToo movement, progress on the Boeing 797, renovations at the Space Needle, a highly anticipated Apple Cup and much more. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below about the year’s biggest stories.

The list below is a selection of the most impactful and memorable stories of 2017. If you find these stories valuable, please consider supporting The Seattle Times’ local journalism by subscribing — and many thanks to those of you who already support the work we do.

All right, on with the show.

 


 

James Mattis grew up the son of a Hanford power-plant operator. (Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times)
James Mattis grew up the son of a Hanford power-plant operator. (Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times)

James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, Trump’s defense secretary pick, always comes home to Richland, ‘this town that formed me’

Jan. 7
Did you know the secretary of defense is from the Tri-Cities? Before President Trump took office, we peeked into Mattis’ life in Richland, Washington, where he listed a modest wood-framed house — built by the government for Hanford workers — as his residence. He would serve on the board of a food bank, stop by the VFW and, in 2016, he reported for jury duty.
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What is believed to be the largest political demonstration in Seattle history marched from Judkins Park to Seattle Center, at times filling the entire 3.5 mile route. (Lauren Frohne and Danny Gawlowski / The Seattle Times)

Record Seattle crowd asserts women’s rights: ‘Trump has galvanized everybody’

Jan. 21
Seattle history was made as more than 100,000 people marched through the streets Jan. 21, the day after Trump’s inauguration, to stand up for women’s rights. The record protest for the Womxn’s March on Seattle far surpassed previous demonstrations in the city.
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(Artwork by Talia Goldenberg)
(Artwork by Talia Goldenberg)

A lost voice: Surgery was supposed to mean a better life for Talia. But something went wrong.

Feb. 10
After enduring years of painful headaches and injuries, Talia Goldenberg — a lively, uninhibited artist — was ready for surgery at to help stabilize her flexible spine. At Swedish’s premier neurosurgery hub, internal records and interviews with staff revealed an array of warnings about patient safety amid concerns about retribution from a star surgeon in charge.
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View the entire Quantity of Care investigative series »

 


 

Kate Starbird, a University of Washington assistant professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, with a domain network graph she developed looking at tweets relating to 2016 shootings. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)
Kate Starbird, a University of Washington assistant professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, with a domain network graph she developed looking at tweets relating to 2016 shootings. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)

UW professor: The information war is real, and we’re losing it

March 29
A University of Washington professor started studying social networks to help people respond to disasters. But she got dragged down a rabbit hole of twitter-boosted conspiracy theories, and ended up mapping our political moment.
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Giant tunneling machine Bertha breaks through the north portal wall in South Lake Union on April 4  after nearly four years of boring underneath downtown Seattle. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)
Giant tunneling machine Bertha breaks through the north portal wall in South Lake Union on April 4 after nearly four years of boring underneath downtown Seattle. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Inside the Highway 99 tunnel: Bertha’s done digging, but the roadway work rolls on

April 15
After breaking through April 4, cutting machine Bertha was removed, and then road decks, walls, lights and fireproofing quickly began taking shape inside the new Highway 99 tunnel under Seattle. The 9,270-foot dig ranks among the trickiest megaprojects in history.
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Where does our waste water go and how is it treated? What happened to the treatment plant during the epic flood earlier this year? Here’s what you need to know about the West Point Treatment Plant. (Lauren Frohne & Lynda Mapes / The Seattle Times)

‘We were very lucky no one died’: What caused the unprecedented flood at the West Point treatment plant

April 28
It was a disaster years in the making. A cascade of errors led to catastrophe at King County’s workhorse wastewater plant during a torrential storm Feb. 9. It was one of biggest infrastructure catastrophes in regional history, and it was sheer luck that no one was seriously injured or killed.
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Pacific NW magazine invited residents of several homeless encampments in Seattle to share their personal stories. (Lauren Frohne, Corinne Chin & Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

Portraits of Homelessness

May 4
Pacific NW magazine invited residents of several homeless encampments in Seattle to share their personal stories, life lessons, frustrations and dreams based on their experiences living without permanent shelter. The resulting journal features their handwritten remarks, accompanied by black-and-white portraits that each person helped create. Later in the year, The Times launched Project Homeless, an initiative to examine the complex issues around homelessness.
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Chris Cornell performs with Soundgarden on Feb. 7, 2012, at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle.  (ERIKA SCHULTZ/The Seattle Times)
Chris Cornell performs with Soundgarden on Feb. 7, 2012, at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle. (ERIKA SCHULTZ/The Seattle Times)

Chris Cornell: Soundgarden’s dark knight of the grunge scene

May 18
“Chris Cornell painted in song the darkness and beauty of life in Seattle,” said Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. Cornell died in May at the age of 52.
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The Peace Arch in Blaine, Whatcom County, at the U.S.-Canada border crossing. Despite calls for boycotts, overnight trips from Canada rose 4.8 percent to 20.2 million in 2017, reversing a three-year decline. (Morgan Stilp-Allen / Special to The Seattle Times, file)
The Peace Arch in Blaine, Whatcom County, at the U.S.-Canada border crossing. Despite calls for boycotts, overnight trips from Canada rose 4.8 percent to 20.2 million in 2017, reversing a three-year decline. (Morgan Stilp-Allen / Special to The Seattle Times, file)

Immigrants use Washington state to sneak into Canada for asylum. Here’s how, and why.

June 8
Washington has become a portal for people seeking asylum in Canada, where they feel they’ll be more welcome than in Donald Trump’s United States.
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People attend a memorial for Charleena Lyles. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
People attend a memorial for Charleena Lyles. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Charleena Lyles case: What crisis training did Seattle police bring to her door?

June 27
Seattle police had won praise for their crisis-intervention training and results. Why did their encounter with Charleena Lyles, a young mother with mental-health problems, turn deadly in June?
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Pike Place Market’s MarketFront addition features broad paths with expansive views across Elliott Bay. The Alaskan Way Viaduct passes just below it.  (Kjell Redal/The Seattle Times)
Pike Place Market’s MarketFront addition features broad paths with expansive views across Elliott Bay. The Alaskan Way Viaduct passes just below it. (Kjell Redal/The Seattle Times)

Pike Place Market opens $74 million addition: 360-degree views of the new MarketFront

June 26
At 110 years old, the Pike Place Market has survived and thrived. It still pulls on the emotions of Seattleites of all stripes. Now, a new project is mingling with the old magic on the Market’s northern side.
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Students who lack a stable place to live are eligible for McKinney-Vento status, named for a federal law giving homeless kids leeway on where they attend school. Student athletes with this status can transfer from one team to another, exempt from some anti-recruiting rules. In a handful of cases, like the ones above, players’ eligibility has been challenged, requiring them to provide proof of hardship. (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association)
Students who lack a stable place to live are eligible for McKinney-Vento status, named for a federal law giving homeless kids leeway on where they attend school. Student athletes with this status can transfer from one team to another, exempt from some anti-recruiting rules. In a handful of cases, like the ones above, players’ eligibility has been challenged, requiring them to provide proof of hardship. (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association)

Homeless students drawn to Seattle schools by sports are often cast aside when the season’s over

July 22
Laws aimed at creating some stability in the lives of homeless students are being misused in some Seattle high schools to sidestep academic and anti-recruitment rules. Coaches, former players and several school district officials say adults are teaching students how to gain homeless status but offering little support when the season is over.
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The tenant of an upscale Bellevue apartment building grew suspicious when she noticed men of “all ages and body sizes” visiting a neighbor “at all hours of the day.” She contacted Bellevue police in April 2015, setting in motion an eight-month investigation.(Illustration by Gabriel Campanario)
The tenant of an upscale Bellevue apartment building grew suspicious when she noticed men of “all ages and body sizes” visiting a neighbor “at all hours of the day.” She contacted Bellevue police in April 2015, setting in motion an eight-month investigation.(Illustration by Gabriel Campanario)

Busted: How police brought down a tech-savvy prostitution network in Bellevue

July 26
Local tech workers used computer skills to help create websites where men would promote and rate South Korean prostitutes working in upscale Bellevue apartments. The escalation of activity led a prosecutor to conclude that a group of “sex buyers” had become an organized criminal enterprise.
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Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times
Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

Being awe-struck — by a solar eclipse or another astounding event — has surprising benefits

Aug. 20
Awe is a powerful emotion that can make people feel more generous, creative, helpful and connected to something bigger than themselves. The total solar eclipse in August delivered a big dose of the emotion.
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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray denies sex-abuse claims. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray denies sex-abuse claims. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigns after fifth child sex-abuse allegation

Sept. 12
For five months, Murray rejected calls for his resignation amid allegations he sexually abused teens decades before entering politics. But he couldn’t withstand a devastating new allegation from within his own family.
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Ash and smoke from fires obscure the sun early Tuesday morning in Seattle.  (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
Ash and smoke from fires obscure the sun early Tuesday morning in Seattle. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Why so much smoke in Seattle from B.C. wildfires? ‘Nature’s air conditioning’ is broken, weather service says

Oct. 12
Seattle’s heat wave and the hazy, smoky air this past summer were due to an unusual phenomenon: The typical Pacific Ocean breezes weren’t blowing.
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On left: A photograph shows a rifle scope highlighting a bobcat sitting in a hooked tree. GPS data led investigators to the same tree. On right: William Haynes holds a camouflaged shotgun that police say he used to kill bears, some at close range. The blood spatters visible on Haynes’ face, shirt and gun are allegedly from a bear that was shot that day.  (Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife)
On left: A photograph shows a rifle scope highlighting a bobcat sitting in a hooked tree. GPS data led investigators to the same tree. On right: William Haynes holds a camouflaged shotgun that police say he used to kill bears, some at close range. The blood spatters visible on Haynes’ face, shirt and gun are allegedly from a bear that was shot that day. (Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife)

Cellphones led investigators to one of the Northwest’s biggest poaching cases ever

Oct. 12
A remote wildlife camera in Oregon led officers to the suspects. Then texts, videos and social-media posts on the suspects’ phones led the officers into the forest. (Note: Some people may find images disturbing.)
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These are the boots and shellfish rake of Andres Hernandez, photographed after he was picked by immigration agents in October. A worker in Pacific County for nearly 20 years, he was held for weeks in the Northwest Detention Center until being released on bond. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
These are the boots and shellfish rake of Andres Hernandez, photographed after he was picked by immigration agents in October. A worker in Pacific County for nearly 20 years, he was held for weeks in the Northwest Detention Center until being released on bond. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

A Washington county that went for Trump is shaken as immigrant neighbors start disappearing

Nov. 9
Many in Pacific County thought President Trump would take away “drug dealers, criminals, rapists” with his immigration crackdown. They were shocked to see who started to go missing.
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A chalk depiction of the 238 proposals Amazon received for its proposed 50,000-employee HQ2. Cities and states are going to great lengths to get a piece of that high-tech glory. (Jordan Stead/Amazon)
A chalk depiction of the 238 proposals Amazon received for its proposed 50,000-employee HQ2. Cities and states are going to great lengths to get a piece of that high-tech glory. (Jordan Stead/Amazon)

City Hall, brought to you by Amazon

Nov. 9
A review of some of the bids to woo Amazon’s second headquarters to other cities and states shows it’s not all about the money. In some cases, democracy itself is a bargaining chip.
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Emergency crews work at the scene of the Amtrak 501 train derailment near DuPont on Monday.  (Daniella Fenelon/The Associated Press)
Emergency crews work at the scene of the Amtrak 501 train derailment near DuPont on Monday. (Daniella Fenelon/The Associated Press)

‘Holy cow, so the train is actually on the road?’ The wreck of Amtrak 501

Dec. 24
The Amtrak train derailment was horrific, especially for passengers and their families. But it was also a story of courage by those passengers, along with witnesses and emergency responders. Here’s an inside view of what happened on Dec. 18.
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