What does it take to be considered local to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest?
Is it hiking in the rain and loving it? Dressing casually for every occasion? Or is it spending at least half your life here, as suggested by respondents to a recent survey of residents of Washington and Oregon?
Knut “Mossbach” Berger, editor-at-large of Crosscut and host of Mossbach’s Northwest TV series on KCTS9, believes it’s a little easier than that.
In an 1880s letter sent to him by a reader, the author, who had recently moved to the Olympic Peninsula, wrote that if you lived here a few years, you were considered a mossback.
“I think the idea behind it is that if you can withstand some northwest winters and rain and darkness, you’ve earned your stripes,” he said. “My feeling now is that some people come here and immediately feel like they are home and others can live here for 20 to 30 years and never feel that way. It has to do with how Are you ready to like it and how do you own it.”
recently Pemco Insurance Survey More than 800 Seattle and Portland-area residents found that while a third of respondents considered themselves a transplant, the vast majority (83%) said they identified with a number of characteristics that quintessentially Northwest. .
Tops Northwest-y attributes are wearing casual, outerwear, with 78% of Seattleites saying that if given the choice, they’d choose a flared vest and jeans over a suit on any given day. In Portland, 81% said their wardrobes leaned toward casual, outerwear.
Berger said that while the Pacific Northwest has changed in some ways, not dressing to impress is pretty universal, people have always dressed as if they were ready to go when there was a mountain emergency.
He tells the story of a former owner who was born in London and lived all over the world before moving to Seattle.
“He walked into the Seville Row pinstripes on the first day with his shoes on and an umbrella, and everyone was staring at him,” Berger said. “He looked around and it was all people wearing hiking boots and dirty clothes. Been outside for five to six years before being rubbed off.”
Additionally, Northwest residents say you’ll find them mostly outside, despite the rainy season. In the survey, 66% of residents of the Pacific Northwest claimed that they participate in more outdoor activities than indoor activities compared to their counterparts in other regions of the US.
The survey also found that rain doesn’t stop true Northwesters from getting out—and they don’t mind getting wet either. About two-thirds (64%) of Northwest residents said they enjoy the conservative gray Northwest climate and 72% said they are not too bothered by rain. And while many other areas of the country can whip up an umbrella when it starts to rain, you won’t find that behavior in the Northwest, as 62% of residents said they rarely or never use an umbrella when the skies are open We do.
While there are certainly some features Northwest agrees are widespread throughout the region, others depend on what city residents call home. The survey found that when it comes to adapting to newcomers, the Seattle Freeze can be a real thing. In Seattle, nearly two-thirds of residents (63%) agree at least some degree that giving newcomers the cold shoulder is a distinctly Northwest trait.
Berger said there has been evidence of a freeze for at least 100 years.
It happens in a boom when the city grows rapidly and many people flock here: influx from California in the early 1920s, during World War II, and in the 1980s.
“You start seeing articles about how beautiful this place really is, but the people are not that nice,” he said. “It’s real but it’s not real for everyone, and it’s not personal or about who you are. It’s not the kind of culture where you’re making casseroles for neighbors, and a lot of people do it.” Your own business and will see that as a good thing.”