Sunday, May 18, 2008

An almost postcard view.

The Olympic mountain range rises majestically over the town, and if you see this view from certain angles, it looks like wisps of fog wreath the foothills. But a clear view reveals the truth: the puffy white clouds are the discharge of the smokestacks of Port Townsend Paper Mill. This dynamic taps into a source of tension for the town. Two camps of transplants to the area hate it for their own reasons: the retirees who move here for the quaint seaside locale hate the smell; and the earth-friendly Food Coop folks are petitioning to get PT Paper shut down for ecological reasons. Yet PT Paper is Port Townsend’s single largest employer and the bulwark of the economy. As one native said, “When new people complain about the smell, I say that’s the smell of a house payment.”

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