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Altered State(s) - Redrawing Seattle & Washington State

Seattle is known for tree-huggers, Earth-firsters, moss-between-the-toes nature lovers. Maybe that has too little to do with the way we define the city.

Yeah, you know Seattle. You know Washington. But really, the city limits and the state's borders are lines drawn on maps. There's more than one way to draw the lines. We've collected a few maps of the ways other think things should, or could, be.

↑ It is too messy having some states with hardly anyone in them, and some states that are overwhelmed by one city. How about 50 states of equal population? We'd have to redraw the boundaries every generation or so; but, we could do that, right? Seattle would be in the state of Rainier (hey, a state named after a beer!). Spokane would be sliced off into the state of Salt Lake, though it isn't very near it. And Portland would be part of Shasta.

↑ This time the names don't change, but the lines become squiggles. Nature can't draw straight, so why should borders? Farmers and developers will tell you, water matters; so, draw the lines around the watersheds. Washington doesn't change much; but Oregon almost becomes landlocked while growing to encompass much of the Columbia, and Idaho grows because it has more water than it knew.

↑ Maybe the country is having trouble because there are just too many states. How about only 38 states of them, in which case western Washington and Oregon become Cascade; and Spokane, Boise, and Missoula become cities in Bitterroot. Cal State's George Etzel Pearcy redrew the country so borders went through the emptier places, which meant a bit more emphasis on mountains and rivers as borders.

↑ This one is a bit darker and more esoteric, but it's about politics. Tired of gerrymandering? Think too much of politics is driven by redistricting based on polling? One scenario is to redraw the states, counties, districts, and cities by a method called the Shortest Splitline. Take a look at the population. Draw the shortest straight line that splits the population in two. Do that again and again until you have a manageable number of districts and manageable-sized constituency. As for the new name of things? Everything gets redefined. Go get scrappy Ballard.

↑ We're hearing about it again. Let's split Washington down the middle. It may happen some day. And it happens all over the country. Here's a map of what would happen if all the secession plans succeeded. Seattle is in Columbia, that's with a u not an o; which would be one of 124 states. Spokane would be in Cascadia. Portland might be in Multnomah; or is it that Multnomah would make sure they drew the line to keep out Portland?

↑ Forget about politics, secessions, watersheds, and the empty places. Some people are just different. Base the country on us versus them (and respect all of those differences) and the nation could easily split into regions, or maybe new nations, defined by culture. In that case, reach up into Canada because here on the Left Coast, the culture is more similar from Vancouver to San Francisco than it is from Seattle to Spokane. Hmm, maybe Seattle would finally be the capital of something larger than King County.
· 38 States [MentalFloss]
· 50 states of equal population [MentalFloss]
· watersheds [CommunityBuilders]
· Shortest Splitline [RangeVoting]
· 124 states [DailyMail]
· New Nations [Tufts]
· Alternative Americas [Pinterest]
Written by Tom Trimbath