Port Townsend: America’s downtowns trying to find their roots, conference told

Las Vegas is seeking to establish grocery stores and community parks in the face of endless strips of casinos and hotels.

Los Angeles is seeking to build pedestrian-only shopping centers to create community.

Reno, Nev., is trying to mine its historic roots for clues to its future identity as the gaming industry leaves town.

Throughout the nation, says New York Times writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Timothy Egan, cities are trying to discover their roots and find their “authenticity.”

Egan, who keynoted statewide conference on downtown revitalization that began at Fort Worden State Park on Wednesday, said Port Townsend isn’t doing too badly.

“Most American midsize cities want to be you,” Egan told Port Townsend city, civic and business leaders.

Egan, who lives in Seattle and whose book The Good Rain has been called essential reading on the Northwest, weighed in on a number of issues from chain stores and zoning to the intangibles that help build up or detract from a city’s sense of community.


The rest of this story appears in the Thursday Peninsula Daily News Jefferson County edition. Click on “Subscribe” to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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