North Everett, south Everett — is there a cultural divide?

Not every discussion of north-south issues covers Civil War history. The Everett Public Library is hosting timely talks sure to hit home. Over two evenings, people are invited to consider the question “North and South Everett: What’s the Difference?”

Part of a new “Making Connections” series, the first talk is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the library’s Evergreen Branch. That question will be raised again at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Main Library Auditorium downtown.

North Everett, south Everett, is there a divide? If so, what does it mean for people? Those are provocative questions. There is one easy answer — north Everett is much older.

Everett High School, a north end landmark, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010, three years before Cascade High School on East Casino Road marked its 50th year.

According to a chronology compiled by local historian Jack O’Donnell from Herald archives, it wasn’t until 1961 that a traffic light was installed at Highway 99 and Casino Road. The following year, voters approved a large annexation to 100th Street. Everett had been incorporated May 8, 1893.

The age difference is more complex than a simple time line would tell us. For some, the familiar features of a long-established place — old buildings, schools, churches and parks — are perceived as signs of stability.

Do old attitudes go hand-in-hand with the city’s oldest areas? Is there still something to the persistent old saying that Everett ends at 41st Street?

Both north and south Everett have sizeable immigrant populations. And with hundreds of new apartment units nearly finished downtown, the city is changing fast.

Kate Larsen, the library’s assistant director, said the north-south topic came up in discussions with Friends of the Everett Public Library, a group that provides volunteer and financial support to library programs. The Friends group is heading up the Making Connections series, which also will include two “Coffee With a Cop” talks, a meeting with local leaders, and an Everett candidate night.

“Everybody who lives in Everett, you hear north and south Everett all the time,” Larsen said. “Does that contribute to any division or not?”

The question may elicit shared experiences, but also stereotypes. Larsen hopes people from north Everett will attend the Evergreen Branch meeting, and some from south Everett will show up at the downtown discussion.

Concerns over crime will no doubt be raised, particularly recent shootings and gang activity in south Everett. In June, three people were shot outside a Taco Bell near 75th Street on Evergreen Way. In August, a 15-year-old boy was shot at 112th Street SW and Fourth Avenue W, an intersection just south of Everett. And an Everett teen has been charged in a Sept. 3 shooting of a boy and his sister near Discovery Elementary School. The teen allegedly said he thought his target was a member of a rival gang.

In north Everett, the Safeway at 18th and Broadway sees the need to reserve two parking spaces near the store entrance just for police.

There is obvious drug activity and other trouble along Broadway in north Everett, but also positive change. Everett Community College has expanded with the new Walt Price Student Fitness Center and Liberty Hall, an EvCC health sciences building that also houses Providence Everett Healthcare Clinic. Coming this month is the ground-breaking for Washington State University’s new building across Broadway from EvCC. The four-story WSU North Puget Sound building will house classrooms, engineering and computer-related labs, student services, offices and administration.

What about political representation for north and south Everett?

Deb Williams, administrative coordinator for the Everett City Council, said three out of seven council members live outside the long-established neighborhood of north Everett. Jeff Moore lives in south Everett’s Eastmont area, she said. Ron Gipson and Judy Tuohy live in central Everett, Williams said, while Brenda Stonecipher, Scott Bader, Scott Murphy and Paul Roberts live in north Everett.

“I’ve lived in south Everett for 30 years,” said Williams, who is pleased about homes being built on the old Jazwieck’s Golfette and Trainland property and businesses coming to the Everett Mall area. She appreciates the history and lovely old homes of north Everett, but said “speaking for myself, I love living out here.”

Wherever we live, it’s worth finding common ground. In the end, all of Everett is in it together.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

North-South talk

first in a series

The Everett Public Library is presenting a “Making Connections” discussion series focused on Everett.

“North and South Everett: What’s the Difference?” (two talks):

6:30 p.m. Sept. 16, Evergreen Branch, 9512 Evergreen Way, Everett.

6:30 p.m. Sept. 28, Main Library Auditorium, 2702 Hoyt Ave, Everett.

“Coffee With a Cop,” with Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman (two talks):

6:30 p.m. Sept. 21, Main Library Auditorium.

6:30 p.m. Sept. 30, Evergreen Branch Meeting Room

“Everett Showcase” with community leaders: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13, Main Library Auditorium.

Participants: Bob Reese, Volunteers of America Western Washington for Casino Road Neighborhood Community Center; Carol Thomas, City of Everett Cultural Arts, for Experience Everett; Jim Stephanson, Economic Alliance Snohomish County; Steven Graham, Everett Music Project and Downtown Everett Association; Ted Wenta, YMCA of Snohomish County, for new Everett Y; Terri Battuello, Port of Everett, for Riverfront development.

“Candidate Night:” 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 22, Evergreen Middle School, 7621 Beverly Lane, Everett.

Candidates for Everett City Council, Everett School Board and Port of Everett Commission will answer questions.

(Submit questions for police chief or candidates in advance at: http://epls.org)

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