by Kirby LindsayI was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days touring Istanbul, Turkey in early October, and during my ridiculously brief stay, I had the incredible opportunity to meet, socially, with the Istanbul Chief of Police, Mutlu Ekizoglu.
The small neighborhood of Fremont cannot compare on any level with the vast, dense city that spans two continents. To keep order, Chief Ekizoglu leads a police force of 30,000 people, and maintains seven boats that patrol the Bosphorus, a strategic waterway that divides the ancient city.
Something to Offer
Yet, during his business trip to the United States last week, among stops in Washington D.C., Boston, New York City and Seattle, Chief Ekisoglu also visited Fremont. Our tiny community offers much to see and learn, even to cosmopolitan visitors from distant locales.
Many progressive, successful and ground-breaking businesses have chosen Fremont to build and grow, due to the resources and creative, encouraging environment here. Businesses like Theo Chocolate, Fremont Brewing Company and Kvichak Marine Industries draw in those who want to know more about high-quality business practices.
In speaking with Chief Ekizoglu, we discussed the methods they use (24-hour patrols) to deter deaths by suicide from the Bosphorus Bridge, or the First Bridge. Soon, the Washington State Department of Transportation will complete installation of a safety barrier on the Aurora Bridge. It is to be hoped that this will also become a model of preventative measures, and something others come to see and learn.
Nothing To Prove
Growing up, when asked where I lived, I would say Lower Woodland, East Ballard, South Phinney and sometimes, at a big stretch, North of Queen Anne. To my own consternation, however, my family never moved. Instead I simply avoided, in any way possible, admitting I hailed from Fremont.
Fremont of the 1970s – when I was young – was known for its crime-ridden image, of drunken junkies (or junkie drunks) and weird, hippy artist-types, all spilling out of ill-maintained, dilapidated buildings. Yet, thanks to the combined hard work of community activists, business leaders and local artists, Fremont has traded on the best of that funky, artsy character, and added a vibrancy and a strong message about the power of invested, caring community involvement.
My shame long-ago disappeared, and I always proudly proclaim, even when in Istanbul, that I hail from Fremont, in Seattle, Washington. I know a lot remains to be done, and work will need to continue to keep the area thriving. Yet, over the last decade, no one denies that they live in Fremont. In fact, real estate agents often label properties as being located in Fremont, even when that would stretch the boundaries, if the Center of the Universe can ever be declared to have any.
I love it here, for many reasons. For me, going out to see more of our world just confirms for me that Fremont may be but an infinitesimal part of our globe, but it still has plenty to offer.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.