Opinion

Weyerhaeuser University and other crazy visions | Andy Hobbs

Student: I have crazy visions about Federal Way. I was hoping you could help me.

Teacher: Are they crazy, as in naughty?

Student: Perhaps.

Teacher: Then please continue.

Student: One recurring vision involves Weyerhaeuser. The headquarters in Federal Way one day becomes Weyerhaeuser University. They hire the world’s best forestry, engineering and business gurus. It quickly gains prestige, sort of like Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana. A few thousand bright undergrads live on this lush campus or bunk somewhere in Federal Way. They party at the bars and buy their groceries in Federal Way. Thousands of young adults spend their disposable income at Federal Way businesses. To meet demand, the city builds a strip of bars and clubs, sort of like Mill Avenue in Tempe, Ariz.

Teacher: Interesting. I have always thought Weyerhaeuser could build a thriving college on all that land. Weyerhaeuser is more about real estate these days, doing what it takes to survive. However, an investment in a namesake college campus would stimulate the region’s economy and keep Weyerhaeuser relevant to new generations. What is naughty about this vision?

Student: One of the new bars is called “The Library.” The waitresses are wearing Catholic school girl uniforms with thigh-high tights and cleavage. I blow my whole paycheck on booze and pass out on the roof, wearing only a sombrero and flip-flops. Sometimes in the vision, I wake up in a sorority house surrounded by beautiful coeds who —

Teacher: My goodness! Let’s stop there. I do appreciate your vision about a Weyerhaeuser University. Tell me about another vision.

Student: I thought you wanted to hear the naughty side of my visions.

Teacher: I do. But I get embarrassed when I actually hear real tales of naughty situations.

Student: If half the visions in my head could be seen, I’d be shot on site.

Teacher: Your point is taken. Tell me about another Federal Way vision.

Student: Another recurring vision involves the light rail. I’m standing at South 272nd Street, ready to ride to the airport with my wife, two children and three suitcases. There’s a sign that reads “Wait here for the light rail. You know, that mass transit Harold Hill sales pitch you voted for in 2008. Sound Transit invites you to look up the road at the hoity-toity Eastside, where they dine instead of eat.” Then a phantom light rail runs right through me, packed with Federal Way passengers heading to the airport. They avoid traffic and parking fees.

Teacher: That sounds more like a hallucination. Light rail is never coming to Federal Way, even though you’re paying for it. Also, do not frame this argument as a class war. South King County has its share of successful residents, even if the area has more lower-income households and renters. Does your vision include a way to change the perception of Federal Way?

Student: No. In the vision, the city is a bedroom community that reeks of potential, yet fails to inspire more followers who create opportunities within their borders. The city must learn from failures in order to find success.

Teacher: As another influential teacher said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Tell me, what is naughty about this vision?

Student: There’s nothing naughty about fulfilling your potential.

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