Senate renames Mount Rainier to Mount Seattle Seahawks

Name change is temporary

Staff writerJanuary 31, 2014 

Sun kicks off of Mount Rainier as the Highway 509 bridge and the Museum of Glass shimmer in the sun Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. Clear, cold and dry weather is expected the next few days.

JOE BARRENTINE — Staff photo

O Tacoma! The City of Destiny at the head of Commencement Bay, where on a clear day you can see the majestic, glacier-flanked peak of … Mount Seattle Seahawks?

The state Senate passed a resolution by voice vote Friday afternoon authorizing the temporary name change for Mount Rainier.

The resolution mimics a proclamation by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who on Wednesday temporarily renamed 53 of the state’s highest peaks after the 53 members of the Broncos’ squad that will face the Seahawks in the Super Bowl Sunday.

Sen. Jim Hargrove’s resolution claims the Washington state Senate is “VERY confident the Seattle Seahawks will defeat the Denver Broncos on Sunday.”

Has he jinxed the Hawks? Nah. Colorado’s “Hick” did it first by proclaiming his state "confident" of a victory.

Hargrove, D-Hoquiam goes on to laud the Hawks’ prowess, the fans’ seismic celebration and the crowd’s sonic roar. The resolution’s bravado lightly mocks the Colorado governor’s choices, for while Hickenlooper chose a peak for each player “because the Broncos are a team of individuals,” the Seattle Seahawks need but “one magnificent mountain” to represent its team.

But in seeking to celebrate the Seahawks’ success, Hargrove risks reopening old wounds. Tacomans historically have not taken kindly to efforts to appropriate their mountain.

Seattle and Tacoma long fought over the name of “The Mountain,” with Tacomans launching several campaigns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to reclaim the peak. Tacoma interests got so far as winning U.S. Senate approval of a name change to Mount Tacoma in 1924 but were eventually defeated by Seattle opponents.

And so the mountain known to Native Americans as Tahoma has remained named for Peter Rainier, a British naval officer who fought Americans during the Revolutionary War.

Until now.

Friday afternoon, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland smiled when she heard of the mountain’s new name, which expires midnight Monday.

“After that we can have a discussion of renaming the mountain to Mount Tacoma,” she quipped.

Hargrove's measure went a step further and suggested changing Mount Rainier National Park to “12th Man National Park." No word on whether Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, former head of Recreational Equipment Inc., will approve the temporary name change before the request expires in the wee hours of Monday.

Not one to be outdone, Gov. Jay Inslee called Friday for renaming the Department of Transportation’s 22-vessel ferry fleet for Seahawks players.

Instead of riding the M/V Tacoma, ferry passengers who travel between Seattle and Bainbridge Island on Sunday will board the M/V Russell Wilson.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542

kate.martin@thenewstribune.com

@KateReports

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