The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Roger Nichols
For The Sentinel 

The 'New Yorker' visits Goldendale again


Goldendale has hit the national media again, and this time it has nothing to do with Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer. Last weekend, in an issue labeled July 6 & 13, The New Yorker magazine featured another story by staff writer Charles Bethea, who wrote about Klickitat County reactions to the COVID crisis in May, focusing on Songer and others in the county. This time, in a story slugged “Goldendale Postcard” and titled “Proper Air,” he features Janeece Smith of Klickitat Valley Realty in a piece that is part character study and part social phenomenon.

Smith is quoted as calling Klickitat County “doomsday-prepper land” and says she sells property to people looking to escape the madding crowd of northwest metropolises such as Portland, Spokane, Seattle, or the Tri-Cities in order to find space and isolation from apocalypses real and imagined. Between the pandemic and rioting, Smith tells Bethea, she’s received inquiries from “lawyers, doctors, a former White House official, and a Google employee.” Mostly, she says, they’re looking for large spreads well-spaced from the nearest neighbor.

In just over 700 words, Bethea also shows a bit of stranger-in-a-strange-land wonderment by catalog-ing the items she carries in her F-150, including hunting knives, jerky, toothpaste, C.B.D. oil, and ammo for her Smith & Wesson .380 with a laser sight.

If you’re not a subscriber to The New Yorker, the story can be found online, at least until the next issue comes out, presumably on July 20.


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