Second Issue Cover, April 10, 1969

Frank Kathman, (deceased) Co-Founder and Publisher standing top row, far right, tall with mustache.  Michael Harman (Carlson)  Co-Founder and Art Director seated bottom center.  Laurence Kee, Co-Founder and Managing Editor, not pictured.  He was busy working in the Passage office.
This photo reflects the "hippie" types living in and around the Fairhaven district in Bellingham showing their support for the growing counter-cultural community.   
The house at 10th and Wilson, while remodeled, still exists.  

Northwest Passage

Underground Newspaper

The Northwest Passage -- An alternative newspaper formed in 1969 by Frank Kathman, Publisher; Laurence Kee, Managing Editor; and Michael Harman (Carlson),  Art Director.  

The Passage launched as a bi-weekly publication on March 17, 1969, with the cover story "Of Flags and Freedoms" and "Two Interviews with the NLF" (National Front of Liberation of South Vietnam.)  

Issues from 1969 to 1986 are available on Western Washington's University's Digital Archives and can be found here.

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The first Passage office located in Laurence Kee's Maplewood home was quickly followed by an office "out in the woods" on Yew Street and then the Territorial Courthouse on "E" Street.    (The Courthouse is Washington's oldest brick building.)

In 1970 the Northwest Passage settled into the historic Fairhaven District on the second floor of the Morgan Block, a 1890s building currently home to Good Earth Pottery and Artwood Studios at 10th and Harris.   That space is now occupied by Martini Metal Craft.

By 1972 the three co-founders had moved on to other ventures and the Passage was staffed by a number of very talented writers and artists listed here.    In 1977 the Passage staff and offices moved to Seattle, becoming a monthly publication which continued until June 1986.     

"The Northwest Passage was known for covering issues that the straight news media would often ignore. They never strived for objectivity, but rather focused on influencing people and being a voice for counterculture. The Passage's first big break was when they exposed that Georgia Pacific was letting mercury discharges go into Bellingham Bay. They often reported on environmental issues and were known for their persistent muckraking."    

 excerpt from

A reunion for former Northwest Passage staff was held in Bellingham in the Fall of 2000, recognizing the 30-year anniversary of the publication.  The event was organized by Bernie Weiner and Buck Meloy.  

The October 1 - 14, 2000 Special Reunion Issue "Still Putting Out" reflected the memories of many of the Fairhaven and Seattle Northwest Passage staff looking back over 30 years.    The full issue can be found in two pdf files after the staff list in the link above.  Thanks to Marga Rose Hancock.  


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