Hanna Brooks Olsen

Writing, reporting, policy, dog stuff.

Location icon United States

Curious gadabout, in Seattle by way of Oregon.
Smitten with a small dog and a well-crafted sentence.

I'm a freelance writer and reporter. I write about poverty and access, Seattle-area politics, sports, A&E,
health and beauty, lady issues, and basically anything that interests me.

Get at me. We'll probably be fast friends.



Curbed Seattle
There's an abandoned bathroom under the Pioneer Square pergola

Even newcomers know about the silver cans that couldn't. A decade ago, the City of Seattle ended its brief, expensive experiment with public toilets. Widely regarded as an urban necessity, the "self-cleaning" space johns were the kind of progressive pilot program that make this town great.

Bitch Media
Women Cult Leaders Hold an Insidious, Misunderstood Power

It's impossible to ignore the dark turn our popular media has taken. From podcasts about murders to documentaries about criminal cover-ups, creators have been scrounging into our dark histories to find strange, bizarre, and terrifying stories to highlight. Naturally, this includes cults. The Manson Family. Jonestown. Rajneeshpuram.

GOOD Magazine
In The Land Of Bill Gates, A Standoff Over Money For Schools

Zachary Warren spends a lot of his time thinking about chairs. Desk chairs, to be more specific. Though there's a range of chair sizes in the classroom where he's taught for years in the Seattle Public School system, he says, "They don't fit the kids. The desks don't fit the kids."

Pacific Standard
Why Do Most Orca Pregnancies End in Miscarriage? Look Upstream.

Writing in 1916, conservationist John Muir noted that "there is not a 'fragment' in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself." A century later, in the Pacific Northwest, land managers, tribal leaders, environmental stewards, lawmakers, and business interests are locked in a fight over which harmonious units and relative fragments can be rearranged to satisfy all parties.

Debunking The Myths Americans Believe About Immigration - And Themselves

First myth: The United States is better than this A recent headline about nearly 1,500 undocumented children who've been lost in the system has alarmed citizens and, in some cases, prompted them to declare that removing children from their parents is somehow un-American. Historically, this is not true.

Democracy Journal
Seattle's Creative Campaign Finance Reform

During the 2017 election cycle, which included races for City Council, school board, and the Mayor, the City of Seattle sent every registered voter-442,316 people in total-four pieces of paper. The papers, called Democracy Vouchers, were each worth $25, paid for by the taxpayers, and were to be used for the sole purpose of making contributions to that year's active campaigns.

The Atlantic
Homelessness and the Impossibility of a Good Night's Sleep

Sleeplessness contributes, popular science preaches, to obesity, diabetes, poor diet, and unproductiveness. And yet, even those of us who should have no problem logging a solid eight hours often struggle to get enough.

The Establishment
Single-Payer Health Care Must Come With Reproductive Coverage

If a single-payer plan doesn't protect abortion, we cannot call it universal. I n the wake of the GOP's recent and unflagging attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act -  an unpopular move by multiple measures - a handful of Democrats are fighting back with a push in the opposite direction.

America is for the rich: How we became a nation of "have nots"

This article originally appeared on The Daily Dot. After the #BlackMonday panic sent westward shockwaves last week, the stock market seems to be rebounding even further Wednesday-quelling the concerns of many who worried their retirements, investments, and financial futures were in jeopardy.

Wicca And Paganism Are So Much More Than A Pop-Culture Trend

Trendy Paganism focuses on crushed velvet, Oujia boards, and five-pointed stars - without considering the actual faith. E veryone has something about their upbringing that embarrassed them as a child. Maybe it was your dad's minivan. Maybe it was something darker, like his drinking problem. Maybe it was mom's taste in classic rock.

If Body Positivity Makes You Feel Worse, You're Not Alone

My body and I have had a tense relationship. But we're working on it! And part of that ~bonding process~ includes accepting it for what it is and not what I think it could be if only I had literally endless time to spend working out and eating magical whole foods that come in colorful bowls.

Seattle Weekly
Welcome to the Bliss Jungle | Seattle Weekly

Illustration by Joshua Boulet There's a dead end street in Shoreline with a construction site at the end. Like a lot of plots in the area, contractors are working to replace the old building-a small white house-with a new one. When it's finished, the lot will hold Fire Station 63.

Extra Crispy
The Double Bind of Free School Breakfast

Getting up before 8:00 a.m. wasn't something that came easily for my mom, so many mornings between kindergarten and the third grade, my older brother and woke to our own alarms, dressed ourselves, and walked ourselves to school. It wasn't a big deal; our town in Oregon was small and safe and the walk was short.

The Shocker
STEVE BANNON WEEK: Closing Time with Steve Bannon

I worked behind a bar long enough to know the difference between the fun ones and the mean ones. It's something in their posture-shoulders, elbows, the cock of the head-but mostly in their face.

Happy 42nd Birthday to the Quiet Hero of the American Household

My mother's pocketbook was always massive. In addition to carrying checks, it was also stuffed with receipts, change, and numerous forms of payment for groceries. Specifically, the green sheet of stamps and the little slips for big cans of juice, opened with a churchkey, and big bricks of The Good Cheese.

Everyday Feminism
4 Critical Reasons Why Unions Are a Feminist Issue - Everyday Feminism

The decline is due to a variety of factors (including anti-union policies, trade agreements, and the decline of the manufacturing industry, among other things) and has impacted millions of workers. But if you haven't heard of this issue, don't feel bad - the decrease in union membership hasn't exactly drawn splashy headlines.

The Etiquette of Purchasing Pot

Despite the apocalyptic warnings of anti-legalization activists and organizations, in the almost three years since Washington voters opted to decriminalize the sale of recreational marijuana, the state has not yet gone to pot. Drug lords haven't taken over and marijuana tourism has not created hours-long waits at the borders of Oregon and Idaho.

Civic Skunk Works
How the GOP's Anti-Poverty Plans Ignore the Rural Poor

Despite their best attempts to burn Quicken Loans Arena to the ground with white supremacy, plagiarism, and fog machines, the Republican National Convention continues to bumble along in Cleveland. And though plenty of people have criticized the party, the convention, and even Donald Trump himself for a lack of actual policy proposals, that's not entirely true-the GOP has proposed policies, they're just not good ones.

The Frisky
Depression And The Privilege Of Just Staying Home - The Frisky

When a woman who lived in my college apartment complex became overcome by her depression, took a hiatus from school, and went to stay with her parents a few hours away, I remember seething with envy. Not because she was depressed - who would be jealous of that?


This List Ignited a Serious Debate Over How to Help Your Employees Not Go Hungry

A list instructing employers on how to help workers who struggle to afford food has spurred a fiery debate on social media. The term food insecurity refers to people whose eat poorly or irregularly due to financial strain. These people fall into two categories, the United States Department of Agriculture explains.

Topping This Week's News: '$70,000 NOW!'

A Seattle CEO cuts his own pay so he can double his employees' salaries - is this a new model for capitalism? Should Washington state tax the megarich? Does Woodland Park Zoo deserve a boycott? Bill Radke hosts our weekly news debate with panelists C.R.

Sound Effect, Episode 6: Vice

"Sound Effect" is a weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place where we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show will explore a different theme. In this week's show, we delve into vice. Ashley Gross introduces us to a grandmother who has struggled with drug addiction since she was a young girl herself.

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