The Totem Pole Restaurant has long since given up its place “On the 99 strip” to new development, but memories of the landmark eatery are lasting longer than a slice of its deep-dish Chehalem blackberry pie or bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Specifically, what happened to the totem pole?
A reader named Debbie posted that question recently to Clark Asks, The Columbian’s reader-guided reporting project. Her question — “What was the history of the totem pole that was at the old Totem Pole Restaurant at the corner of 78th Street and Highway 99? Where did it end up?” — received half the votes cast when we asked readers which of three questions our reporters should pursue first.
The story, written by reporter Calley Hair, is scheduled to run Saturday in the Community section. And as it turns out, the answer is a bit more complicated than one might think.
The two other questions were popular with readers, as well.
The question “What’s with the creepy, abandoned building in the Providence Academy parking lot?” came in second place in voting, while the question “Why were signs providing a speed and the message ‘slow down’ added to the corner of Northeast 18th Street and 192nd Avenue?” came in third.
If your favorite didn’t end up the top vote-getter, don’t despair. Runners-up often end up in future voting rounds, as did the question about the creepy building near the Providence Academy, or they are reported as time allows.