Meet Route Bay City: Marjo Morden

Route Bay City is committed to telling the stories of growth, development, and innovation happening in Bay County. 

Telling these stories are Route's writers and photographers, locally-based people who are working to show Bay County to the world. Today we have a Q&A with Route writer Morden Marjo, and is the second article of a series where we get to know the people behind Route.  

Route: Can you tell me a bit about your background? 

I'm a Thumb kid.  After I graduated from high school the only thing I knew for sure was that I wasn't sure what was out there for me.  I skipped around a lot, living in Kalamazoo, Hancock (Go Huskies!), Metro-Detroit, and then spent seven years living outside of San Francisco running a small business as a behavioral dog trainer and dog walker; like Cesar Milan but instead of Junior I have Clyde, a 13-year-old brown dog from the Copper Country.  

What brought you back to Michigan?

Family, friends, and the snow!  Which I’m standing by even on this very cold, snowy day in February. 

Why did you want to get involved with Route?   

I still cannot believe the characters I meet living in the Great Lakes Bay Area and all of the things around here that are just quietly (and not so quietly) being awesome.  From day one I began thinking about writing down my experiences here as a newcomer, and when I learned about the position available with Route, I jumped at the opportunity! 

What kinds of stories do you like reporting on the most? 

I love sharing the origin story of people and places.  It is difficult not to fall in love with the Third Street Star Bridge, for example. The stories behind those strings of lights are almost as magical as being under them.  

What do you think the elements of a good story are? 

Shaping the story in a way that the reader can relate and connect is critical, of course.  But a chase scene doesn’t hurt either. 

What effect do you think there will be on the area having a publication dedicated to telling the positive stories Bay County is creating? 

As with storytelling, one of the most important elements to a community’s success is its ability for it’s people to connect with each other, and for Bay County to be relatable to the rest of the world.  I think Route is creating that connection.

Why do you think Bay County is a place worth telling stories about? How would you describe it as a place? 

There is a theatre downtown with a Mayan motif. In July, a literal fleet of tall ships are descending on the Saginaw River. There are art galleries, antique stores… even a cobbler and chocolatier.  People here work hard, and work towards things they care about.  They seem to care most about each other.  

I have lived in many different cities, but I’ve never felt quite this connected to a place this quickly, or as surprised by the opportunities available here. 

What do you hope to accomplish with your storytelling? 

I believe I have a unique viewpoint because I’m not from Bay County.  Although I grew up driving down Center Avenue. on our trips to “The City” growing up, I am still discovering new places and meeting new people every day.  I hope the perspective I provide will make the residents of Bay County feel proud of the place they live, and encourage others to visit this historic town. 

Is there anything you're learning about Bay County as you cover its stories? 

I can’t believe how much I’ve learned! I didn't know that there was a bridge off Third Street that collapsed in 1976, or that Third Street was such a rowdy place at the turn of the 20th century. Just this week I learned that the Saginaw Bay Watershed (which encompasses 22 counties!) is the largest contiguous freshwater coastal wetland system in the United States. 

And I mean, as far as the people of Bay County... I was lucky enough to become a co-worker at CMURC in Uptown, Bay City, so I've met dozens of jaw-droppingly inspirational people right from the start. I understood very quickly that there was a small army of individuals working to keep Bay City's history alive and keep their community strong and thriving.  I didn't understand how large that small army is, and how many people have been critical in it's success.  Every person I interview for Route leaves me with three more stories that I'm curious to unfold! 

This isn't exactly about Bay County, but I wish I could say that I’ve learned how to type the acute "e" in "poké"...but sadly I still have to copy/paste.