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Seattle’s temporary ‘Clean City’ surge claims 1M pounds of trash collected from parks and neighborhoods last month

Mayor Jenny Durkan is touting her “Clean City” initiative as a success based on volume alone — the program is claiming 1,000,000 pounds of trash collected in January from parks and neighborhoods across the city.

“The pandemic has taken a toll on our community in many unseen ways, one is the growing graffiti, trash and garbage in parks and on streets,” Durkan said in a press release on the 1 million pound milestone. “The Clean City Initiative has increased our focus on removing trash to begin to set Seattle up for clear road to recovery—for our businesses, schools, neighborhoods, and residents. We have much more work ahead to deliver for our residents and businesses.”

CHS reported here on Durkan’s $5.6M “temporary surge in increased trash pick-up” and “proactive cleaning in parks and open spaces.”

The city says the initiative has included clean-ups at Cal Anderson following the sweep of encampments at the park and around Miller Community Center where a large collection of tents and shelters has grown. “This work includes additional litter routes, weekly park and neighborhood focuses, increased trash pickup from encampments and RVs, and additional needle collection efforts,” the city says.

The pandemic and homelessness crisis has shifted many city resources and Seattle Parks says it is now focused on “providing critical services.”

Community clean-ups and smaller-scale projects to improve Cal Anderson, meanwhile, have continued following the city’s sweep of tents and activists from the park before Christmas.

The city’s Cal Anderson sweep, meanwhile, will cost it $10,000 after a settlement in a lawsuit brought by a camper at the park, the Seattle Times reports. The federal civil rights lawsuit brought on behalf “an unhoused resident of Seattle” Ada Yeager included a bid to halt the sweep which was denied. Yeager claimed to have been living in Cal Anderson since early June and alleged being subjected to “repeated harassment from the City of Seattle by way of ‘sweeps.’”

In January, the Clean City initiative work collected Collected 1,152, 571 pounds of trash, and disposed of 26,570 needles. Work crews made 293 visits to encampments to collect trash and garbage and cleaned graffiti from over 200 structures in over 60 locations across the city.

“If there is litter, trash, needles, or illegal dumped materials near you, you can always report via the City’s Find It, Fix It app, or call (206) 684-CITY (2489),” the city says.

The Clean City initiative is slated to continue through April.


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CHqueer
CHqueer
14 days ago

“The pandemic has taken a toll on our community in many unseen ways, one is the growing graffiti, trash and garbage in parks and on streets,”

I though it was due to the city’s mismanagement of the drug, mental health and homelessness crisis, cancelation of the Navigation Team by City Council, and decision by Pete Holmes to not prosecute any crimes. I must have been mistaken.

CHqueer
CHqueer
14 days ago

“The Clean City initiative is slated to continue through April.”

How about we continue it forever as a fundamental city service?

Xtian Gunther
Xtian Gunther
13 days ago
Reply to  CHqueer

Word.
Does the city offer any regular street weeping?
Does the city own trash vacuuming vehicles?
Does the city have an acceptable public restroom system?
A there ANY age restrictions or ID requirements for buying spray paint in Seattle?
Are there adequate dumpsters and trash bins to dispose of trash in around the city?
Does the city have by-law officers to patrol and ensure graffiti and vandalism don’t plague Seattle?
Does the city do any real targeted anti-graffiti programming or education?

I am fairly sure that the answer to all or almost all of these is a big fat NO.

Mayor Durkan is so far from being up for the task of leading this city.

Bragging that the city picked up 1 million pounds of mostly illegally dumped litter and trash is like bragging that our morgues did a great job of handling the many additional murder victims… It is more damnation than any true accomplishment. And, there is still graffiti and trash all over this city. Really bad.

Durkan is clueless or inept.

She is a well-intentioned, privileged nincompoop who either lacks the courage, the care or the clue as to how to tackle its very real and growing challenges. Good riddance.

Magicia
Magicia
14 days ago

Really happy to see this happening. All the homeless encampments should have regular garbage pick-up. We see what happens otherwise.

Caphiller
Caphiller
14 days ago
Reply to  Magicia

People should not be living in parks. Who’s going to pay for this garbage pickup? I don’t think we should enable this illegal camping.

Magicia
Magicia
14 days ago
Reply to  Caphiller

Whether or not people should be living in parks, they do, and they do amass garbage. If we do nothing, then we get big piles of garbage. That’s what has been happening. It needs to be cleaned up.

Xtian Gunther
Xtian Gunther
13 days ago
Reply to  Magicia

Yup. Caphiller, you get an award for your compassion and keen sense. NOT.
Where are all of these people supposed to go, brainiac?

And, managed properly, the city can more than afford to handle garbage pickup. It’s cheaper to put in a system that provides the service than to clean up the messes -some of which are all but impossible to truly clean up- aftterward.

Maybe, learn before you rant, dear ignorant one.
And, grow up, please. ;-)

KGR
KGR
14 days ago

It would be nice if they could clean up all the obscenities spray painted all over the place from the protests. Including on people’s homes.

RWK
RWK
13 days ago
Reply to  KGR

It sure would. There is a HUGE increase in graffiti everywhere on Capitol Hill (and other neighborhoods). It’s fine that the City is cleaning it up on public property, but the bulk of the graffiti is on private property and is the responsibility of property owners to clean it up. From what I can see, that is not happening.

Adam
Adam
12 days ago
Reply to  RWK

I complained last year and was told the city suspended the requirement to clean up graffiti due to covid. I’m not sure if they reinstated it yet.

HTS3
HTS3
14 days ago

Such a conundrum. Get mad at the City for not cleaning up. Get mad at the City for allowing illegal behavior to allow this to go on without punishment. Get mad at the City for not managing the homeless/mental illness/drug addiction problem. Get mad at the City for not having regular garbage pickups at illegal homeless camps in our parks. Get mad at the City for allowing people to camp in our parks. The common thread seems to be getting mad. Glad I don’t have to solve this. Oh, that’s right, since I live here I do kind of need to be involved instead of being mad at “the City.”

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
14 days ago
Reply to  HTS3

Well…. I was kind of under the impression that is why we elect city officials, who are supposed to buy the right equipment and hire qualified people with the tax money that we give them – so that we don’t have to personally clean up all of the messes…..

Is there a reason that we shouldn’t be mad when they don’t appear to be able to handle the situation?

Xtian Gunther
Xtian Gunther
13 days ago
Reply to  CD Neighbor

Exactly. HTS3 is conflating and confusing several things and several viewpoints that are typically not held by the same folks. Maybe HTS3 went to Trump’s school of dumb-down popCULTure and false equivalencies? :-o

Cheeseslinger John
Cheeseslinger John
13 days ago
Reply to  Xtian Gunther

Xtian, he’s not confusing anything from what I can tell. His point is that everybody is mad at the city and trying to get the city to do what you want by being mad is just joining a tug of war pulling in fifty different directions. He closes by acknowledging that more is necessary to solve these problems than voicing your frustration online.
I might further extend this argument to say that you’re being very counter productive with all of your personal attacks and the very divisiveness that trump haters are always complaining about.

Xtian Gunther
Xtian Gunther
13 days ago

Cheeselinger, you will find me out and about picking up litter, testifying on behalf of historic preservation and DOING other actual actions to better our challenged city. You? You don’t know me and, like so many in our profoundly anti-intellectual country, you seem to negate the power of communication via social media and online media commentary, despite it’s very powerful ability to mobilize and motivate -including our elected officials. Someone on here pointed out a VERY important aspect of our political system: we elect and PAY people to manage many more people to keep us safe, our public places clean and our society orderly. In fact, it’s the very definition of governance. Sure, we should all pitch in. Most do not. Many contribute to the messes, filth and greed. And our systems are falling short of addressing that, deterrence, reforming where needed and penalizing infractions. So, please, spare me. You don’t know me. Want to chat? Sure. Want to knock my ‘personal attacks’ for calling out a fellow community member’s insensitive public comments about those who are down and out? Well, then, I have a kite you are welcome to go out and fly.

HTS3
HTS3
13 days ago
Reply to  Xtian Gunther

Hey Xtian, you are very perceptive. I was purposely making the contrasting point that it’s pretty hard to solve a problem when large numbers of people have the opposite perspective. So you are a politician wanting to get elected here—are you for allowing people to camp in the parks, or are you opposed? Should the City Council have mandated a $4 an hour increase in pay for grocery workers? Hmmm. Sounds good on paper. But what about all the other people who should get hazard pay, and aren’t. What about the unintended consequences of grocery stores closing? If you are “for” something, half the people will call you either a Socialist or like your wonderful statement, “Maybe HTS3 went to Trump’s school of dumb-down popCULTure and false equivalencies?” I was merely stepping back and reading all of these comments and marveling at how hard it is to solve challenging problems when you need a consensus.

Xtian Gunther
Xtian Gunther
13 days ago
Reply to  HTS3

Well, where I come from, it reads as lazy conflation that only muddies the waters, serving no real purpose. I’m not saying it was your intent but it’s an old tactic that folks like Trump and Fox News’ commentators regularly fall back on. Whether that was your intention or not, that was what I called out. Seems to me, all you really said was a long-winded variation on: it’s tough to please everyone all the time. Whoopdee-do. More useful? Critiques of empty observations, compassionless attacks and toward better alternatives. Which is what I provided. And, as other posters pointed out: The Find It, Fix It app. ;-)

HTS3
HTS3
13 days ago
Reply to  Xtian Gunther

Well, where I come from calling people names isn’t a way to win them over. Just as you stated to another commenter, “you don’t know me.” True. And you don’t know me. Somehow you seem to think it’s different coming from you. It’s not. I told you my intention, simply to raise the issue that It’s really hard to move forward and solve problems when people disagree entirely on the problem and the reason/solution to it. And then calling people who disagree with you names really isn’t helping things. I bet we agree on lots of stuff, but as soon as someone says that I’m in any way related to Trump, I’m kind of not considering anything else they might say to have much value. Make it a great day.

RWK
RWK
13 days ago
Reply to  CD Neighbor

I agree. But one simple/quick thing that citizens can do is report problems (illegal dumping, graffiti) to the City whenever and wherever they see it (using the “find it, fix it” app). The City will even respond to graffiti on private property, by notifying the property owner and pressuring him/her to clean up.