Seattle's new garbage dump boasts fancy playground | KUOW News and Information

Seattle's new garbage dump boasts fancy playground

Dec 5, 2016

There's an unlikely new place to work out in the Fremont-Wallingford area: the garbage dump.

The city of Seattle just opened a new garbage transfer station near Gas Works Park, after the old one closed two years ago. Neighbors wanted it to reopen only if it came with community benefits - and that's what they got.

The new North Transfer Station is not your typical garbage dump. There's no smell outside. It's quiet outside the facility, too. From the sidewalk, it looks more like a community center.

Lee Raaen: "People are looking forward to it because you've got this nice walking area, you've got exercise areas, you've got the play field, the basketball court, and all this sort of thing."

Lee Raaen is on the board for the Wallingford Community Council. The group was highly involved in planning the waste station. WCC had Seattle Public Utilities sign a binding contract saying WCC would have approval over any changes to the project and in return WCC would not file lawsuits against the project.

Raaen is happy with the amenities, which includes exercise equipment around the building and a big orange art sculpture.

Officials at Seattle Public Utilities are happy, too. Jeff Neuner at SPU helped lead this project. He gave KUOW a tour of the facility, starting in the public observation room where you see the dump from above.

The doors to the new North Transfer Station stay closed except to let vehicles in for drop off. Trash compacting happens below ground -- so there's little noise from the outside.
Credit KUOW Photo/Paige Browning

Neuner: "Some of what you see in here is the misting system. They're to control odor and dust and keeping it moving, not just letting it flow through the neighborhood like it used to in the old one."

Next, he headed to the heart of the complex, where people can drop off garbage, yard waste and furniture for a fee.

Neuner: "It's fairly loud in there.”

But what Neuner really wants to show off, is how quiet it is once you walk back outside. It stays quiet, because the doors are closed at all times except to let cars in. And all the trash compacting happens below ground.

Neighbors wanted the North Transfer Station to reopen only if it came with community benefits - and that's what they got in the form of play equipment, art installments and exercise equipment.
Credit KUOW Photo/Paige Browning

The North Transfer Station cost the utility $108 million, about $30 million more than the South Transfer Station that opened a few years ago.

SPU expects the North Transfer Station to serve Seattle for more than 50 years.