New information on The Big Cleanup – and how to be part of it


That’s the overgrown and undermaintained “Gateway to West Seattle,” along the Fauntleroy end of The Bridge. Just a month is left now till the September 13th event that pretty much needs to be the volunteer effort of the century to get this cleaned up — all the way from Walking on Logs to 35th/Fauntleroy — and all you have to do is commit two hours to be part of it – but organizers REALLY need to hear from you NOW. Here’s the latest from Nancy Driver, who’s not only coordinating volunteer help but also the massive preparation work that’s going into maximizing what those volunteers will be able to do that day (with free coffee! snacks! warm feeling of having accomplished something!) as well as soliciting sponsors for some of the costs the city doesn’t cover (like blackberry-munching goats!):

Stan Lock and I met this morning with the City of Seattle’s Clean & Green Interdepartmental team and did a reconnaissance of the cleanup area. The plan is that the City (SDOT) will be trimming up the bottoms of the trees so that Wa. Dept of Corrections can get in and clear out underbrush under the trees. The City will also be blocking off the lane of traffic adjacent to the clean up site for the 6 hours of the cleanup. Additionally, the City is providing three trucks to haul off green debris and bagged litter, as well as providing rakes and garbage bags.

The City is firmly behind the project and has made a substantial commitment to the project but it’s a huge area to clean up and they can’t provide all the resources to do everything that needs to be done to do a complete cleanup. The community needs to show its support, not only through volunteering the day of the project but by donating funding to get the additional needed work done. There’s probably a half acre or more of blackberries to contend with so we hope to raise money to get in a herd of goats for two to three days to clean out the blackberries. This will cost $825 per day. We are also hoping to raise money to have a tree company come in and finish trimming up the trees and take out any trees that need to be removed. There is substantial tree work that needs to be done and based on the estimates received, this will cost around $10,000 to $12,000. We hope that West Seattle merchants and companies developing properties in West Seattle will step forward to cover the costs for this work. Of course, we would welcome donations from individuals too.

Beyond the actual cleanup, we also need local groups and businesses to step up and “adopt” a portion of the gateway area. The City wants to know that once we get this area cleaned up, it will be maintained. Adopting a portion of the area would mean a commitment similar to one you’d have with the “Adopt a Street” program.

We need to pull together 200 or more volunteers for the cleanup day to donate 2 hours of their time. We will need groups of volunteers of 60 to 70 at two-hour intervals starting at 9 am. Volunteers will be asked to do some hand weeding, rake up green debris and pick up and bag litter. Tools and safety vests will be provided by the City, and gloves have been donated by the West Seattle Garden Tour Committee. Diva Espresso is providing coffee and we are talking to other merchants to chip in with some light snacks.

Some of the groups that have committed to pulling together teams of volunteers are: Mars Hill Church, Karen Lavalle/Windermere Realty, West Seattle Garden Tour, Democrats Work, and Harbor Properties.

Because this is such a big undertaking, we have to be well organized on the day of the cleanup to get everything done. This means we need to line up as many volunteers as possible prior to the cleanup (the earlier the better) so that we can have more or less equal numbers of volunteers showing up for the 9 am group, the 11 am group and the 1 pm group.

Anyone interested in volunteering, helping pull together volunteers, or helping with fundraising should contact me at

Thanks to all who have already volunteered.
Nancy Driver/Fairmount Community Association

18 Replies to "New information on The Big Cleanup - and how to be part of it"

  • Cindi Barker August 12, 2008 (10:58 pm)

    At the last Morgan Community Association meeting, we talked about forming a team to help on this day. We would want to know what the prize is if we can out-weed the goats. If you’re part of the Morgan Junction neighborhood and want to help on our team, contact me at or 933-6968.

  • bl@ster August 12, 2008 (11:37 pm)

    I’m in. Sounds like a great project. I would really love to see this area cleaned up and looking nice. Right now the “gateway to WS” looks like a dump.

    I’ll be there w/ my gardening gloves, ready to haul.

  • Aaron August 13, 2008 (8:24 am)

    Can we remove Yasuko’s as part of this effort?


  • Al August 13, 2008 (8:55 am)

    No, you cannot remove Yasuko’s. That would be a travesty in my household. :-)

  • Vanessa August 13, 2008 (9:21 am)

    Hey, not fair…Yasuko’s has great food, they just need some paint and a little landscaping.

  • Sharonn Meeks August 13, 2008 (9:37 am)

    This is an effort the all of our block watch captains could get behind! I challenge all block watch captains to put together a team for this long overdue project to improve our West Seattle entry. The beauty is that your don’t have to dedicate an entire day and the impact will be immediate.

  • WSB August 13, 2008 (9:54 am)

    I second the Yasuko’s support. We also like New Teriyaki and Wok among others, but Yasuko’s has some sleepers that you’d never guess from the humble exterior. P.S. Another benefit of participating in the cleanup, WSB will be covering it “live” like a blanket, so this may be your 15 pixels of fame. We can’t rent a chopper but maybe we’ll get a good view from the banner-ban overpass :) – TR

  • Rico August 13, 2008 (10:00 am)

    I don’t want to question good deeds, but in this case I will.

    Has anyone ever noticed how the city is essentially ignoring basic maintenance such as street repair, mowing grass at parks, and ignoring city owned landscape?

    Instead of putting efforts into subsidizing the city responsibilities with your own valuable time, I think people should spend efforts letting the city know it is not doing it’s basic job. As soon as people start compensating for the lack of city effort, the city effort will decrease even more.

    Have any of you been to a city that actually maintains it’s properties, including streetscape. It is real nice and is not asking too much.

  • rbj August 13, 2008 (10:05 am)

    what’s the point in cleaning it up? I like the way it looks, naturally overgrown. I don’t want it looking like a yuppie garden.

  • austin August 13, 2008 (11:18 am)

    It never ceases to amaze me what people will complain about.

    See you all in a month!

  • JimmyG August 13, 2008 (12:09 pm)

    I’m not complaining about how it looks because I like the overgrown look.

    You tart the entryway to WS and everyone will want to move here.

    Leave it wild I say!

  • bl@ster August 13, 2008 (3:47 pm)

    JimmyG: Give me a break. What a pathetic reason for keeping this looking so bad.

    I do think this area needs a whole lot more than 200 volunteers and weeds pulled. It needs a couple hundred thousand dollars to do it right. It needs trees planted in succession. It needs proper landscaping. It needs to be maintained by professionals on an ongoing basis. Basically, it needs a real plan and real money. It’s a shame that the entry to WS is such an underwhelming area. It’s embrassing.

  • Hope August 13, 2008 (4:26 pm)

    Anyone invite the Mayor?

  • Hormel August 13, 2008 (4:57 pm)

    Vivan las blackberries! Our bees got a lot of honey from those this year.

  • Leez August 13, 2008 (6:19 pm)

    Everyone’s going to be in shock at the amount of garbage hiding in all those bushes! I’m sure we’re going to find some of the lost banners from the pedestrian bridge too. Let’s get it cleaned up!!!

  • Nancy38 August 14, 2008 (5:12 pm)

    This is Fairmount Community Assoc. responding to some of your comments. The mayor will be on hand for this event. The point of this effort is to clean the area up and get it back to something like it looked when the original landscaping was done, just much more mature. It will not be yuppified. Just rid of blackberries and weeds, trims trimmed up, dead trees removed and tree that are crowding others will be removed so that the really beautiful trees there can shine – there’s no need to plant additional trees. We noted in the update about the project that we are looking for groups to adopt a portion of the area so that it will be maintained into the future. There will still be plenty of blackberries in W. Seattle in particular plenty to the north of the Walking on Logs which we are not cleaning up. We received a concerned email that the trees won’t be trimmed correctly. Since this is a public right-of-way, SDOT oversees all the work that will be done there and requires a certified arborists with all the appropriate licenses, certifications, etc. The tree company personnel that will do the work are highly skilled individuals who know what they are doing and will be working under SDOT’s supervision. There was also concern about what would happen to the wildlife (rats & racoons) living in there. I really can’t answer that other than to say that we are only cleaning up the portion of the right-of-way starting at the Walking on Logs and south to 35th. That will still leave a large area that’s covered in blackberries, vetch, etc. to accomodate whatever is living in there. Thanks for your interest and your comments. Nancy/Fairmount Community Association.

  • Nancy38 August 14, 2008 (5:16 pm)

    Fairmount Community Association again here. Forgot to add – A big thank you to the fabulous West Seattle Blog for helping promote this event. We are fortunate to have such a resource in our community. And thank you to all the wonderful people that emailed yesterday and today to sign up as volunteers.

  • bl@ster August 14, 2008 (11:40 pm)

    “won’t be Yuppified” meaning “it won’t look bad anymore, just less bad.”


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