If you’ve driven the westbound Fauntleroy Way end of The Bridge in daylight since Saturday, you’ve probably noticed the difference more than 200 people made with long hours of work under the blazing sun that day: Months in the making, the West Seattle Gateway Cleanup cleared tons of overgrowth, trash, and other materials from the stretch between Walking on Logs and 35th/Fauntleroy, which is where, at one point, we passed this solo worker:
No doubt, getting out there and slogging through the mess last Saturday was a chore. So was organizing the whole thing – with a lot of hard work done by the woman whose name you saw on updates posted here in the weeks and months leading up to it:
Nancy Driver took the podium for a moment before the cleanup started on Saturday morning, just for final logistics and marching orders. After it was all said, done, bagged, picked up, cleared away, hours later, we asked her to put together a final wrapup when she had a chance. And we wanted to share that with you tonight, interspersed with more photos:
WSB asked for a wrapup of the Gateway Cleanup, so here it is. This will be a bit long because there are lots of people, organizations and businesses to thank but it’s important for the community to know who they all are.
First – thank you to Stan Lock, our Southwest District Dept. of Neighborhoods representative. Without Stan, we would never have been able to pull together the City resources needed to make the cleanup happen.
(that’s Stan with Sharonn Meeks, left, and city rep Kimberlee Archie, pre-cleanup)
Next, thank you to the West Seattle Blog, without which we would have turned out far fewer volunteers – WSB was an invaluable partner in the project. Thanks to Mars Hill Church for joining us as a sponsor in the project and turning out around 80 volunteers. Amy Huey with Mars Hill did a great job of coordinating their volunteers and creating signage for the event. Thanks to Fairmount Community Association president Sharonn Meeks for letting me drag her and the association into this project and for all her assistance. Thanks to Catherine Barker who worked to raise funds for the tree work and recruit volunteers. Thanks to Dixie Dokken, who worked tirelessly to raise funds bringing in almost 2/3rds of what we raised, not to mention the six pans of brownies she baked for the volunteers (Thanks, Dixie!).
(among the folks in that photo – Amy top left, Dixie front row left, and Earl Cruzen in the hat – as we reported Saturday, he was honored with a city proclamation)
The following merchants graciously contributed to refreshments for volunteers and we thank them: Diva Espresso, Zatz a Better Bagel, W.S. Thriftway, Krispy Kreme and Safeway. Thank you to Harbor Properties for providing beverages.
Thanks to West Seattle Garden Tour Committee for the 250 pairs of gloves they contributed for the volunteers; and to Karen Lavallee and Windermere for the use of their A-boards for the day.
Thanks to BlueStar Management for the use of their parking lot (former Huling Buick) as a staging area for the event.
The following businesses and individuals generously donated to the tree fund and we are very grateful: Harbor Properties and Excel Pacific, Ken & Donna Olsen with Ivy Court Apartments, Dr. Jeffrey Bond with Smiles by Bond, Scott Lybeck with Courtesy Tire, Peter Richards with Next Pages LLC, Menashe & Sons Jewelers, Mike Ng with Westside Pharmacy, Yarmuth Wilsdon & Calfo, Diane Kennedy with Curves, Jim Sansburn with John L. Scott Realty, Wiseman’s Appliance, Dr. Robin Mers, Doris Jennings, Linda Walsh – Clementine, Deanne Sposari, Dixie Dokken, Margaret Miaullis and Wanda Pommer.
We had a terrific turnout of volunteers for the event – 180 signed in and quite a few additional people showed up without signing in.
We had a great crew from Seattle DOT led by Darren Morgan; Ron Harris-White, head of the City’s Clean & Green Team,was on site all day helping to keep things on track; Jim Thorburn, with the Washington Department of Corrections, brought his crew out yet again to put in another full day of work at the site. (Jim and his crew deserve a big thank you for clearing all the blackberries prior to the clean up – a huge task.)
The mayor paid us a visit, chatting up the volunteers and handing out reusable grocery bags – we hope he was suitably impressed with the work that was done and now has an appreciation for the importance to the community for keeping this site looking good.
Work got under way around 10:00 am and by around 2:00 p.m. approximately 28 truck loads of green debris had already been hauled away thanks to all the hard work by the volunteers. A substantial amount of litter was removed from the site, including a variety of car parts (some ambitious metal sculptor could have created a fun sculpture with variety of metal parts that turned up).
It was a surprise to many of the volunteers to find that a sidewalk was hidden under all the weeds and dirt. Long lost rhodies and azaleas were revealed – one volunteer vowed she was adopting one of the rhodies and is determined to restore it to health.
We hope the entire community and particularly all the volunteers are really pleased with the results. It’s amazing to be able to really see some of the trees and shrubs that were mostly hidden by blackberries and other undergrowth. A number of volunteers left excited about the possibilities of doing additional clean up and restoring some of the plantings.
We will continue to update you on what’s happening with the tree work (donations are still welcome – we will continue to do some fundraising) as well as keep you posted on efforts to maintain the site – we are lining up groups and businesses to adopt sections to maintain. If you or a group you belong to might be interested in making this commitment, please get in touch with me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Stan Lock at Dept. of Neighborhoods (email@example.com).
Thank you again to all the wonderful people who showed up Saturday to help out. It was a pleasure to get the chance to meet some of you.