Also from Alki: No weekend trash pickup for another month

It seems to be an annual Alki occurrence – looking back a few years into our archives – the morning after the first major sunshine, the beach park has trash trouble. John sent the photo, taken this morning east of Alki Bathhouse, noted, “Obviously the trash wasn’t emptied during the day yesterday … the whole boardwalk area is disgusting!” We checked with Seattle Parks to find out about this year’s maintenance plan, given yet another round of city budget-belt-tightening. Spokesperson Dewey Potter says yes, John is right – trash wasn’t emptied on Sunday, because crews won’t be on the summer schedule for another month: “Our crew, because of budget reductions, is on a Monday through Friday schedule until the summer seasonals start work at the end of May. The crew should be finished cleaning up Alki Beach by now. Not all the cans were full, which means people were just discarding trash. Sad, on Earth Day weekend.”

TUESDAY MORNING: We received some new info from Parks – here – including, they’re adding cans.

52 Replies to "Also from Alki: No weekend trash pickup for another month"

  • CB April 23, 2012 (12:01 pm)

    I vote to get rid of the trash cans. Pack out your own trash.

  • ws_s April 23, 2012 (12:15 pm)

    This is so discouraging. I spent four hours yesterday picking up litter along Beach Drive and Constellation Park. The city’s trash cans were full there, as well. All the garbage outside the trash cans ends up in Puget Sound, completely defeating our efforts to protect our marine environment. Is there anything we can do — right now — to clean this up, before it ends up in the Sound???

  • CurlyQ April 23, 2012 (12:18 pm)

    So glad you covered this. It was a very sad and shocking sight on my morning walk–not just by the Bathouse but all along the seawall to Duwamish Head. If I’d had gloves and garbage bags with me I would have started cleaning it up myself–on Earth Day weekend, no less! In 16 years I’ve never seen it so bad. I also went into the Bathhouse restroom to use the facility and was saddened and disgusted by not just garbage strewn about and backed up toilets, but also graffiti with bright orange paint. They even tagged the Statue of Liberty! Unbelievable.

    • WSB April 23, 2012 (12:20 pm)

      We were going to head down in a bit and check on things. I hope someone has reported the tagging to the Parks Department – TR

  • Doris April 23, 2012 (12:22 pm)

    Yeah, pack out really works with the me-only attitude that the thousands of mental defectives that descend upon alki from points unknown bring to the beach with them every time we’re unfortunate to have a sunny day coincide with the weekend. There should be tollbooths on the west seattle bridge.

  • CurlyQ April 23, 2012 (12:24 pm)

    Good idea Tracy–do you have a phone number or link I can use to report?

  • carlton April 23, 2012 (12:29 pm)

    The crows,seagulls,coyotes,racoons are going to have a field day…woot!

  • sc April 23, 2012 (12:57 pm)

    Why can’t they put a few larger “bin type” garbage cans out on the weekend? It’s wrong to toss it on the ground but if the garbage cans held more maybe not as much would be on the ground.

  • datamuse April 23, 2012 (1:01 pm)

    CurlyQ, use this form: or if you’d rather call, there’s a phone number on that page.
    They’re pretty responsive. I reported some graffiti in Highland Park and it was gone within days.

  • JanS April 23, 2012 (1:02 pm)

    and I wish we all weren’t afraid to call our fellow humans on it when we see them littering, see them leaving trash on the ground. But we are afraid, because someone is bound to call us a “nanny”, or flip us off, or cuss us out, telling us it’s none of our business. But it is our business, it’s our world, too…sad that all of this happens..

  • MargL April 23, 2012 (1:02 pm)

    Ah, Humanity! It’s a pretty poor way to celebrate Earth Day, for sure, but not isolated to Alki. Down here in San Fran – despite the amazing recycling and composting programs – there’s the same problem. Very very sad.

  • W.S. maverick April 23, 2012 (1:03 pm)

    unbelievable, maybe they should spend more money on bike lanes. we need trash to be picked up on our beaches and parks

  • Nathan April 23, 2012 (1:05 pm)

    Even worse than the trash on the land is that it gets blown (or thrown) into the water! This is unacceptable. Surely there are funds somewhere that go towards bay/sound cleanup that would be more effectively used towards prevention.

  • quesera April 23, 2012 (1:10 pm)

    On my drive to work this morning, I saw this horrible mess and then a seal bobbing around in the water. It was so frustrating to see people destroying his home like that. If I were a cop, I’d be issuing littering tickets by the dozen. These jerks clearly don’t care if they destroy a park, endanger marine life, and leave their trash for someone else to clean up. But I bet they’d respond to fines and/or getting kicked off the beach.

  • Amrakx April 23, 2012 (1:17 pm)


  • Sybil April 23, 2012 (1:20 pm)

    I was down there Sunday morning pretty early and did see a truck with someone dealing with the garbage, right in that exact area in the photograph. Amazing that it accumulated that much just in one day. WOW.

  • AlkiAnne April 23, 2012 (1:22 pm)

    Why don’t they empty the trash a few times in the week and then all weekend instead when it is the most busy? I would think that a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday schedule would make better use of the time.

  • Westseattleperson April 23, 2012 (1:31 pm)

    They should switch to a wednesday through Sunday schedule then.

  • hmmm April 23, 2012 (1:34 pm)

    Totally unacceptable. Alki beach is suppose to be the crown jewel hangout for tourists and Seattle.
    Get with it

  • Dano April 23, 2012 (1:55 pm)

    Why do they schedule events like these 5 and 10 k races on the weekends without requiring trash pick ups be part of the event planning and application?….. That just seems like poor planning.

  • star 55 April 23, 2012 (2:07 pm)

    So explain to me why we cannot have the trash picked up on rotating days as spring approaches?Someone should be smart enough enough to change the schedule….

  • The Velvet Bulldog April 23, 2012 (2:36 pm)

    I have to work this evening, but how about a “Trash Pick-up Posse” to at least bag up the trash so it doesn’t get blown into the water?

  • CurlyQ April 23, 2012 (2:45 pm)

    Thanks for the link Tracy–I have reported the tagging in both the Bathhouse bathroom and on the Statue of Liberty. Great reporting system. Hopefully it will get cleaned up before next weekend.

  • Mark K April 23, 2012 (3:43 pm)

    When I rode to the water taxi this morning at about 7, every trash can I passed from about the bath house to the end of the beach/start of the seawall was filled to overflowing. Maybe Dewey’s talking about the couple of dumpsters when he said they weren’t full? From the volleyball pits to the where the seawall starts up again to the east the beach was better than west of the pits, and every overflowing set of cans had at least two more cans worth of trash stacked around them.
    Let’s be honest, accumulated trash like that is not only 1) unsightly and 2) a danger to animal, bird and sea life, but it’s also a public health issue. Perhaps Parks needs to find the money, or the flexibility in existing staff schedules to accommodate these events.

  • JN April 23, 2012 (4:00 pm)

    People really need to take responsibility for their own trash. If the provided cans are full, take it with you until you either get home, or you find a trash can with space. But for crying out loud, don’t just throw it on the ground. These people can’t even feign ignorance, since everybody knows not to litter.

  • Lemons anyone? April 23, 2012 (4:08 pm)

    Isn’t this a revenue opportunity for the city? Seriously, isn’t the fine for littering pretty steep? And why don’t we enforce it? Better yet, just a couple of bike patrol officers here and there might discourage blatant littering. Twice this week, I walked behind someone, who pitched trash over their shoulder. I see trash ending up in my flower garden on a daily basis. Do kids even get educated in school anymore? Where is Woodsy Owl these days? As a kid, I didn’t want to dissapoint the crying Native American guy standing by the dirty water – that WORKED! Litter stinks – let’s get these folks to pay for their crime and maybe they will think twice about doing it again. Or are we too polite to tell people that their litter hurts all of us?

  • dm April 23, 2012 (4:43 pm)

    I’m in total agreement with JN: Personal responsibility. If the cans are full, take it with you. Dispose of it at home.

  • sw April 23, 2012 (5:06 pm)

    Unfortunately, personal responsibility is not an attribute I’d assign to a majority of people at Alki on a nice weekend day.

  • dm April 23, 2012 (5:29 pm)

    @sw: I know, but I can dream. Careless disregard for garbage seems to happen every where in public spaces on happy sunny days. It’s ironic: people want to visit pleasing destinations on sunny days, and then they trash it. I know I’m writing to the choir…I don’t blame our garbage disposal utility, we never know when we’re really going to have nice weather. It just amazes me that people assume someone will pick up after them if they leave their crap on the sidewalk or beach.

  • resident April 23, 2012 (5:58 pm)

    Here is an idea. Put a roll of trash bags attached to each can in traffic areas. If the CAN is full, I know alot people wouldn’t mind starting a new bag. If that fills, tie it off, place it next to can. Start new bag.

  • datamuse April 23, 2012 (5:58 pm)

    If the city doesn’t have enough money to pay for weekend garbage collection, what on earth makes you all think it has enough money to pay for enforcement?

  • SadPanda April 23, 2012 (5:59 pm)

    All season long I’ll see trash left behind by people, dogs on the beach ect. Fact is there is no enforcement of the laws there so no one follows them. They don’t live there, they don’t care. Alki is Seattle litter box. How about someone out there ticketing people on busy days? A few weeks of that might help the situation.

    Overall it’s just pathetic.

  • SadPanda April 23, 2012 (6:26 pm)

    What would be the best number to call to report littering and dogs on the beach?

  • dawsonct April 23, 2012 (6:38 pm)

    We’ve been taught to think only of ourselves, no one is more important than us, and civic duty is only for commie socialists, for well over thirty years now. What should we expect?
    When I was a kid, Keep(ing) America Green was everyone’s responsibility, now the prevailing sentiment is “don’t spend any money on anything but war and tax breaks to the job exporters, I mean creators.”
    Trash in city streets? I don’t have to think about it once I’ve turned my back on it!
    The blatant disregard for OUR commons, the PEOPLES commons, is a direct result of Republican Corporatist policies.

    Own it “conservatives!” Be adult-like and take responsibility for the results of your actions.
    I know you won’t. Publicly. Hopefully, a shred of intellectual honesty remains amongst a few of you, and you can at least admit it to yourselves.

  • marty April 23, 2012 (6:57 pm)

    dawsonct: You make the word “pontificate” come to mind. Sheesh!!

  • DF April 23, 2012 (7:20 pm)

    Have any of you considered taking some action and actually going to the beach on these busy days with gloves, a bag and a trash grabber? These cans provided by parks department usually house numerous bags within them ,empty ones, on the bottom. Yeah there is an idea. Dumpsters aren’t there at least 4 or 6 along this stretch of Alki? Lots of finger pointing here little action being taken. Earth day? Give me a break. Practice these things constantly in little ways. My two cents.

  • dawsonct April 23, 2012 (7:25 pm)

    If you consider duty to others and your community to be the purview only of the pompous and affected, Marty, then you are part of the problem.

  • Steve April 23, 2012 (7:36 pm)

    dawsonct: Don’t try and make this a political argument. It’s not. There is no litter divide between conservatives and liberals, both do it equally well. And trying to steer it in that direction only unmasks your own bias that has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

    Good people need to stand up to litter-bugs and make them feel the shame of bad behavior(I know, most Americans have no shame for their bad behavior) As long as they are not challenged on it, they will continue to do it.

  • T April 23, 2012 (7:59 pm)

    Blame the conservatives for the litter on the beach at Alki!!! How silly.

    How about blaming the littering low-lifes – if you’re ‘intellectually honest’ it probably is not conservatives who are mostly doing it – this is Seattle after all.

  • West Seattleite April 23, 2012 (8:11 pm)


    I agree 100%. I have enjoyed your comments over the past couple of years and I see that you are getting as frustrated as I am. Do what I do. Think of getting aboard the North Coast Limited at King Street Station circa 1956-1970. You have a compartment and are going all the way to Chicago… oh, such a nice thought…sit in the Vista Dome…take in the view of Homestake Pass…the Yellowstone River, the Badlands of North Dakota…

    Now, think of George W Bush, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney…wake up….LOL…the train has reached the end of the line…

  • AIDM April 23, 2012 (9:00 pm)

    This is really just an example of broken government and people not doing their jobs very well. It is not really about budget constraints as there are plenty of days when the garbage is emptied when it is not full. Since the parks department is a branch of the executive office, West Seattle residents should write to the Mayor and the director of the parks department and ask them to ensure that garbages are emptied on Thursday through Monday at Alki rather than Monday through Friday. I believe this would eliminate most of the problem at hand.

    Please join me in requesting the Mayor’s attention by calling (206) 684-4000 or writing to him here Please also call the superintendent of the parks department (206) 684-8022 or write to him

  • Neighbor April 23, 2012 (9:24 pm)

    Preach it Dawomct!

    Here, here!

  • Alki April 23, 2012 (10:31 pm)

    @ AIDM Now that sounds like a good idea.

  • Barb April 24, 2012 (12:42 am)

    I was down on Alki on both Saturday and Sunday. The garbage cans were overflowing from the West of the bath house to the water taxi. People were trying to put their trash in or at least near the cans. I think larger cans/bins or adding lots more cans is a great idea. Of course some of it spread out by morning from wind and critters. But the city needs to find a better way to take care of this issue before the end of May. Doesn’t it cost more to send a special crew out to deal with it, picking up all the scattered trash, than to make the extra pick-ups before the cans are overflowing?

  • M54 April 24, 2012 (6:01 am)

    If I see someone drop litter in front of me I scurry over quickly and pick it up and hand it to them sweetly saying, “Oh dear! I think you dropped something.” I smile at them like the kind old lady I am and no one has ever been rude to me. I think it gets my message across without threatening them. Hopefully they will think the next time.

  • Brandon April 24, 2012 (6:40 am)

    Nice call AIDM, I think everyone should do it.

  • Craig April 24, 2012 (7:22 am)

    Im new to the neighborhood, but was shocked to see all the garbage. I saw a local resident out there picking up garbage. Whoever you are, THANK YOU. I will join you next time.

    • WSB April 24, 2012 (8:30 am)

      For those still checking in on this discussion, just got some new information from Parks. Dewey says she has learned there WERE some workers on duty over the weekend but: “they can empty only the “normal” size cans like the ones that appeared in your photo.” The crew that empties the “large in-ground cans into the truck” had a problem – the cable that lifts those cans broke “so it was not functioning this past weekend. They now have a loaner.” And she says they will have enough seasonal workers on duty to, hopefully, make “for adequate Mother’s Day weekend (May 12-13) coverage. Seasonal workers can only work a certain number of hours in a year, so we have to spread their hours out carefully over the warm months.” Last but by no means least, “The crew is also putting a few more cans out on Alki Beach.” – TR

  • brin April 24, 2012 (9:06 am)

    It’s not that Parks Department employees like seeing trash on Alki, or anywhere for that matter. The workers I see are always kickin butt as far as I can tell. On the one hand, people complain about lazy government employees with knock jobs – which is mostly BS – and hope that firing them will make everything OK. On the other hand, many people complain when service isn’t five star concierge quality for their particular needs. Almost all government agencies these days are understaffed, overworked and barely surviving on strangulation budgets. So give em a break. And no, I’m not a government employee. It doesn’t pay well enough.

    And come on, if you’re going let temporarily overflowing trash cans ruin your Sunday at the beach, you’re missing the point. It’s also Seattle and so even our trash is clean. I rather enjoy seeing what people bring, from literally all over, for their Sunday picnics. No doubt Garbologists, the professional dung beetles of society, love this kind of thing as well.

  • WSratsinacage April 24, 2012 (10:08 am)

    Hi dawsonct, I don’t think this is a conservative issue. I’m a conservative and I pick up trash that is not mine.
    Another reason this can’t be a conservative issue is that conservatives are WAY out numbered in West Seattle and Western Washington and trash is a real problem so if any political party is not picking up trash, it has to be put on the democrats/liberals.
    I agree it should be everyone’s responsibility to keep America green.
    Anyway, not trying to start anything but mainly wanted to put it out there that I agree with your point about how everyone needs to chip in. It does seem like it was everyones business 30 years ago. The commercial with the Native American looking at trash, with a tear running down his cheek, comes to mind.

  • boy April 24, 2012 (10:46 am)

    City hall is all knowing and all seeing. So for us peons to think of somthing smart to fix trash pick up will fall on deaf ears because they didn’t think of it first. The schedule change is a great idea. The only problem is you thought of it frist and the city won’t admit that we the people sometimes have good solutions.

  • miws April 24, 2012 (11:11 am)

    The commercial with the Native American looking at trash, with a tear running down his cheek, comes to mind.

    Yep, rats, does for me too. :-(



Sorry, comment time is over.