Neighbors launch ‘West Seattle Raingardens’ website as county starts block-by-block bioswale meetings

This weekend, King County Wastewater Treatment Division will send staffers to Sunrise Heights and Westwood for 29 separate block meetings over the course of two days to discuss details of the plan for “green stormwater infrastructure” to reduce combined-sewer overflows (CSO) downhill – officially known as the Barton CSO Control Project. The schedule and locations are shown here, on a flyer distributed to residents recently to get the word out about the meetings, and listed in this news release. The county says the bioswale project will divert enough rainwater out of the combined-sewer system to reduce the number of overflows into Puget Sound from the Barton Pump Station in Fauntleroy – a reduction required by the state and federal governments.

Meantime, one group of skeptical Sunrise Heights neighbors has launched a website to spotlight their questions and concerns about how the bioswales will affect their neighborhood. We reported their story in March (our report details their concerns about the bioswales); last month, they met with county staffers downtown, at which time they were told these block meetings were in the works. Their new website is Its front page exhorts neighbors, “If you have questions or concerns about the Barton CSO project, please don’t remain silent. Silence implies acceptance. Please attend the Open Houses, ask the hard questions and carefully note how your questions are answered – or not.” The site includes a “Take Action” page which links to an online petition asking King County Executive Dow Constantine to stop the project, currently scheduled to start construction next year.

6 Replies to "Neighbors launch 'West Seattle Raingardens' website as county starts block-by-block bioswale meetings"

  • 30th street neighbor June 23, 2012 (11:13 am)

    I was upset I could not make it this morning. I hope that an update will be posted about the meeting.
    My biggest concern comes down to maintenance. New swales were installed on the site of the remodeled Denny/Sealth. They function well, but in many places have become overgrown with weeds as the slower growing natives cannot keep up with the opportunists plants. Will the county be out weeding my strip? I think not. Will they be weeding my lawn from the increase in seed dispersal? I’m not delusional.
    This is just another example of government ideas that get a head of steam and can’t be stopped no matter the opposition or data to the contrary.

  • Velo_nut June 23, 2012 (2:07 pm)

    Worst idea EVER.

  • rockergirl5678 June 23, 2012 (3:04 pm)

    Meetings are happening tomorrow too 30th street neighbor – not on your block but you can go to any of them and talk to the representatives I believe. Maintenance was discussed and we were assured a schedule would be established and they would be maintained. I prefer to take a positive approach to the project and look forward to the positive impact it will have on our neighborhoods. While I understand the concerns I think we have to “wait and see” how things turn out and work with the project team to address issues if there are any. They have been very good about addressing any questions or issues I raised with them. They assured the neighborhood that they are doing there due diligence in trying to make as many neighbors happy as possible but it’s not always viable to do that. We will all be impacted in one way or another but I do not consider it the worst idea ever. Not sure why others do though, maybe you can expand on your comment and enlighten us?

  • west seattle guy June 24, 2012 (1:19 pm)

    Worst idea ever – you under estimate them. And from responses I heard yesterday, the maintenance will involve people who won’t recognize a groundcover from a weed! Meetings are still going on today – if you were not able to attend yesterday. The block meetings are for all concerned residents. Ask questions that address the entire project area that the bioswales will affect – including the human element. Get beyond the ” oh a free planting for my planting strip”; the plants have been paid for by all the tax/rate payers as have the salaries of those presenting the design. In a society driven by capitalism & politics we should be questioning whether a product or service is addressing the concerns of a larger community; now & in the future. As tax & rate payers we have the responsibility & certainly the right to question what is being presented to us. As members of a larger community, we need to go beyond the “my bioswale and my street” to the larger community that is being affected by this design. They say that the project is only at the 30% design phase; so much should change if we are doing our own research and voicing our concerns and ideas for CSO solutions. They are the designers and we are the clients – tell them what you want, it’s important to the process.

  • Lee Ellis June 25, 2012 (9:45 am)

    Rckergirl5678 has a good sugggestion. The city needs to hear specific concerns ( as with the 30th Street Neighbor observation re: Denny/Sealth.), to better develop specific solutions.
    I attended rain garden installation training, offed by the city. An instructor addressed questions about the earlier raingarden issues in Ballard by explaining that this new idea is undergoing constant improvement. Cities across the country learn from each other. Our blessing/curse is that Seattle is looked upon as a leader in use of rain gardens to prevent CSO. They have to try new approaches, as CSO fines are costly.

    • WSB June 25, 2012 (9:51 am)

      There’ll also be raingarden discussions – though NOT related to this project – at this week’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting, for those interested, 7 pm Wednesday at Highland Park Improvement Club, 12th/Holden. – TR

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