FUTURE PARK: Half a mile of Duwamish River shore to return to its roots

(WSB photos)

This half-mile-long Duwamish River shore site, where a groundbreaking ceremony was held today for a future park, won’t exist once the project is done.

This is T-117, a Port of Seattle=owned former industrial site in South Park (map) put on the Superfund toxic-cleanup list in 2003, and now destined for restoration to its roots as a tidal marsh. Since big ceremonial crowds are out of the question, a small group of Port and community representatives gathered for today’s event, which the Port streamed live.

It’s an “extraordinary project,” enthused Paulina López, executive director of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition.

DRCC has long been involved with this site (among others); this 2013 WSB story quoted one of her predecessors, describing early cleanup work at T-117. López spoke of the “hope” offered by the site’s transformation, both because it will open up more of the riverfront to a community with “limited public access,” and because the project also promises green job training, with opportunity for youth to learn how to work on habitat restoration and marine conservation.

Magdalena Angel-Cano, also with DRCC, embodies that opportunity – she joined the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps at age 13 and became a “first-generation college student.” She spoke of the need for a clear path for the community’s youth, so there can be more representation in the area’s industries, especially maritime.

The ceremony also included George Blomberg from the Port explaining what’ll happen at T-117.

The site’s elevation will be reduced to bring back the marsh; there’ll be an interpretive path, 8 viewpoints, a pier, and a hand-carry boat launch. Thousands of native plants will go into the ground. “This site has a memory,” observed Blomberg – a memory of its pre-industrial millennia – and that was affirmed by another speaker, Native storyteller/historian Roger Fernandes.

It’s a “powerful act” to see land like this returned to what it once was, Fernandes noted, before telling “The Changer Story.”

The changes here will take place over the next year and a half or so – more project details, and history, are here.

9 Replies to "FUTURE PARK: Half a mile of Duwamish River shore to return to its roots"

  • TM July 7, 2020 (7:46 pm)

    Great news for the Duwamish, and the wildlife that live and come through there. Like the hand carry boat launch too. Nice work!

  • very Nice July 7, 2020 (8:43 pm)

    Awesome! I hope this is just the beginning of improvements for that area.

  • Arbor Heights Neighbor July 7, 2020 (9:00 pm)

    Amazing and wondrous news!  Thank you for this comprehensive coverage, WSB!  Please keep the Duwamish news coming, along with how folks can get involved.

  • D July 8, 2020 (12:05 am)

    Glad to see some restoration done to the area!

  • Kendra Williams July 8, 2020 (7:30 am)

    We tend to think that things never get accomplished, but there is a lot of good networking going on to make Seattle area a  more livable space for all. I love this project because  it not only in enriches Seattle in general, but the lower income diverse  communities along the Duwamish as well. When everyone works diligently  together, it is amazing what can be accomplished. There’s a thought! 

  • BlairJ July 8, 2020 (8:33 am)

    Nice!  With the restoration done at the Boeing Plant 2 site, there will now be natural areas on both sides of the river at that point.

  • lowmanbeachdrive July 8, 2020 (9:31 am)


  • Riverview Neighbor July 8, 2020 (10:17 am)

    Wonderful news for the Duwamish valley!  Thanks DRCC and Roger Fernandez for all that you do and to the Port for supporting the Duwamish Tribe, DRCC, and movement towards a healthier watershed. 

  • T July 8, 2020 (4:32 pm)

    This is wonderful news!  

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