Seattle’s newest garbage transfer station is likely to be much more popular than your typical dump. The transfer station, which opened this week and replaces a former one on the same site in the Fremont-Wallingford area, is surrounded by a park with exercise equipment, a playground and public art, reports KUOW.
From the outside, the North Transfer Station looks more like a community center than a dump. Trash compacting happens below ground, so noise and smell barely leave the facility. Neighbors, through the Wallingford Community Council (WCC), were highly involved in designing the new station, telling the city they didn’t want it to reopen unless they were promised community benefits. Seattle Public Utilities signed a contract giving WCC approval over any changes to the project, in return for the promise that the group would not file lawsuits against the project.
“People are looking forward to it because you’ve got this nice walking area, you’ve got exercise areas, you’ve got the play field, the basketball court and all this sort of thing,” says Lee Raaen, who sits on the board of the Wallingford Community Council.
The LEED Gold-certified facility cost the city $108 million, and is expected to operate for the next 50 years. The new transfer station was also designed to better handle recycling and other reusable materials. It features two green roofs, permeable pavement and solar panels, and incorporates recycled materials into the building design. The public art flanking the facility was made from material recycled from the old transfer station.
Jen Kinney is a freelance writer and documentary photographer. Her work has also appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, High Country News online, and the Anchorage Press. She is currently a student of radio production at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. See her work at jakinney.com.