Tag Archives: Seattle Public Utilities

City Finally Funds Street Sinks Six Months After Funding From City Council

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article was previously published at PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


Six months after the City Council allocated $100,000 to “develop and implement a publicly accessible sink program that utilizes the Street Sink style handwashing station model developed by the Clean Hands Collective,” Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has finally chosen two vendors to receive the money.

Slightly more than half, $60,000, will go to the Clean Hands Collective, an organization founded by Real Change that includes landscape architects and public health experts; the rest, $40,000, will go to Seattle Makers, a South Lake Union “makerspace” that designed a prototype “handwashing station” at an estimated cost of $7,250 per unit — about 10 times the price of Clean Hands’ Street Sink. According to Seattle Makers’ website, the City reached out to them to design the sink.

Tiffani McCoy, the advocacy director at Real Change, said she thinks “we can easily put up 45 sinks for the $60,000,” assuming it will cost about $10,000 to roll out the program — a process that will include building and maintaining the sinks as well as finding new locations for many of them.

Continue reading City Finally Funds Street Sinks Six Months After Funding From City Council

‘Rain Gardens’ Turn Backyards Into Water Treatment Facilities, Benefiting Marine Life

by  Ben Adlin


Seattle’s frequent rainfall is responsible for much of the region’s natural beauty, from old-growth forests to the creeks and rivers that flow into Puget Sound and the Salish Sea. But rain can also be catastrophic to area ecosystems. When precipitation falls on roofs, roads, and other hard surfaces, it sweeps pollutants like heavy metals directly into local waterways, disrupting marine environments and devastating wildlife.

Continue reading ‘Rain Gardens’ Turn Backyards Into Water Treatment Facilities, Benefiting Marine Life

Shape Our Water: Magdalena ‘Maggie’ Angel-Cano

by Ben Adlin


Shape Our Water is a community-centered project from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and KVRU 105.7 FM, a hyperlocal low power FM station in South Seattle, to plan the next 50 years of Seattle’s drainage and wastewater systems. Funded by SPU, the project spotlights members of local community-based organizations and asks them to share how water shapes their lives. Our latest conversation is with Maggie Angel-Cano, community engagement and communications specialist for the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. 

Growing up in South Park, Maggie Angel-Cano spent years without realizing Seattle’s only river ran through her neighborhood. 

“We had no idea there was a river in the community,” she said. “We just, you know, lived our daily life: work, school, back home.”

Continue reading Shape Our Water: Magdalena ‘Maggie’ Angel-Cano

Volunteer Group That Removes Trash From Homeless Encampments Draws Criticism

by Ashley Archibald


Mutual aid practitioners who have long worked with homeless individuals have called on the Seattle City Council to disavow We Heart Seattle (WHS), a volunteer group that removes trash from homeless encampments across the city. WHS’s critics insist the group has illegally removed belongings, focused more on cleaning up sites rather than the welfare of unsheltered residents, and used inappropriate tactics to remove people experiencing homelessness from public spaces. 

Continue reading Volunteer Group That Removes Trash From Homeless Encampments Draws Criticism

Shape Our Water: Shelagh Brown, Reconnecting Communities With Nature

by Ben Adlin


Shape Our Water is a community-centered project from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and KVRU 105.7 FM, a hyperlocal low power FM station in South Seattle, to plan the next 50 years of Seattle’s drainage and wastewater systems. Funded by SPU, the project spotlights members of local community-based organizations and asks them to share how water shapes their lives. Our latest conversation is with Shelagh Brown, a member of the Alphabet Alliance of Color. 

Shelagh Brown won’t reveal her secret hideaway. All she’ll say is it’s a nearby lake with a lone public entrance, where the water is clean and powerboats are forbidden — a little slice of paradise. She’d like to keep it that way.

Continue reading Shape Our Water: Shelagh Brown, Reconnecting Communities With Nature

Strong Windstorm Knocks Out Power to 74,000 in and Around Seattle, South End Especially Hard Hit

by Andrew Engelson


After a strong windstorm hit Washington state with winds of up to 70 miles per hour in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 13, more than 500,000 people in Western Washington lost power and could be without electricity into the rest of today. Numerous areas in South Seattle were still without power by midday Wednesday with outages hitting the Central District, Rainier Valley, Skyway, Georgetown, Beacon Hill, as well as Highline, Burien, and other areas of South King County.

Continue reading Strong Windstorm Knocks Out Power to 74,000 in and Around Seattle, South End Especially Hard Hit

WEEKLY NEWS GLEAMS: Longest Night Solstice Ceremony, New Year/New Activities, & More

A weekly round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Emerald Staff


Longest Night: Solstice Ceremony 2020

Mon., Dec. 21 — 7–11:59 p.m. (6:30 doors)

From the hosts: This Winter Solstice, Northwest Film Forum, Holocene (Portland), REDEFINE magazine, Pink Noise (PDX), Crash Symbols Records & Seattle Documentary Association join forces to present five virtual rooms filled with music, movement, films, and meditation.

Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS GLEAMS: Longest Night Solstice Ceremony, New Year/New Activities, & More

Even with Changes, South Seattle is Ground Zero for Utility Shutoffs

by Erica C. Barnett

Earlier this year, the West Seattle Helpline, which provides financial assistance to people who need help paying their utility bills, learned about a troubling change the city’s two utilities, Seattle City Light (City Light) and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), were making as part of their transition to a new joint billing and customer contact system. Continue reading Even with Changes, South Seattle is Ground Zero for Utility Shutoffs