Early Action on Superfund Cleanup

Veda initiates and maintains inclusive communication with the residents and businesses in the South Park neighborhood in Seattle who are impacted by several years of Duwamish River cleanup construction.

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Project

Lower Duwamish River Superfund Cleanup

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client

Seattle City Light and Port of Seattle

Situation

The history of industrial activity along the Lower Duwamish River Port stems back to early 1990, when asphalt companies and electric transformers operated along the river shoreline. For the small neighborhood of South Park in South Seattle, this heritage of commercial activity left behind a legacy of PCBs and other contaminants that worked their way into residential yards, streets and commercial and community properties nearby. In the early 2010’s, the City of Seattle and Port of Seattle began the process of removing contaminants from the area around Terminal 117 in South Park. Veda was hired by the Port of Seattle and Seattle City Light to design and execute an outreach strategy to help residents and businesses in South Park understand what was going on during the cleanup construction.

Design

With many phases of the project including trucks coming and going, soil removal, repaving streets and sidewalks, the outreach plan needed to include communication regarding contaminants and risks, plus guidance on the impact of construction activities on their day-to-day lives. Small businesses and residents in the South Park neighborhood experienced over 3 years of construction.

Action

Veda staff worked closely with the construction crew, Port and City staff to understand the complexity of the project and design appropriate outreach messages. These messages were conveyed to the pubic via listserv announcements, fliers, mailers and presentations at regular open house community events. Veda also met one-on-one with locals, and helped solve concerns and issues raised regarding the construction activities. The work involved hiring translators to make sure that non-English speaking members of the community were reached.

Outcome

With Veda’s thorough, thoughtful and consistent outreach the public felt engaged and heard regarding the impacts of construction on their lives and businesses. Their voice was heard and they were part of the solutions. City and Port staffs were able to keep the project moving on schedule without disruptions due to public complaints. The City and Port received positive feedback from the public on the outcome of the cleanup.

Impact

This project is part of the early cleanup efforts along the Lower Duwamish. EPA plans to clean up a 5-mile stretch during the next 10 years (confirm). Veda’s successful engagement of the public will help EPA and its partners garner public support for future phases of cleanup along the river.

CLIENT SHOUT OUT:

Seattle City Light

Our industrial legacy has sadly left tarnished marks on our city. Seattle City Light recently went above and beyond to help restore the neighborhood of South Park by adding new green spaces, trees, rain gardens and plantings as part of the Terminal 117 Cleanup. We’re impressed with how much the city cares for its neighborhood communities, and in turn how residents and businesses appreciate the improvements to the places they live and work. Take a look and see for yourself!

Veda has done an excellent job at engaging the community and providing timely information in a friendly and helpful manner. They are a pleasure to work with because of their responsiveness and ability to clearly relate information in a helpful and friendly manner. I highly recommend them.

- Allison Crowley, SCL Strategic Advisor, Terminal 117 Streets and Stormwater Project