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Environmental Justice and the Duwamish River. Jonathan Betz-Zall Highline Community College Library April, 2009. Duwamish River. Warning!. Wildlife still here. Pioneer Days. Duwamish not always an industrial sewer.

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environmental justice and the duwamish river

Environmental Justice and the Duwamish River

Jonathan Betz-Zall

Highline Community College Library

April, 2009

pioneer days
Pioneer Days

Duwamish not always an industrial sewer.

FirstEuropean Americans conformed to the meandering shape of the river.

duwamish in 1909
Duwamish in 1909

All rivers tend to meander.


pioneers divide the land and water
Pioneers Divide the Land and Water

Contrast the curved shapes of nature with the square corners of the land claims.

early industrial plans
Early Industrial Plans

an ideal spot for industrial uses

Water for



Waste Disposal

All made easier by “straightening” the river

dredging the river
Dredging the River

Steam dredge at work


now the duwamish waterway
Now – The “Duwamish Waterway”

Current schematic map—no curves.


farmland first
Farmland first

First European-American land use-- farming.

[Image of Marra Farm, in South Park]


native american workers
Native American workers

Before they were forced onto reservations, Native Americans used to come and work for European American farmers.


pushed out by industry
Pushed out by Industry

First Boeing Plant in Georgetown

cement plant
Cement Plant

“Duwamish River Industry 2007”

[painting by Robert Connell]


still polluting
Still polluting!

From a Seattle Times story on the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance


resulting mess
Resulting Mess!

Toxic (poisonous)

Hazardous (corrosive/burning)

Carcinogenic (causing cancer)

environmental injustice in seattle
Environmental Injustice in Seattle

Red dots: Toxic Waste Sites

Green Dots: Hazardous Waste Sites

Blue Dots: Superfund Sites

Light areas: low income

Red outlines: People of Color

community resistance
Community Resistance
  • 1962—Housewives marched on City Hall to protest burning at South Park Dump.
  • Mid 1960s-- South Park was rezoned as industrial. 4200 residents staged a protest at City Hall and got half of the zoning changed to low-density residential.
  • Late 1970s—South End Seattle Community Organization protests plans to demolish Lucille Street Bridge. The city replaced it instead.
  • 1993—Concerned about truck traffic, the South Park Business and Citizens Group protests plans to expand recycling center.
  • 1999-2003—Community Coalition for Environmental Justice campaigns against Long Painting Company pollution.
long painting
Long Painting

2001—Community Coalition for Environmental Justice campaign against a polluting facility


failed cleanup effort
Failed Cleanup Effort

Toxic mud got spread out instead of being removed.


Direct remediation

cultural connection
Cultural Connection

Duwamish Tribal dancers

planning for the future
Planning for the Future

Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition leads a community visioning session.