No Seattle garbage in greenway: Kittitas residents
Kittitas County residents have fought off plans to put a processing plant for Seattle’s composting waste at one scenic, fire-vulnerable site: Now, they want the Seattle City Council to put off-limits a corridor along the Yakima River as the plant developer seeks an alternative site.
In correspondence with Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw, they have laid out maps showing where a processing plant should NOT go.
The state Department of Natural Resources has drawn up a statewide map with the tongue-twisting title: “Wildland Urban Interface Communities at Risk” which lays out fire dangers. The area along the Yakima River, between Cle Elum and Ellensburg, is colored dark red — denoting the designation of “extreme” fire danger.
The 23,000-acre Taylor Bridge fire, last summer, burned north of the Yakima River but jumped the river near Elk Heights — where the composting plant was originally supposed to go.
“What do you think about adding to the waste contract a clause which prohibits the siting of any composting facility facility in the Extreme Wildfire Hazard Zone? Simple, elegant and technically straightforward,” Carl Nelson, a local fire commissioner, said in an email to Bagshaw.
As it happens, the “extreme” fire danger zone roughly corresponds to boundaries of the Mountains-to-Sound Greenway along the Yakima River as it passes downstream, and the John Wayne Scenic Trail. The group Kittitas Clean has said it wants a garbage-free Greenway.
The Kittitas County Wildfire Prevention Plan has also put the label “extreme” to fire dangers along and on hills above the river. The area is dry and known for its winds on summer afternoons.
The Council voted on Monday to put off by a week approval of a contract with PacifiClean to take at least 60,000 tons of Seattle’s composting garbage each year.
Bagshaw made the motion. The council’s utilities committee, under its chair, Councilwoman Jean Godden, has seemed willing to send the city’s waste east of the mountains and to pass the buck to Kittitas County on conditions under which it will be processed. “No waste will be transported until properly vetted by Kittitas County,” Godden said on Monday.
But Bagshaw argued that Seattle should be part of that vetting, as the place that is generating the waste being sent across the Cascades.