After a decade of studies that cost millions of dollars, the time had come for the people living around Seattleâ€™s biggest toxic mess to tell the government what a cleanup should look like.
On a spring night in 2013, Spanish-speaking residents of south Seattle approached a microphone that sat beneath the basketball hoop at the South Park Community Center. One by one, they envisioned a new future for the Duwamish River and the neighborhoods it passes through. Today those neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown are home to some of King Countyâ€™s highest rates of hospitalization for childhood asthma. Locals regularly fish the river, despite government prohibitions due to high levels of toxic chemicals in seafood caught there.
Clean up as much as you can, the people said, overwhelmingly.