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Cleaning Up Schuster Slope

The City of Tacoma and Metro Parks have begun to discuss what to do about the Schuster Slope, and how to best manage it for both positive environmental impacts and public access. The Schuster Slope is 16-acres of open space above Schuster Parkway, running from the I-705 off-ramp to the south, north to Division and west up the hill to the Schuster Parkway.

As a first concrete step in its makeover, the City is looking for bids on a contact to clean up the slope. Cleanup crews will need to tear down and remove transient camps, clean up the associated waste. Crews will also need to remove and dispose of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Included in that, according to bid documents, may be bio-waste, syringes, and other potentially hazardous materials dumped on the City-owned land. Those other may include, but are not limited to household debris, bio-hazards, regulated and hazardous materials, human waste, bodily fluids, syringes, petroleum based containers of gasoline, diesel fuel, and pressurized containers of propane, chemicals, contaminated soil and used batteries. Hazardous materials may be scattered, containerized or stockpiled, according to the documents. 

The City is looking to get the work done promptly, with the bid closing this Friday, and a stipulation that the winning contractor be ready to start work within 14 days. The City estimates the cleanup to take between 40 and 80 hours for a two man crew.

The cleanup work isn't going to be pretty, but the slope should be much better looking when it's done. And once it is complete, the City and Metro Parks can look to the next steps of returning the slope to a safe, useful, productive space. The slope is important for environmental purposes, including stormwater management, water quality, and wildlife habitat. It could also play a key role in the eventual connection of downtown Tacoma with Point Defiance for non-motorized traffic. Having it cleaned up will be a nice first step.

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I’m all for cleaning up Schuster Slope and making better use of the area for recreation (including a high quality Downtown to Defiance path), but shouldn’t the plan for the area be on its way toward implementation before it’s cleaned up?  As is, it seems likely it will get cleaned up and then messed up again, while the City takes a while (Months?  Years?) to devise and fund a plan.  Will anything be in place to prevent that?

September 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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