The Voice for Industry
December 22, 2009
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Markey Machinery - Honest to Goodness Greenies

If you had told Bob LeCoque of Markey Machinery that he was about to embark on a - cutting edge - best practices - green solution when he applied for a paving permit with the City of Seattle in 2005 we bet he would not have believed you. Looking back from his vantage point at the end of 2009, that's just what he's done.

The drainage on 8th S, along the Duwamish River in Georgetown was non-existent. That is to say, without sidewalks and street drainage the water collects in every valley that heavy trucks have a tendency to create. And there are a lot of heavy trucks on 8th! For 70 years, the Markey manufacturing facility has been adjacent to a 57' wide swatch of unpaved City owned property that carried trolley tracks until 1937. The swatch has to be traversed in order to access their yard. LeCoque figured they'd breakdown and foot the bill to pave the City's swatch in front of their facility themselves, and applied for a permit to do just that.

Oops! Now the City knew what was on his mind. You'd be amazed at how many departments have something to do with street drainage, especially when there isn't any! You'd also be amazed at what strange bedfellows drainage makes.

The Georgetown Community Council and the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition had also been working to make a family friendly path from the residential area to a small, mostly neglected park along the Duwamish River. You guessed it, that "friendly path" is along 8th S. Up to this point, they had been working along 8th S, clearing the sidewalk which existed (sort of) along the opposite side. The lack of street drainage also plagued their pathway so the two sides of the street saw an opportunity to work together where the interest in managing the rain runoff worked for both the business and the community. A partnership was formed.

Did we mention how close Markey is to the River? Everyone knows what kind of trouble run-off into the Duwamish creates these days. The Georgetown Group engaged graduate students and landscape engineers to find a natural "bio-swale" solution to rain water retention rather then the traditional "put it in a pipe and run it to the sewer" solution. Markey kept working through the City permit system, soliciting support from a number of City Departments Transportation, Public Utilities and Economic Development asking each if there was a way for the bio-swale concept to be applied to an industrial setting so close to a Superfund targeted river.

You know, there really is a first time for everything. The City found a way to match their drainage regulations with the 8th S proposed solution, used some Neighborhood Street Funds with community volunteers and on December 5, 2009 the Markey Machinery "natural drainage swales" were completed. Industry, residents and environmentalists found a way to work together. LeCoque will even tell you that with the same goals in mind, it wasn't even painful. By the way, his new facility looks very sharp, go by and take a look!

The Georgetown side of the river isn't the only area with serious drainage problems. Now that the ground's been broken, so to speak, the natural drainage swales can be successfully installed in other industrial areas in the City much quicker this time. Give us a call. We'll put you in touch with the right folks. We speak Greenie too!

Changes in Bus Fares Coming Jan. 1

Beginning with the New Year, Metro riders will see a 25-cent increase in adult and senior fares. Customers are also reminded that starting Jan. 1 the use of paper transfers between Metro and other bus and rail systems will be eliminated. Instead, transfers will be made electronically using ORCA cards.

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