Downtown Seattle businesses and landlords fund street cleaning efforts

ByShannon J. Cortes

Sep 2, 2022

Seattle businesses are cleaning up downtown one street at a time, on their own to jump-start the pandemic recovery.

SEATTLE — Seattle businesses and property owners are funding the cleaning of several downtown streets to help kick-start recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Metropolitan Improvement District (MID) adds 18 new cleaning carts to its fleet. Trikes should help clean team ambassadors solve problems faster.

The ambassadors clean up graffiti, waste of all kinds and hazardous materials. They often start cleaning early in the morning.

Over the past year, the team has cleaned up over 1.4 million gallons of trash. The tricycles were purchased as part of MID’s $15.5 million budget. “So each new trike costs about $2,500 to $3,000 per trike,” said Jennifer Casillas of the Metropolitan Improvement District.

All MID services are funded by businesses and landowners. Sandy Lew-Hailer has owned Sandylew in downtown Seattle for 14 years.

“For about three years, we called ourselves the destination for urination,” said Lew-Hailer, whose showcase is very different these days. “They wash it, including the sidewalk, it’s a miracle.”

The team fills a void in the city to make sure tourists and locals feel welcome.

“It’s like a garden, it has to feel like somebody likes it. The whole town has to feel like somebody likes it,” Lew-Hailer said.