New transfer stations relieve Seattle garbage crisis in 1966.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 4/02/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 3163
In 1966, the increasing pressure on Seattle's waste disposal operation is relieved by the design and construction of two transfer stations to which garbage is taken, and where it is compacted, before being transferred to landfills. The South Transfer Station (2nd Avenue S and S Kenyon Street) is dedicated on September 26, 1966. Plans for the North Transfer Station (Wallingford Avenue and N 34th Street) are approved in December 1966. At this time both Seattle and King County have been "plagued with promiscuous dumping" (Phelps). Garbage disposal discussion was heard everywhere.

In Seattle, the solution of incinerators had been rejected because they were too air polluting, but now there was a landfill crisis. Several Seattle landfills were nearing the end of their useful lives.

Seagull Gall

The University dump had been partially closed in 1964 in response to neighborhood protests. The dump served as dining room for thousands of seagulls. An effort to eradicate the seagulls by the use of a falconer with his trained falcon, Sylvia, was attempted, to wit:

"Standing on the perimeter of the dump area, the falconer released his falcon by removing her hood. Almost instantly, every seagull on the ground took to the air, but the cloud of seagulls did not leave the area. When the falcon returned to her master's wrist, the seagulls returned slowly to their feeding. No permanent effect was observable. End of test" (Phelps).

Mutual Aid

When the University dump was partially closed, refuse that had gone there now went to Interbay, which was filled to capacity and closed in 1967.

The landfill crisis was partially solved by cooperation between Seattle and King County. King County Commissioners made County landfills available to the city at the rate of $1.05 per ton of refuse.

Garbage collection now had three phases. First it was collected from the neighborhoods. Seattle Disposal Co. (formerly Puget Service Co.) has long been the major Seattle collector. Then the refuse was taken to the transfer stations, where it was compacted and then transported to city or county sanitary landfills.


Sources: Myra L. Phelps, Public Works in Seattle: A Narrative History: the Engineering Department, 1875-1975 (Seattle: Seattle Engineering Department, 1978), 210.

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