Clean City Initiative

The Clean City Initiative is a program that invests $3 million into new and existing programs to clean up litter and garbage across the city. The Clean City Initiative pulls together and expands efforts from Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Office of Economic Development, and Seattle Department of Transportation to address the backlog in maintenance. The Clean City Initiative includes: 

  • Additional SPU Litter Routes: Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will add 10 new litter routes to the existing 8 Community Litter routes to more than double efforts to collect litter and illegally dumped trash throughout the city. Each 50-block face route is serviced twice a week. (Litter route map)
  • Weekly Park & Neighborhood Focuses: In addition to regular maintenance, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR), SPU, Office of Economic Development (OED) and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will focus weekly on extensively cleaning specific parks, neighborhoods, and surrounding streets through street cleaning, pressure washing, grounds maintenance, stairway cleaning, graffiti cleaning, and trash, debris and needle collection.
  • Increased trash pick-up from encampments and RVs: In service of people living unhoused, SPR, SDOT and SPU will collect trash from encampments across the city through an expanded Purple Bag program and through on-site garbage collection.
  • Additional needle collection efforts: SPU will add 10 new needle boxes throughout the city, and the efforts above will all include needle collection from streets and park spaces. 

Monthly Snapshot: August 2021

548,955 lbs. of trash removed

548,955 pounds of trash removed from 19 litter routes (18 serviced 2x/week), 6 RV location cleanups, 278 encampment trash pickup locations, 6 park focus cleanups, and 91 city blocks cleared of trash.

56,555 needles removed

During trash and encampment cleanings for this time period, 56,555 discarded needles were collected.

590 bags of trash

Collected from encampments through the Purple Bag program

6 park focus cleanups

Bell Street, Colman, Kinnear, Pritchard Beach, Lincoln, and Golden Gardens parks got extra maintenance this month.

35 surfaces graffiti cleaned

Graffiti was eradicated from 35 surfaces in August.


From Our Neighbors

"We have been extremely pleased with the response and support that Lake City has benefitted from through the Clean City Initiative. Residents and businesses have noted that our business district corridor, traditionally problematic areas in the Little Brook area and other pockets of the neighborhood have vastly improved. The program has been well coordinated, adaptive, and very responsive. Thank you to the Office of Economic Development, Seattle Public Utilities and all departments and staff involved in this effort."

~ Chris Leverson, Project Manager, Build Lake City Together   

"Like in most areas, this past year has seen unprecedented levels of litter and graffiti. We are in week two of our expanded cleaning in the University District made possible by the City's investment in our neighborhood through the Clean Cities Initiative. Already we are seeing a huge change in our urban landscape. There is far less litter and graffiti tags in our neighborhood. Having a neighborhood with less graffiti and litter makes for a more welcoming and vibrant community for those who work, live, or visit our neighborhood and patronize our incredible businesses."

~ Marcus Johnson, Clean and Safe Program Manager, U District Partnership

"The First Hill Improvement Association would like to thank the City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development and Seattle Surface Cleaners for helping us ensure that our neighborhood is welcoming and free of litter. 2020 was a tough year for maintaining neighborhood cleanliness, but 2021 is off to a great start with the help of our partners at the Office of Economic Development and Seattle Surface Cleaners. I've been impressed with how well Seattle Surface Cleaners communicates and adapts to changing needs in our neighborhood. The Clean City Initiative has made a noticeable improvement in our central Seattle neighborhood. Thank you!"

~ Doug Holtom, Acting Director, First Hill Improvement Association

"The efforts invested by the Clean City Initiative in Capitol Hill have had a demonstrable impact on our neighborhood's safety, accessibility, and vitality. Through CCI, the City was able to expand cleaning efforts like the removal of accumulated leaf debris that posed a slipping hazard in a pedestrian heavy section of the Pike/Pine corridor. The CCI also supplied immediate snow shoveling support when the region was blanketed from a storm, allowing residents and businesses to resume activities as quickly and safely as possible. Additionally, the cleanup teams have worked hard to reduce the presence of litter and graffiti throughout the neighborhood, which has a positive impact on businesses, residents, and visitors to the area. We're grateful for the tangible support provided by the Office of Economic Development and the City of Seattle through this initiative and hope to continue to see similar community investment in the future."

~ Christina Arrington, Business Development Manager, Capitol Hill Business Alliance, GSBA

"Just wanted to share a quick note of thanks for your teams' efforts in Ballard yesterday. It looks like you covered a lot of ground including Ballard Commons Park, the library, Ballard Blossom and Marvin's Garden to name a few. It's a definite improvement and I imagine there was a significant amount of waste that was hauled away yesterday. [We] really appreciate all of your efforts to mitigate some of the near-term problems we are facing in Ballard as more permanent solutions are being worked out."

~ Ballard Alliance

Before and After Photos

Hing Hay Park

an outdoor breezeway strewn with wet garbage and a shopping cart on its side    an outdoor breezeway cleaned of trash and freshly washed

S. Holgate and 8th Ave S.

    an industrial neighborhood's street corner with a 20x20 foot pile of old wet trash and plastic stacked to about 6 feet    an industrial neighborhood's street corner with green shrubbery,a big puddle, gravel and cleaned of trash