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Over 1,000,000 pounds of trash collected in January 2021 from parks, neighborhood streets, and business districts across the city through Clean City Initiative

Seattle (February 8, 2021) — In January, the new Clean City Initiative ramped up efforts and collected over 1 million pounds of garbage and properly disposed of over 26,000 needles  through trash pick-up or enhanced maintenance at over  60 locations across the city.  

“The pandemic has taken a toll on our community in many unseen ways, one is the growing  graffiti, trash and garbage in parks and on streets. The Clean City Initiative has increased our focus on removing trash to begin to set Seattle up for clear road to recovery—for our businesses, schools, neighborhoods, and residents. We have much more work ahead to deliver for our residents and businesses” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Thank you to the many hard-working City employees who are getting our city cleaned up in partnership with our neighborhood businesses and residents.”    

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 (SPU), Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR), and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to address the backlog in maintenance. This work includes additional litter routes, weekly park and neighborhood focuses, increased trash pickup from encampments and RVs, and additional needle collection efforts.  

 “I was proud to champion the Clean City Initiative last year, which will invest over $3 million in funding to clean our streets, sidewalks, business areas, neighborhoods, and parks,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5 – North Seattle), and chair of the committee that oversees our city’s parks.  “The need is great, and especially so in north Seattle.  Last month alone staff picked up more than one million pounds of trash.  Thanks to the work of this team, our streets are cleaner, our community is healthier and our parks can be put to the highest and best use.” 

“We cherish our parks and so I’m pleased to see our Clean City Initiative boosting removal of graffiti, garbage, and needles,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen (District 4). “Litter and illegal dumping have increased in our beautiful city during the pandemic and we all want to see a cleaner Seattle.  To see the benefits of the Clean City Initiative firsthand, I joined a crew to pick up trash in the heart of our district a few weeks ago. The challenge is enormous, but having multiple departments working together to clean up our city is the kind of back-to-basics approach Seattle desperately needs to emerge stronger than ever.” 

In the month of January, through the Clean City Initiative, we: 

  • Collected 1,152, 571 pounds of trash  
  • Properly disposed of 26,570 needles 
  • Made 293 visits to encampment locations  to collect trash and garbage 
  • Cleaned graffiti from over 200 structures  
  • Worked in over 60 parks and neighborhoods*.  
  • Added 1 new needle box  (3 additional needle boxes were added  in December) 

The Clean City Initiative combines a suite of enhanced and expanded cleaning efforts, including: 

  • Intensive Park Maintenance. SPR chooses two parks each week that undergo intensive cleaning efforts (trash pick up, needle pick up, pressure washing, shrub bed maintenance). 
  • Encampment trash clean up. SPR and SPU visit encampments and RVs throughout the city to collect trash and litter.  
  • Additional litter routes. SPU works with contractors to cover weekly routes picking up  trash and illegally dumped items.  
  • Clean City Teams bring together staff from SDOT and SPR to do litter pick up, street cleaning, graffiti removal, and enhanced maintenance from streets and parks throughout the city.  
  • Business District Cleaning efforts. Funding is being provided towards cleaning efforts in business districts throughout the city.  
  • Needle Drop Boxes. With Clean City funds, SPU will add 10 new needle boxes in parks and neighborhoods.  

“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 our neighborhood through the Clean City 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,” said Marcus Johnson, Clean and Safe Program Manager for U-District Partnership.  

“The Freeway Park Association team just wanted to send a quick note of appreciation for the clean-up team who did so much work this week in Freeway Park. The park looks beautiful! It is so great to see the fountains free of graffiti and the broken fenced areas clean and secure,” said Riisa Conklin, Executive Director, Freeway Park Association. 

If there is litter, trash, needles, or illegal dumped materials near you, you can always report via the City’s Find It, Fix It app, or call (206) 684-CITY (2489). 

The Clean City Initiative provides a surge of litter pick-up and maintenance that will continue through April 2021. To learn more and follow along with these efforts, please visit

* Neighborhoods Visited and Parks Visited in January: Georgetown, West Seattle, Interbay, Ballard, Rainier Valley, Harbor Island, SoDo, South Park, North Seattle, Mt. Baker, Green Lake/Maple Leaf, Fremont, Little Saigon, Central Business District/Downtown, Roxhill, Hillman City, Othello, Capitol Hill, U District, Lake City, Bitter Lake/Haller Lake, Licton Springs, West Queen Anne Playfield, Freeway Park, Amy Yee Tennis Center grounds, Pratt Park, Woodland Park, Meridian Playfield, Georgetown Playfield, Longfellow Creek at Greg Davis, Jackson Golf Course, Albert Davis Park, Lake City Mini Park, Pinehurst Playground, Victory Creek Park, Denny Park, Kinnear Park, City Hall Park, Prefontaine Park, Cowen Park, Ravenna Park, Green Lake Park, Fremont Canal Park, Gas Works Park, Sturgis Park, Daejeon Park, Lewis Park, University Playground, Kinnear Place Park, Ballard Commons, Cheasty Greenbelt, Miller Playfield, Williams Place Park, Broadway Hill Park, Bitterlake Park, Greenwood Park, MLK Park, Northgate Community Center, Julia Lee’s Park, West Seattle Stadium, Roxhill Park, Westcrest Park, Kobe Terrace Park