Artists interpret the Duwamish for Duwamish Revealed, a summer celebration of Seattle’s only river

Duwamish Revealed is a series of outdoor art installations, performances, community activities and other adventures to celebrate the Duwamish River. Four art installations, SuperfunSuperfund, Clear, Duwamish Lighthouse and ALONG. STANDING. IN THE MIDDLE OF DARKNESS. INVISIBLE. were directly supported by the Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Office of Arts & Culture 1% for Art Funds.

Superfun Superfund by Framework. Superfun? Or Superfund? Framework has created a set of illuminated remote controlled “word boats” – like large scale, floating refrigerator magnets! Move the words around in a superFUN animated dialogue about the river, the cleanup, and what the future holds! Look for the installation at Duwamish Revealed events throughout the summer, including the Water Festival on August 15 & 16.

Clear uses industrial and mechanical systems and sound to explore the many forms of water and its flow, from the industrial to the natural process. A performance that embodies those processes and highlights the sounds of the installation is also part of the work. Special viewing August 8th from 7-9 p.m. and September 19th from 2-5 p.m.

Learn more at:

The Duwamish Lighthouse is a beacon for a river. It collects real-time water quality data, checks how clean the river is according to EPA water quality standards, and then translates this to humans in the form of our own breathing as light: Steady and relaxed is a cleaner river, fast and spasmodic is a polluted river. The Lighthouse will be illuminated from 10 p.m. to midnight; view from downtown Seattle or on the docks near Salty’s in West Seattle.

To learn more, and interact with the Lighthouse, go to

ALONG. STANDING. IN THE MIDDLE OF DARKNESS. INVISIBLE. By Ben Zamora. Perched on the riverbank, Zamora’s piece illuminates and reflects the landscape around it. At 12th Avenue South and S Elmgrove Street

Learn more at:

Historic Georgetown Steam Plant Inspires Art Exhibition

Artist Chris Crites works inside the Georgetown Steam Plant during the Duwamish Artist Residency.

Seattle City Light’s historic Georgetown Steam Plant will be part of the focus of an art exhibition from March 5 to 26 at Gallery4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Place S.

For the past two summers, a variety of artists have visited the steam plant during the Duwamish Artist Residency. During their visits, the steam plant inspired them to create paintings, photographs, collages, screen presses and other works.

“We go down to the river to explore and to learn,” residency co-organizer Fiona McGuigan said.

“The first year we spent exploring the river, being outside, navigating access places, and learning about the history of the river. We focused on educational things, doing tours, and just finding places you can access the river. Whereas the steam plant was a whole different experience, it was such an amazing part of our residency,” she said.

“Walking into the place, it took our breath away, the artistry in the machinery, every piece of pipe that was wrapped individually, each one of the valves knobs is different, all the imperfections,” McGuigan said. “You can feel the hand-made, artifacts of working. It’s a different kind of history that you can feel in the steam plant. Everything has a history, and the steam plant remembers who worked there.”

Fiona McGuigan created this stencil based on machinery at the Georgetown Steam Plant.

 Artist Jessica Dodge even produced a short film, “Ghost in the Machine.”

“Last summer, when I was creating the images for this show over the many hours we spent in the cavernous, industrial space of the Georgetown Steam Plant, I was struck by a lingering presence of the men who had built that brilliant grid of pipe, stoked the furnaces, and kept the steam flowing through those enormous generators to produce power for the homes and businesses of the region,” Dodge said. “My intention with this film is to conjure for the viewer the persistent human element I’d felt while working in that environment.”

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of “Ghost in the Machine” here: clip-ghost in the machine

Gauges and knobs at the steam plant inspired artist Chris Crites to create these prints.

The steam plant, a National and City of Seattle Historic Landmark, stands today as a reminder of the era of electrification of America’s cities and a time when industry was first attracted to Seattle by its inexpensive hydroelectric power and electric trolley car system. Built in 1906-1907 by the Seattle Electric Company on 18 acres of land along the Duwamish River, the plant was once at the center of the bustling residential and industrial activity in the rapidly growing Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle.

In 1951, the City of Seattle Department of Lighting – today’s Seattle City Light – purchased the plant and operated it on a limited basis until the 1970s.

Linda Davidson focused on the details of the Georgetown Steam plant in this photo.

“The Georgetown Steam Plant is an incredibly intact industrial site and we are delighted to have shared it with the artists in the Duwamish Residency,” said Seattle City Light’s Jennifer Meisner, who coordinates programming at the steam plant. “It’s thrilling to hear from the artists how their time in the space inspired their work and to see the rich and varied ways they re-interpreted it.”

Modern operations for City Light continue nearby at the Duwamish Substation. Built in 1955, the substation accepts 230,000 volt electricity from transmission lines and provides 26,000 volt electricity into the distribution system that delivers electricity to our customers’ homes and businesses.

If you would like to visit the Georgetown Steam Plant, it is open to the public on the second Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free guided tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

For more information about the steam plant, visit


Nine Community Projects Receive Award from Duwamish River Opportunity Fund

In November Mayor Murray announced $250,000 in awards for nine local micro-projects along the Duwamish River as a result of the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund. The projects will work to advance the environmental quality of the area and public health of people living near the river.

“The City of Seattle is honored to support these community-based projects,” said Murray. “This funding will benefit the people and businesses along the Duwamish River. We selected projects that support the quality of life in neighborhoods affected by the cleanup.”

The awards are:

  • $15,000 to the South Park Area Redevelopment Committee and South Park Senior Citizens to develop more stable food sources for the Senior Center Meal Program.
  • $21,000 to Duwamish Tribal Services to educate tribal members on harvesting, preparation and cultural practices surrounding traditional foods.
  • $10,000 to the Duwamish Rowing Club to support opportunities to make rowing on the Duwamish River a part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • $39,000 to Urban Systems Design to implement a job training program that increases green infrastructure and open spaces in the Duwamish Valley.
  • $29,000 to Just Health Action to work with Vietnamese fishers on alternatives to fishing in the Duwamish River that supports food security and their spiritual and cultural beliefs.
  • $12,500 to Feet First to work with community members on improving access for pedestrians in neighborhoods near the river.
  • $61,500 to the Washington State Dept. of Veterans Affairs for a tree-planting pilot project that will support jobs for veterans and increase tree canopy along the river.
  • $22,000 to the Georgetown Arts & Cultural Center to establish a community garden that will improve access to fresh and healthy food.
  • $40,000 to the Friends of 8th Avenue South Trail to improve safety and connectivity of the Duwamish Bikeway.

A review team representing neighborhoods along the Duwamish River, as well as public health and environmental advocates, scored 16 submitted projects seeking more than $378,000 from the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund.

About the Opportunity Fund

The City is working to make the Superfund cleanup of the Duwamish River result in the optimum outcome for the river and its adjacent neighborhoods. In addition to our commitment to the clean-up efforts, we recognize that the communities along the Duwamish have many needs. To address some of these, the City created a $250,000 Duwamish River Opportunity Fund to enhance existing programs or support new ones. Seattle Department of Neighborhoods manages the fund. Look for updates on our blog as these projects are implemented.

Duwamish River Festival, Aug. 23

Come celebrate Seattle’s river this Saturday, August 23, at the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition’s ninth Duwamish River Festival! Bring friends & family for music, dance, food, boating, information, and urban water connections. This is a FREE event!

The event is still looking for volunteers – sign up and give a little time to support this amazing community event. All volunteers get a free exclusive ‘I Heart the Duwamish River’ t-shirt, plus free food, good friends, and a warm fuzzy feeling unlike any other.

Learn more about the history and culture of the Duwamish on the Coalition’s resources page.

Event details:

12 to 4 pm

Duwamish Waterway Park

7900 10th Ave. S. in South Park (Seattle)

Bring the whole family and enjoy the fun!

  • FREE lunch
  • FREE Kayaking & Boat rides
  • FREE Raffle
  • Interactive booths
  • Kids’ activities
  • Live music from local artists
  • Art & More

For more info: (206) 251-2038 (se habla español) or visit

Expecting Osprey Parents Return

Success! The osprey pair enjoy their new deluxe accommodations, provided by Seattle City Light. Photo courtesy of Sound Transit’s Keith Sherry.


In February, Seattle City Light and Sound Transit teamed up to build an osprey tower with a nesting platform, in partnership with Osprey Solutions, LLC. The platform is on the southern edge of the Sound Transit Operation and Maintenance Facility near Spokane Street.

The nesting platform was an effort to prevent the birds from building their nest on power lines, which poses a danger to the birds and can cause outages for customers. The birds had been nesting for six years on a local cell phone tower, but an exclusion device had been installed to keep them from nesting there and disrupting service. Since the birds would likely come back and potentially nest on energized poles, Sound Transit and City Light worked together to install a safer and more attractive nesting site. The osprey tower is located on the corner of property owned by Alco Investments, which gave City Light easement to install the tower.

City Light is happy to report that the birds have moved in and are successfully nesting. The beautiful birds are expecting young and are thriving in their new nesting location near the Duwamish River.

“It looks like they are taking to the nest as hoped.  If they continue their nesting attempt, there should be nestlings in a couple of months,” said City Light Wildlife Biologist Ron Tressler, who oversaw the project.

This is just the latest effort by City Light to coexist with the birds so the utility doesn’t cause problems for them, and the birds don’t cause problems for the power supply.

City Light has put up nest deterrents and removed nests from dangerous locations over the years. When the birds start nesting on electrical equipment, it can be bad for customers and worse for the birds – especially if the nest gets wet from rain. An electrical short can ensue, causing power outages and killing the birds. City Light, Sound Transit and Osprey Solutions continue to work together to prevent these situations from occurring.

Retired Metro employee Pamela Paul got site approval for the new nesting platform and helped to make the project happen. She even collected and donated the nest sticks that were placed on the platform for the birds. Paul’s commitment to protecting the osprey is admired by City Light and the utility extends its thanks to her for her efforts.

Osprey photos courtesy of Pamela Paul.

Do you have new shots of the osprey? Please share them with us in the comments below.