Cleaning up: Early cleanup work continues at historic hospital site in Sedro-Woolley

Between 1912 and 1973, Washington state treated psychiatric patients at the Northern State Hospital, located on the outskirts of Sedro-Woolley in Skagit County. It was built to be a self-sustaining campus, complete with dairy, steam power plant, staff housing, and a myriad of other buildings.

The state sold much of the property to Skagit County in 1991, and transferred ownership of the remaining property to the Port of Skagit in 2018. Since then, the Port of Skagit, the City of Sedro-Woolley, and Skagit County have been redeveloping the property into the Sedro-Woolley Innovation for Tomorrow (SWIFT) Center.

Aerial view of Northern State site, marked with seven Areas of Concern.

Site map showing Areas of Concern

The Northern State Multi Service Center is a state cleanup site due to previous uses that contaminated soil and groundwater of certain parts of the property. Ecology has been overseeing the Port’s investigation of the extent and nature of the pollution. In the meantime, the Port has been taking some early steps, called interim actions, to clean up areas that pose more immediate potential risks to human and environmental health.

One of those interim actions can't be completed because of changes to the planned uses for the buildings and access restrictions.  We’re revising some of the legal agreements and associated documents that guide the cleanup, and we’d like your input on them:

  • Revised Interim Action Work Plan. This describes early partial cleanup actions to address contamination at the site, including a new system to vent potentially harmful soil vapors from beneath the Laundry Building.
  • Amendment to the Agreed Order. Because an interim action is changing, the scope of work described in the Agreed Order also needs to be amended.
  • State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Determination of Non-Significance. This is Ecology’s determination that the cleanup work is not likely to harm the environment.

The public comment period for this site is July 17 – August 15.

How to participate

We’re hosting a hybrid public meeting on July 26, 4 – 5:30 p.m. We’ll begin with a presentation that will last about an hour, followed by questions and answers.

In person

Sedro-Woolley City Hall, Council Chambers
325 Metcalf St, Sedro-Woolley


Register at

For dial-in options and other online meeting support, contact Kristen Forkeutis, 425-240-4353.

Online comment form

You can submit comments online.