Cleaning up: Agreement maps cleanup process at former Seattle Times site

We’re ready to sign a cleanup agreement with the company that purchased and plans to redevelop the site that for 80 years was home of The Seattle Times. First, we’re seeking public comment from Sept. 13 to Oct. 12, 2021, on the agreement and on a public participation plan that describes how we’ll keep the community informed through the cleanup process.

A building with The Seattle Times logo over its cornice, with 1960s and 1970s cars parked on the street in front.

The Seattle Times building - historic view.

Under this agreement, formally called an agreed order, Omni John Street (Land) LLC will conduct a detailed study of contamination at the site, evaluate cleanup options, and propose a cleanup action plan. Before accepting these major steps in the cleanup process we’ll go back to the public for comment on each of them.

The Times newspaper operated on the site from 1931 to 2011. Printing and distributing a daily newspaper takes petroleum- and solvent-based inks and motor fuel, stored, along with waste oil, in at least 11 underground tanks. Preliminary studies by Omni’s environmental consultants have documented the presence of oils, solvents and related compounds in soil and groundwater at concentrations above Washington’s cleanup standards.

Ecology will consider all comments received and may amend the agreed order or public participation plan based on them, and hold another public comment period if large changes are made to the documents.