Letter to the editor: Highway 99 shouldn’t be a dumping ground for problems


Dumping problems onto Highway 99 is not acceptable policy, for anyone, at any time, for any reason.

Be it on the left or right side of the highway. we need more than talk to make credible change occur.

As far back as November 2006, Councilmember Dave Orvis described well the conditions of that time, and all the issues surrounding the highway, businesses and folks living along this stretch of streets. And this includes Edmonds-Woodway High School and the variety of businesses and homes that make up this significant portion of Edmonds.

Take care of this vibrant neighborhood and let good things flow.

Jim Underhill



  1. Thanks for writing this, Jim. And “dumping ground” in the literal sense. The maintenance of the sidewalks and public right of ways on this stretch of road leaves something to be desired. Living in an adjacent neighborhood, I drive this way multiple times a day. Trash that is left by the side of the road and at bus stops and on the sidewalks is quite literally there for months. There is a shopping cart that is full of garbage on the sidewalk near the public storage across from the Ranch 99 shopping center that has been there since August. Speaking with some business from time to time, I have found that they do not see it as their responsibility to maintain those areas where transient individuals leave items. Likewise speaking with Public Works, they also do not see it as their responsibility. I have quite literally had to go clean up items myself sometimes when those issues migrate down to my home close to Lake Ballinger. It really is the “Broken Windows” theory in action. If the city invests some time and resources to keeping this stretch of road maintained (even leading up to the major redevelopment), that would go a long way in improving the perception of this area.

  2. I agree. In my experience trash leads to more trash. As part of my work in a local school district I was assigned a task of interviewing high school students in a school that was scheduled to be totally renovated during the coming summer. Trash started to appear in the building and efforts slowed down to keep it picked up. Interviews with students verified that their attitude and pride in their school dropped as the surroundings deteriorated. I see the same thing on our streets and neighborhoods where care is not given.

    1. Ms. Fankhauser, you bring up a very interesting point. I wrote a letter several years ago asking why ESD could not take better care of school grounds particularly MHS and Meadowdale Middle School, landscaping in particular was in terrible shape at that time. My point being that kids feel a better sense of school pride when schools are maintained.

      This particular school board member argued with me. She said kids did not notice such things and were not that relevant in the educational experience. Your direct experience in school surroundings with kids seems to show the exact opposite is true.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective.

  3. This is what I have been suggesting but not getting much response etc. I have a theory on what will happen if we don’t do as you are suggesting…but I don’t dare write it here.

  4. The same lack of pick-up is happening at Edmonds Library … leaves on the stiars and walkways which is a slip and fall hazard … none of the tax paid employees make any effort about safety or appearance at the place they work.
    Clean it up before a person is injured and sues!! Negligence becomes expensive!!

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