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Hip Hop Icon Macklemore Joins 'A River for All' Campaign

Hip hop icon Macklemore joined Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition (DRCC) and Seattle, WA civic leaders last week to launch "A River for All" campaign to ensure a clean and healthy Duwamish River.

“We are Seattle. No bridge, boundaries or invisible man-made lines divide us," said Macklemore. “This is our home, our people and our community. This is our city’s only river, and I want to do my part to make sure that it’s safe for all that reside here. I stand in solidarity with community leaders and families who have organized for years to right this injustice.”

"This is our city’s only river, and I want to do my part to make sure that it’s safe for all that reside here." — Macklemore. Photo credit: Jason Koenig

DRCC, Puget Soundkeeper and a growing list of civic leaders insist a stronger cleanup plan is needed to protect communities and restore Seattle’s only river. The current plan, favored by city and county officials, would leave dangerous levels of toxic chemicals like arsenic and PCBs, posing health risks to people, wildlife and the entire Puget Sound food web. Experts agree more needs to be done.

"Evidence from other cleanup sites around the country shows that 'natural recovery' can take decades longer than expected, and may not stop buried chemicals from getting into the food chain anyway," according to the coalition's environmental consultant, Peter deFur. "The responsible approach, from an environmental and health perspective, is to get the toxins out of the river altogether."

The new effort asks citizens to get involved and let their leaders know they want a clean and safe Duwamish River. 

“The Duwamish is my river. I have spent many a day cleaning debris from its shores, sharing its wonders with our community and fighting for its protection," said Puget Soundkeeper Chris Wilke. "If we were most anywhere else, this would be our waterfront. But for the Sound and the lakes, we forget: the Duwamish River is the lifeblood of Seattle. Salmon and people, eagles and osprey, seals and sea lions. It must be protected."

"The Duwamish River is the lifeblood of Seattle." — Chris Wilke, Puget Soundkeeper. Photo credit: Paul Joseph Brown

In 2001, The Duwamish River was listed as a federal Superfund Site, identifying it as one of the most toxic waste sites in the nation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's cleanup plan, released for public comment last year, states that its approach is unlikely to make the river safe enough to protect the health of people who regularly eat its resident fish, like perch and crab, according to DRCC.

“Cleaning up the Duwamish is essential to the recovery of Puget Sound. As long as toxic pollution keeps leaching into the Sound, marine resources—from oysters to orcas—won’t fully recover." said Earth Day founder Denis Hayes. "The Duwamish is Seattle’s estuary. We ought to treasure it, like New York treasures the Hudson. And we need to restore it to health."

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"The Duwamish is Seattle’s estuary. We ought to treasure it, like New York treasures the Hudson. And we need to restore it to health." — Denis Hayes, Bullitt Foundation, Earth Day Founder. Photo credit: BJ Cummings

 

"As a naturalist, the Duwamish represents HOME—to river otters, seals, birds, fish and invertebrates. I love to watch wildlife returning to the river as habitats are restored. As we clean up the river we need to extend our concern to our greatest resources – our children and their families, who live, work, and play on the river. With a strong cleanup, the Duwamish River can become a thriving habitat for wildlife and for people.” — Karen Matsumoto, teacher, naturalist, filmmaker. Photo credit: Paul Joseph Brown

 

"The Duwamish River is important to me because it is my river. As a South Park resident it is important to me to live and work in a healthy and safe place that my family can fully enjoy. I want to feel proud of my city, knowing that we care for the people, the environment, and the diverse wildlife that makes the Duwamish community special. My dream is to leave my children a beautiful, clean river where it is safe for everyone to swim, to fish, to work, and to play." — Paulina Lopez and Family

 

"The Duwamish—Seattle’s only river fascinates me. From fish runs and canoe passages to river barges and freight, the gentle river has served human settlement in so many ways and for so long. It’s time now to return the good river to good health!" — Peter Steinbreuck, architect, former Seattle, City Councilmember

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