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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

October 27, 2010 at 4:21 PM

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Seattle's got salt

Posted by Gabriel Campanario

seattle salt-m.jpg

Sketched Oct 26, 1:10 p.m. [Click sketch to view larger]

With forecasts of a snowy winter ahead, I've been curious about the city's preparedness this year.

When I moved here in 2006, everyone told me "it never really snows in Seattle." But it snowed that winter, and the next two. In December of 2008, back-to-back storms actually paralyzed the city, which didn't use salt to treat the streets.

But Seattle seems better prepared now. 500 tons of raw salt brought from Canada are piled up under a tent at a city's truck and equipment yard near Safeco Field. I saw it and sketched it yesterday.

Robert Clarke, manager of maintenance operations for the city's Street Maintenance Division, said if we run out of salt, the city has contracts to bring more.

The salt, explained Clarke, is meant to break the bond between the snow and the road. "It's like when you put oil in the pan so the food doesn't stick."

Stay tuned for a few more sketches from my visit to the city's facility at 714 South Charles Street.

Different agencies have launched a Take Winter by Storm campaign to urge people to be prepared. Check out their website for winter weather preparedness tips and resources.

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