Tags: seattle | gum | wall

Seattle Gum Wall Wadded All Up So It's About Time for Spit-Shine

Image: Seattle Gum Wall Wadded All Up So It's About Time for Spit-Shine
Just a small section of Seattle's gum wall.  (Pike Place Market)

By    |   Wednesday, 04 Nov 2015 07:00 AM

Seattle's gum wall, once called the planet's second-germiest tourist attraction, will get a scrubbing after 20 years of sticky buildup at its Pike Place Market location.

Pike Place officials told the Seattle Times that an estimated one million pieces of gum are stuck to an alley wall there, with a six-inch buildup of gum in some places.

The gum collection was started by people waiting in line for a late night improv show, said KING-TV, and just grew.

Kelly Foster, of Cascadian Building Maintenance, said an industrial steam machine will be used for the cleaning. It acts much like a pressure washer.

After the steam machine is used, the icky part of the job begins when Cascadian employees collect the gum from the ground in five-gallon buckets.

"This is probably the weirdest job we've done," Foster said.

KING-TV said the gum wall is now eight feet high and more than 54 feet wide, with approximately 150 piece of gum per brick. 

The Seattle Times said in the beginning Pike Place Market managers had routinely tried to remove the gum, saying it was "unsanitary and contrary to Market character," but by 1999 they had a change of heart and considered the gum wall an attraction.

"At least once a week, I see someone getting their wedding pictures taken in front of it," said Randy Dixon, artistic director of Unexpected Productions. "It's also fairly routine to hear groups of high school boys or frat boys strategizing over how to put the highest piece of gum on the wall."

Emily Crawford, a spokeswoman for the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority, told the Times that the next week's cleaning job will cost the market about $4,000.

"It was never part of the charter or the history of the market to have the walls covered with gum," said Crawford. "Gum is made of chemicals, sugar, additives. Things that aren't good for us. I can't imagine it's good for brick."

"We're not saying it can't come back," Crawford added. "We need to wipe the canvas clean and keep (it) fresh."


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Seattle's gum wall, once called the planet's second-germiest tourist attraction, will get a scrubbing after 20 years of sticky buildup at its Pike Place Market location.
seattle, gum, wall
366
2015-00-04
Wednesday, 04 Nov 2015 07:00 AM
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