Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station project
Serving the communities of Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Sammamish, and unincorporated Northeast King County
King County identifies three sites to study in an environmental review
In 2020, King County's Solid Waste Division began a process to site a new recycling and transfer station in northeast King County to replace the aging and limited Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland, which has been operating since the mid-1960s.
Since 2019, the King County project team has worked closely with representatives from the cities of Redmond, Woodinville, Sammamish and Kirkland, and unincorporated King County to establish the criteria that were used to narrow the list of sites to the three currently under consideration. The public also had opportunities to participate in the siting process by sharing community knowledge as well as priorities and concerns related to hosting a new transfer station.
When it begins operating in 2027, the Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station will be a modern, enclosed facility that meets the latest environmental standards and best practices and offers more recycling options.
Three sites for review
After considering input from a number of stakeholders that included city representatives, residents, and a community-based siting advisory group, King County has identified the following sites to study in an environmental review process under the State Environmental Policy Act:
- 16111 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville 98072 Download PDF 100 K (Site of Winsome Trading and an adjacent undeveloped property owned by Northwest Utilities)
- 11724 NE 60th St, Kirkland 98033 Download PDF 100 K (Houghton Transfer Station/Closed Landfill)
- 7024 116th Ave NE, Kirkland 98033 Download PDF 100 K (Houghton Park and Ride)
You can take a virtual tour of the three potential sites external link .
At this stage in the siting process, King County is not looking to acquire properties and would not consider doing so until after environmental review is completed.
Finding sites for essential public facilities that need to be located in the communities they serve is challenging in a region where so much development has already occurred. Finding suitable sites for a transfer station is even more challenging because the sites need to meet certain size, shape, and topographical characteristics, and they need to be located in areas with access to transportation corridors.
A number of factors were considered in determining which sites advanced for further analysis in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), including cost, technical feasibility, transportation access, community needs and environmental considerations. All sites were evaluated using the same criteria Download PDF 150 K, and all sites have tradeoffs and benefits to consider.
- The Woodinville parcels would be a suitable size and shape, they're located in close proximity to transportation corridors and other transfer facilities, and there's the right degree of sloping for ease of building. However, this site is also currently owned by a long-standing business with over 100 employees. The warehouse on-site was developed for their unique needs. These factors need to be further understood to inform the potential impacts associated with property acquisition and business relocation should this site ultimately be selected.
- The Houghton Park and Ride in Kirkland is smaller than the ideal parcel but merited further study because the Park and Ride is underutilized and the property is minimally developed, in a good location, and close to the transfer station corridor and major freeways. However, the smaller size of this site may impact the scope of services and development costs that will need to be better understood should this site ultimately be selected.
- The current Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland has been serving northeast communities in King County for nearly 60 years, and King County has overall managed the impacts well as growth continued in the community. The site is in a good location, and close to the transfer station corridor and major freeways. However, the potential use of landfill space as part of the development requires more analysis to understand the environmental and financial impacts should this site ultimately be selected.
The environmental review process will start with "scoping" in summer 2021, when the public will be invited to comment on the proposed siting alternatives, impacts, and potential mitigation measures to study in the EIS. King County will then prepare a Draft EIS due out for public review and comment in early 2022.
King County will continue to work with property owners, near neighbors, stakeholders and community members to understand and respond to their questions and concerns around the project, and to provide opportunities for input that will ensure the new station is a good neighbor and a community asset.
Stay in touch
Overview of site selection process
King County is using a six-step process to guide the site selection process. This process has included engagement between the King County Solid Waste Division's project team and:
- Representatives from the four northeast "Core Cities" of Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, and Woodinville that began meeting in late 2019, and King County's Department of Local Services whose residents and businesses will be served by the new facility
- Members of the community-based siting advisory group ("SAG") that began meeting in October 2020 to advise King County on how and where to site the new station and what to consider while making that decision
- More than 3,000 community members who completed online surveys about siting the new station
In late 2019, the County's Solid Waste Division staff began a preliminary search for sites by broadly assessing the universe of potential sites in the study area. Three distinct type of criteria Download PDF 100 K were used to narrow the list of sites:
- Pass/Fail Criteria and GIS filters to identify an initial 15-20 sites
- Broad Areas Site Screening Criteria to reduce from 15-20 sites to five or fewer
- Functional Criteria to be used to compare sites during the Focused Site Screening
Step 1: Potential Site Identification
(view siting criteria Download PDF 100 K)
- Pass/Fail criteria that established minimum standards that must be met for potential sites to quality for further analysis were applied.
- Geographic Information System (GIS) filters were then used to identify sites for further analysis. These GIS filters were not absolute criteria like the pass/fail criteria; they included size, zoning, proximity to major arterials, and property cost is within project budget.
- After applying the Pass/Fail and GIS criteria, 127 possible sites remained, based on parcel size. See list of sites:
Step 2: Broad Area Site Screening
(view siting criteria Download PDF 100 K)
- Broad area site screening was conducted on the 127 sites. These screening criteria were developed jointly by King County and representatives from the cities of Redmond, Kirkland, Sammamish, and Woodinville, and King County's Department of Local Services.
- The criteria included cost, site characteristics (size and shape), environmental constraints (large wetlands, steep slopes, etc.), nearby sensitive receptors and land uses (schools, parks, residences, hospitals), and considerations of potential impacts of business relocations. After reviewing each site against these criteria, a total of 15 possible sites remained: five sites in Kirkland, eight sites in Redmond, and two in Woodinville.
- King County evaluated the 15 possible sites in more detail against the Broad Area Site Screening criteria:
- After review, 4 possible sites were selected for Focused Site Screening:
- Criteria parcels (single) 8-20 acres in size: map Download PDF
Step 3: Focused Area Site Screening
- Focused Site Screening was conducted on the 4 possible sites. That evaluation assessed the sites functional criteria and considered input from the Core Cities and the public. Functional criteria include site shape, size, and characteristics, city economic impact/zoning, few impacts to off-site sensitive receptors, equitable distribution of facilities, transportation, cost, and utilities.
Step 4: Comparative Evaluation
- Technical input from the project team and community input from the Core Cities, siting advisory group, and community surveys informed King County's selection of sites to be evaluated in the environmental review process.
- After comparative evaluation, 3 sites were selected for evaluation in environmental review
- On March 31, 2021, the King County Solid Waste Division identified three sites for study in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be conducted per State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) requirements:
- 16111 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville 98072 (Site of Winsome Trading and an adjacent undeveloped property owned by Northwest Utilities)
- 11724 NE 60th St, Kirkland 98033 (Houghton Transfer Station/Closed Landfill)
- 7024 116th Ave NE, Kirkland 98033 (Houghton Park and Ride)
- The environmental review process will start with "scoping" in summer 2021, when the public will be invited to comment on the proposed siting alternatives, impacts, and potential mitigation measures to study in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). King County will then prepare a Draft EIS due out for public review and comment in early 2022. For more information on the environmental review process, please visit the Washington Department of Ecology external link
Public survey results
King County asked community members to participate in two surveys about the siting process.
- In fall 2020, community members were asked about their use of the existing Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland, and their thoughts on impacts and benefits of a new station. See survey results here Download PDF 125 K. The Siting Advisory Group used that input to develop community criteria for evaluating the top four possible sites for the new station.
- In winter 2021, King County announced a list of four possible sites for the new facility. Community members were asked about their knowledge of those sites and any information for King County to consider when evaluating the sites. See survey results here Download PDF 300 K. This input will help inform which two or three sites the County selects for further study in an Environmental Impact Statement.
What is a recycling & garbage transfer station?
King County recycling and garbage transfer stations provide a convenient location for residents, businesses, and hauling companies that provide curbside collection to drop off waste and recyclable materials. Garbage is consolidated at each station and brought to King County's Cedar Hills Regional Landfill. Recyclable materials are brought to private facilities and made into new products. Learn where your curbside recyclables and garbage go Download PDF 150 K.
Why is a new recycling & garbage transfer station needed?
The Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland is one of King County's busiest transfer stations, but it offers limited recycling services, and it lacks the capacity to expand or to provide more recycling services to meet the needs of the growing population in northeast community.
Replacing the Houghton station with a larger, easy-to-use facility with more recycling options will make services more convenient and accessible and keep recyclable materials out of the landfill. Many people in northeast King County now have to drive 30 minutes or more to access some recycling services.
King County's 2019 Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, which was adopted by 24 cities and the Washington State Department of Ecology, identified the need for a new station to replace the Houghton station.
The new station will be a modern, enclosed facility that meets the latest environmental standards and best practices
The facility will be designed to serve as a community asset and to aesthetically compliment the community in which it is located. It will feature a fully enclosed waste transfer building to control noise and odor, and provide larger and easier-to-use unloading areas to decrease customer wait times. Modern equipment will include waste compactors, which will reduce truck traffic and road impacts.
The new station will provide convenient, accessible recycling services for a variety of items and materials
Proposed project schedule
(For more detail, see project schedule)
Help shape decision making
The location of the new station has not been determined yet. King County's Solid Waste Division project team is working with the community to identify and evaluate possible sites. Due to COVID-19, we are not currently hosting in-person meetings or events. However, we remain committed to keeping the community informed and involved in the siting process.
We want to involve traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities, businesses, neighbors, Tribes, cities, school districts, environmental groups, and others to understand their values, concerns, insights and ideas about the siting, design, construction, and operation of a new station.
King County is also working closely with the cities of Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Sammamish and unincorporated King County to identify and consider potential sites for the new station.
After carefully weighing technical requirements, environmental considerations, costs, and community input, King County will make a decision on the selected site by early 2023.
Stay informed, stay involved
- Sign up for our free GovDelivery service, and get the latest project updates by email or text external link , including information on ways to participate in the siting process. You can sign up or opt out at any time.
- Invite a member on the project team to give a presentation to your organization or group.
- Follow the progress of the Siting Advisory Group
Siting Advisory Group
In fall 2020, the project team recruited community representatives for the Siting Advisory Group (SAG), a community-based group that advises King County on how and where to site the new station and what to consider while making that decision. To ensure wider representation, the SAG is comprised of both appointed and at-large seats. Appointed seats were held for specific interests and organizations, and at-large seats were filled by community members through an application process. The SAG has 23 members Download PDF 125 K.
Members of the SAG meet regularly to learn about the siting process and provide their insights to the County. SAG members are expected to share information about the process with their communities. SAG members listen to community concerns and hopes and share them with the County throughout the site selection process.
SAG meetings are open to members of the public, who can observe and make comments to the group at each meeting. Due to Covid-19, all meetings are currently planned to be held virtually. Instructions for accessing SAG meetings will be posted here.
See Project schedule for list of SAG meeting dates. All SAG meetings will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Meeting notes will be posted on this website after each meeting.
- SAG meeting #5 – March 17, 2021
- SAG meeting #4 – Feb. 3, 2021
- Agenda Download PDF 100 K
- PowerPoint presentation Download PDF 1 MB
- Meeting summary Download PDF 75 K
- SAG meeting #3 – Dec. 16, 2020
- Agenda Download PDF 35 K
- PowerPoint presentation Download PDF 500 K
- Meeting summary Download PDF 75 K
- SAG meeting #2 – Nov. 18, 2020
- Agenda Download PDF 150 K
- PowerPoint presentation Download PDF 350 K
- Meeting summary Download PDF 50 K
- SAG meeting # 1 – Oct. 28, 2020
- Agenda Download PDF 100 K
- PowerPoint presentation Download PDF 3.5 MB
- Charter Download PDF 50 K
- Meeting summary Download PDF 75 K
- SAG Kick-off meeting – Oct. 14, 2020
(additional materials coming soon)
- Solid Waste System Planning documents
- 2019 Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan – See Chapter 5, Pages 134, 141, 142, 143-145 regarding need for a new Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station
- 2006 Solid Waste Transfer and Waste Management Plan Download PDF 650 K
- 2001 Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan
- 2005 Memorandum of Understanding (and Addendum) between King County and Kirkland on Houghton Transfer Station Download PDF 350 K
- Public involvement, mailings to NE King County community
- Notice mailed to 114,000+ NE King County residents announcing project Download PDF 1 MB – Sept 2020
- Notice mailed to 114,000+ NE King County residents announcing selection of 4 possible sites for new station Download PDF 350 K
- Technical documents, drawings and maps, site selection process
- Parcels 8-20 acres in size: map Download PDF | addresses Download PDF
- Cluster of parcels 8-30 acres in size: map Download PDF
- Parcels 2-8 acres in size: map Download PDF | addresses Download PDF
- 15 sites evaluated in Broad Area Site Screening: map Download PDF | addresses Download PDF
- 4 sites evaluated in Focused Site Screening: map Download PDF
- Site selection process Download PDF 350 K
- Broad Area Site Screening ("BASS") Report, March 2021Download PDF 23 MB
Note: this is a very large file and may take several minutes to download, depending on connection speed
- Siting criteria
- Site Selection Criteria Memo Download PDF 150 K – March 22, 2021
- Community Criteria developed by the Siting Advisory Group Download PDF 125 K
- Environmental review
- Description of Environmental review process
- Frequently asked questions Download PDF 250 K
Updated March 2021 (subject to change)
|Sept - Oct 2020||Recruit community members for Siting Advisory Group|
|Oct. 14, 2020||Siting Advisory Group kick-off meeting – welcomed advisory group members, provided an overview of the solid waste system and siting process. Discussed community values.|
|Oct. 28, 2020||Siting Advisory Group Meeting #1 – reviewed top 15 sites and considerations for screening the sites.|
|Oct 30 - Nov 20, 2020||Fall 2020 public survey - survey to identify knowledge of the project, use of the current facility, and their views on the impacts and benefits of siting a new facility.|
|Nov. 18, 2020||Siting Advisory Group Meeting #2 – reviewed community input from fall 2020 public survey and developed community criteria and scoring measures.|
|Dec. 16, 2020||Siting Advisory Group Meeting #3 – finalized community criteria and scoring measures, introduced to criteria weighting.|
|Jan. 20 - Feb. 18, 2021||Winter 2021 public survey (results to be posted soon) – survey to provide information on top 4 sites and prioritize community criteria|
|Feb. 3, 2021||Siting Advisory Group Meeting #4 – developed criteria weighting, reviewed top 4 sites and preliminary scoring of sites.|
|March 17, 2021||Siting Advisory Group Meeting #5 – review community input from winter 2021 public survey, finalize weighting and scoring, rank order of top 4 sites.|
|March 31, 2021||King County identifies three sites to study in an environmental review|
|April 28, 2021||Siting Advisory Group Meeting #6 – overview of County-selected sites and upcoming environmental review.|
|Aug/Sept 2021||Begin environmental review process. Seek public input on what to study in environmental review ("Scoping" public comment period)|
|Aug/Sept 2021||Siting Advisory Group Meeting #7 – provide input of the scope of the environmental review|
|Summer 2022||Issue Draft Environmental Impact Statement and seek public input|
|Summer 2022||Siting Advisory Group Meeting #8 – provide input on Draft Environmental Impact Statement|
|Late 2022||Site for new station is selected|
|Late 2022-early 2023||Property acquisition|
|Early 2023-late 2025||Facility design and permitting|
|Late 2025 – Late 2027||Construction|
|Late 2027||Facility opens to the public|
If you have questions or comments about the project, please contact the project manager or call the Solid Waste Division.
Margaret Bay email the Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station project – Project manager
King County Solid Waste Division
Telephone: 206-263-5851, TTY Relay: 711
King County Solid Waste Division
Telephone: 206-477-4466, TTY Relay: 711