Ewww… That’s Gross!

Seattle’s Pike Place Market has a gum wall.

2012-09-24-SeattlePostAlleyGumWall

Who knew? I sure didn’t…

Apparently the gum wall is a well-known tourist attraction.

The gum wall is scheduled to be de-gummed of 20 year’s worth of chews and plops… 🙂

From the Seattle Times

Once named the world’s second-germiest tourist attraction, Pike Place Market’s gum wall will soon be scrubbed of 20 years’ buildup of sugary stickum.

Emily Crawford, a spokeswoman for the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (PDA) said the gum wall is cleaned “every other month” by the PDA with a steamer, but this will be the first time all the gum is removed from the original wall.

Silvia Lim CQ, visiting from Sweden, takes a self-portrait at the the Gum Wall attraction in Post Alley. It's her first visit having read about it in a tour guide. The covered brick walls are to be cleaned in a week. Tuesday Nov 3, 2015 Ref to on line gallery
Silvia Lim CQ, visiting from Sweden, takes a self-portrait at the the Gum Wall attraction in Post Alley. It’s her first visit having read about it in a tour guide.

The PDA has hired a contractor, Cascadian Building Maintenance, “because it’s going to be a very large job,” Crawford said.

Kelly Foster, of Cascadian Building Maintenance, said the gum will be removed with an “industrial steam machine that works like a pressure washer.”

The machine will melt the gum with 280-degree steam; it will fall to the ground, and a two- to three-man crew will collect the gum in five-gallon buckets.

It's virtually impossible to read the No Parking sign covered with pieces of gum on the west wall of Post Alley. Tuesday Nov 3, 2015
It’s virtually impossible to read the No Parking sign covered with pieces of gum on the west wall of Post Alley.

“This is probably the weirdest job we’ve done,” Foster said.

Crawford said the PDA estimates 1 million pieces of gum are adhered to the walls of Post Alley, and the buildup is in some places 6 inches thick. The cleaning job is expected to cost $4,000.

It's hard to see out this window with all the gum attached in Post Alley at the Pike Place Market. The Gum Wall attraction has spread well along the west wall of Post Alley, so much that the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (PDA) PDA will steam clean the walls in a week. Tuesday Nov 3, 2015
It’s hard to see out this window with all the gum attached in Post Alley at the Pike Place Market.

More accurate figures on the amount of gum could be forthcoming.

“We want to weigh it,” she said.

Crawford said the gum needs to be cleaned off the walls to preserve the historic buildings in the Market district.

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

Evoking lips by Man Ray, many pieces of gum went into this attachment to Post Alley's Gum Wall. to be cleaned in a week. Tuesday Nov 3, 2015
Evoking lips by Man Ray, many pieces of gum went into this attachment to Post Alley’s Gum Wall. to be cleaned in a week.

Crawford said cleaning will begin Nov. 10. The job will likely take three or four days.

Colorful globs of salivated chew will no doubt return shortly, the PDA expects.

“We’re not saying it can’t come back,” Crawford said. “We need to wipe the canvas clean and keep (it) fresh.”

The PDA hopes that fresh start hinders gum-wall sprawl. In recent years, Crawford said gum has advanced to new turf “far beyond the original wall.”

One more piece of gum is added to the estimated more than 750,000 pieces in Post Alley. The Gum Wall attraction in Post Alley with visitors to the covered brick, to be cleaned in a week. Tuesday Nov 3, 2015
One more piece of gum is added to the estimated more than 750,000 pieces in Post Alley.
The Gum Wall attraction in Post Alley with visitors to the covered brick, to be cleaned in a week.

Her theory: “It’s so gross,” she said. “People don’t actually want to touch or get near the gum wall. They’re looking for empty surfaces.”

The PDA plans to place more public art in the alleyway and hopes having 20 years of gum removed will keep future visitors more targeted when in placing their gum.

Meantime, the Market is holding a photo contest on its Facebook page, where people can vote on favorite gum-wall pictures.
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