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Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station

King County Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station Project
Posted on 01/25/2021

King County will soon replace the aging Houghton Recycling & Waste Transfer Station serving residents of Woodinville, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, and unincorporated northeast King County. The Houghton Transfer Station is one of King County’s busiest transfer stations, but it offers limited recycling services and lacks the capacity to expand or provide more recycling services to meet the needs of a growing population.

King County plans to close the existing Houghton Transfer Station and build a larger, easy-to-use facility with more recycling options. The new transfer station will be a modern, enclosed facility that meets the latest environmental standards.

Visit King County’s website to learn more about the goals of the Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station project, take a virtual transfer station tour, and more.

Three Potential Site Locations Under Consideration

King County has identified three sites within the Northeast County service area to study in an environmental review process under the State Environmental Policy Act. All sites have been selected according to a long list of technical and functional criteria including parcel size and shape, redevelopment cost, land use designation, and highway accessibility. The three sites are:

Map- Four Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station sites under consideration

Each potential site has its own unique advantages and drawbacks. Many factors will go into choosing the future home of the Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station, which is why King County will continue to look for input from residents, businesses, and community groups in the service area as the process continues.

PROPROSED Woodinville SiTe

One potential site proposed by King County is located within the city of Woodinville at 16111 Woodinville-Redmond Rd in the south Valley Industrial District (about halfway between downtown and the Tourist District). This site is currently home to Winsome Trading, Inc., a woman-owned furniture manufacturing business that employs 140 people and has called Woodinville home for over 40 years.

This site, while centrally located within the service area and suitable in size, shape, and terrain, poses several challenges of disproportionate impact to Woodinville residents and businesses.


Challenge 1: Traffic Impact

  • The current Houghton Transfer Station facility is the busiest in King County, serving an average of 35 self-haulers, 11 commercial haulers, and 5 County garbage transfer tractor trailer trucks during peak mid-afternoon hours on weekdays. On weekend days, the facility sees decreased commercial use but can see up to 55 self-haulers per hour. This same level of facility use at the new proposed Woodinville site would contribute towards increased traffic along the two-lane Woodinville-Redmond Rd, as well as nearby arterials connecting to SR 522 through downtown and SR 202 through the Tourist District.
  • Intersections located on either end of Woodinville Redmond Rd are not currently designed to accommodate increased levels of traffic from self-haul customers, private garbage trucks, and tractor trailers transporting materials out to the County landfill. This includes the 131st Ave NE railroad trestle crossing and the two roundabouts located in the Tourist District along NE 145th St. All intersections would likely require mitigation at significant added cost to the public and disruption to local residents and businesses.


    Challenge 2: Economic Impact & Business Displacement

  • Woodinville’s South Valley Industrial neighborhood has a distinct light manufacturing and warehouse character that is increasingly rare in North King County. This area is home to some of Woodinville’s largest employers, as well as many breweries, a distillery, a cross fit gym, a dance studio, and a gymnastics studio. Increased traffic and associated noise and vibrations generated by a new transfer station facility could negatively impact these businesses. Some businesses may feel the need to relocate.
  • The proposed Woodinville site is the only one that would require displacement of an exiting business. For over 40 years, this site has been home to the national headquarters of Winsome Trading, a woman-owned specialty furniture manufacturing company employing 140 people. If the site were to be selected, there is a very high probability that Winsome Trading would be unable to secure another similar sized warehouse within city limits from which to operate. Winsome Trading may be displaced permanently, and 140 jobs could be lost.


    Challenge 3: Proximity to Residential Neighborhoods, Trail, and Private K-12 School

  • The proposed Woodinville site is directly west and down-hill of Woodinville’s West Ridge Neighborhood, separated by about 1,000 feet of greenway. It is possible that smells and noises associated with tractor trailer traffic and trash compacting may travel up hill to homes in the West Ridge neighborhood.
  • The site is adjacent to the newly announced future home of the EasTrail, an 42-mile King County rails-to-trail project that will eventually connect Woodinville to Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue, and Renton. Siting a transfer station next to a regional trail may detract from public enjoyment of the new trail.
  • The site is diagonally across the street from The Chrysalis School, a private school serving about 220 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The Chrysalis School has been operating in Woodinville since 1983. Siting at transfer at this location may contribute classroom disruptions and safety concerns for students walking along Redmond-Woodinville Rd.

Public Input

Past opportunities for public input included two community surveys in the Fall of 2020 and Winter of 2021. Future opportunities for public input related to the environmental review study process will be made available in 2021 and publicized on this page.

City of Woodinville's Position

The City of Woodinville is working closely with King County and the cities of Kirkland, Redmond, and Sammamish to identify a suitable location for the new Northeast King County Transfer Station. All partners are in agreement that construction of a new, modern facility with updated recycling capabilities is in the best interest of area residents as well as the environment.

The City of Woodinville and Woodinville City Council are supportive of constructing a new Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station facility in Kirkland at the existing Houghton Transfer Station Site. This site has served the northeast King County area well for more than 50 years and there is ample space for redevelopment above the closed landfill just north of the existing facility.