Seattle’s Pike Place Market is a very popular tourist attraction and one of my favorite things to do at the market is to visit and even make a contribution to the Pike Place Bubble Gum Wall. That will all change when the wall is scrubbed clean next week. Officials admit the gum will probably return, but they feel the accumulation is too much and must be removed.
- The gum wall is cleaned “every other month” with a steamer, but this will be the first time all the gum is removed
- The Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (PDA) has hired a contractor, Cascadian Building Maintenance, “because it’s going to be a very large job.”
- 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.
- “This is probably the weirdest job we’ve done,” Kelly Foster, of Cascadian Building Maintenance
- 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.
- 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.”
- The job will likely take three or four days.
- “We’re not saying it can’t come back,” Crawford said. “We need to wipe the canvas clean and keep (it) fresh.”