To commemorate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Northwest Center and Discover Burien recently released a video profile of Tanner, who is part of the local business organization’s “Team Clean Sweep,” which has been cleaning downtown Burien for the last 20 years.
A special shout-out goes to Executive Director Debra George, who created the program in 2002. She said she pitched the idea after sitting in a city council meeting, where she heard how inadequate the city’s services were.
“We were contracting out to a landscape company to do it once a week,” she said. “I came from the Midwest where I was involved with a similar program where we hired special needs individuals, gave them their own street to maintain, and I suggested it and pitched it to the city and they agreed to let me run the program. So we’ve been doing it for 20 years, and it works very successfully in our community.”
Tanner – who is profiled in the video – works on SW 152nd Street, where he picks up “a lot of garbage” three times per week.
George said that he’s been working in the program for at least 15 years.
The video was produced with the Highline Heritage Museum: