Gov. Inslee visits Lopez Solid Waste facility

Submitted by Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District

Governor Jay Inslee’s day had been carefully choreographed when he decided to make a last-minute request to visit Lopez Island dump’s Take It or Leave It (TIOLI) on Tuesday, September 26. Although only officially operational Friday through Monday, arrangements were quickly made by Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District (LSWDD) for the special guest entry.

The visit comes as Lopez Solid Waste and its landmark second-hand free store, TIOLI, celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Affectionately known as “the Dump,” LSWDD maintains its status as the only solid waste facility entirely operated and managed by local citizens.

Governor Inslee’s last official visit to Lopez was made for Lopez High School’s 2017 graduation address, during which he notably sported a button-up dress shirt he personally selected that morning at TIOLI. For this recent visit, the Governor spent 20 minutes on-site joined by LSWDD staff, security personnel, and a Washington state trooper. Inslee’s late parents, both Lopez residents, undoubtedly influenced the Governor’s affection for the Dump. He kept conversation throughout, stressing the importance of a “circular economy” and TIOLI as an active, sustained example of the practice.

Governor Inslee expressed curiosity about the site’s visitor traffic and any challenges faced by the district. He was visibly shocked by the volume of people regularly using the facility, which LSWDD’s District Manager noted could reach up to 100 visitors within the first hour of opening.

After posing for photos in front of the historic free store, Governor Inslee dove into the Men’s clothing section. Staff reported the Governor turned his nose up at a collegiate rugby shirt that was the right size – noting that it was the “colors” of an East Coast university that had turned him away—that is, back to the West Coast. Eventually, he found four shirts to his liking and shared his gratitude, saying he couldn’t go back to his wife without bringing something from TIOLI.