East Pine Substation Reliability Upgrade

Map showing the location of East Pine Substation

Project Description

Constructed in 1966-67, the East Pine Substation is located at 1501 23rd Avenue, Seattle. It is considered an essential City Light facility providing power to the neighborhood, including several hospitals located on First Hill and Capitol Hill. A strategic goal of the Capital Improvement Program is to ensure that the facilities serving City Light customers provide the lowest cost and most reliable power as possible. Consequently, the following improvements have been recommended for East Pine Substation:

  • Modify the north and west perimeter walls and expand their footprints toward the property lines in order to accommodate future equipment upgrades and build-outs.
  • Improve gate access and security for the north and west perimeter walls.
  • Evaluate/upgrade the seismic integrity of the substation.


The East Pine Substation is located in Seattle's Central District on 23rd Avenue and East Pine Street.

Frequently Asked Questions

What would happen without the expansion of the two walls?
If this expansion cannot take place, it may mean extremely costly measures will be required inside the existing substation to augment reliability. Without the extra space, some of the planned improvements may not be possible.

What would be done after expanding the substation wall? How will that affect me?
Though security is reason enough to modify the substation wall, equipment would get added in four to five years in the extra created space. It would be circuit breakers to improve system reliability. The equipment would not increase the current flow or capacity and would have no impact on the electro-magnetic fields.

There will not be any increased noise from the property as the circuit breakers would be set in a low-profile enclosure. A circuit breaker only produces noise when it operates, which is not daily. Its main function is to interrupt abnormal electrical current and protect more expensive equipment. The intermittent noise as a circuit breaker operates is much lower than a broom stick falling on the floor when heard from across the street.

Is the expansion to the north and west the only alternative for the new footprint of the substation?
Yes, due to the space required by the equipment, this expansion cannot efficiently/effectively include the south and east side.

What is being done to address the historic look of the wall?
The East Pine Substation is currently not listed as a Seattle Landmark. However, City Light will be self-nominating the substation and has hired a historic resources consultant to assist with this effort. City Light will be following the City of Seattle's historic preservation regulations and guidelines. If the substation is designated a Landmark, the Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties will be applied to proposed changes to the substation and walls.

If someone would like to be added to the Architectural Review Committee and Landmarks Board meeting agenda distribution lists, they should contact Melinda Bloom at melinda.bloom@seattle.gov. If someone would like to submit written public comment they should contact Erin Doherty at erin.doherty@seattle.gov.

What will be done to protect trees along 22nd Avenue?
Though City Light would prefer to protect all vegetation, impacts may occur. More will be understood as the design reaches 30%.

What about safety?
Customer and crew safety are the top priority for Seattle City Light. No power outages are anticipated during construction.

When is the opportunity for input?
You can send questions or get your name added for future notifications by emailing: SCL_CommOutreach@seattle.gov.

  • 3rd/4th Quarter 2019: Review by Architectural Review Committee and the Landmarks Preservation Board
  • 1st Quarter 2020: 30% design (Public comments taken)
  • 3rd Quarter 2020: 90% design (City Light to report out on public comments)
  • 4th Quarter 2020: 100% design
  • 2nd Quarter 2021:  Public Works Contact awarded
  • 2nd Quarter 2021 - 1st Quarter 2022: Construction

Percy Schlimm
Senior Electrical Service Representative
(206) 386-1735

Hernann Ambion
Sr. Public Relations Specialist