Seattle's famous 'gum wall' melted off by steam cleaners

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
SEATTLE
Published 10.11.2015 21:41
Updated 10.11.2015 21:48
The likeness of an American flag made from pieces of gum sticks to a wall at Seattle's gum wall at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015 (AP Photo)
The likeness of an American flag made from pieces of gum sticks to a wall at Seattle's "gum wall" at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015 (AP Photo)

From a distance, the brick wall looks like it's plastered with festive, rainbow-colored confetti. Up close, Seattle's "gum wall" isn't as pretty.

Tourists and locals have been sticking their used chewing gum to the wall near Pike Place Market for 20 years.

It now boasts an estimated 1 million pieces in a kaleidoscope of colors, some stretched and pinched into messages, hearts and other designs. People also have used the gooey wads to paste up pictures and other mementos.

Tourist Katri Mattsson said the gum wall was "pretty gross," but also "in way very impressive."

On Tuesday, powerful steam cleaners were melting it all off.

The market hired a contractor to use steam because pressure washing would damage the historic building.

Market officials decided now was as good a time as any for the cleanup, but they expect people will start leaving gum on the space again soon.

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