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Laundry plant expected to add 165 jobs in Auburn

Hospital Central Services Association started work this week on its laundry plant on M Street Northwest west of the Emerald Downs Racetrack. - Robert Whale/Auburn Reporter
Hospital Central Services Association started work this week on its laundry plant on M Street Northwest west of the Emerald Downs Racetrack.
— image credit: Robert Whale/Auburn Reporter

Hospital Central Services Association began work this week on a $26 million laundry plant in Auburn.

When the business opens in 2013, the 144,357-square-foot plant next to the Costco warehouse at 1500 M Street Northwest is expected to employ up to 165 people to launder the region's hospitals' dirty laundry.

"It's my understanding that they are mobilizing and doing a little bit of dirt work, and will begin faster, more intensive work starting [this] week," said Development Services Manager Jeff Tate.

Seattle-based Hospital Central Services Association did not return calls for this article.

But according to its website, HCSA operates a large institutional laundry at 1300 E. Columbia St. near Seattle University that provides services to 11 hospitals in Seattle. That plant, which moves to Auburn, processes 20 million pounds of laundry per year and operates 14 hours per day, 364 days per year. Linens such as sheets, towels, and surgical scrubs are cleaned at the laundry.

A February 2003 article in Healthcare Purchasing News cites HCSA as an example of how some hospitals have formed "laundry consortia" to cut costs.

"One example of such cooperation can be found in Seattle, where the Hospital Central Services Association, a coalition of six hospitals that serves itself and seven others, has been quietly washing, drying, folding and saving for more than a quarter century" the article said.

The consortium, according to the article, processes some 2.6 million pounds of linen per year for Virginia Mason Medical Center, a 20 percent owner. Seattle's Swedish Hospital is another major owner.

Repeated calls to Auburn Economic Development Director Doug Lien were not returned for this article.

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