The man on Iron Mountain

The man on Iron Mountain

Chuck Pillon has been living on a 10-acre junk-filled property near Renton for decades.

Charles Pillon, who usually goes by Chuck, has been living on a ten-acre property in unincorporated King County, near Renton, Washington, for decades now. He’s built it into a sprawling empire of junk—including trucks, cars, buses, boats, RVs, tires, scrap metal, lumber, cans of paint, and heaps of yard waste mixed with trash.

According to Chuck, this isn’t junk; it’s a place where old stuff can find new life. He says he salvages and recycles a lot of it, creates his own compost, and provides a service to a community that can’t afford regular dump fees. According to the state attorney general’s office, though, it is an illegal wrecking yard that’s leaching all kind of hazardous waste into the soil, air, and water. The AG’s office recently convicted Chuck of two felonies and a misdemeanor, but that was hardly his first run-in with the law.

This week, in the final episode of Season 2 of Seattleland, reporter Josh Kelety leads us through Chuck’s world, and helps peel back the curtain on the kind of guy who would create and hold onto this kind of thing so tightly, for so long.

Music by Leeni Ramadan and Jahzzar

This week’s cover photo is a portrait of Chuck Pillon and was taken by Caean Couto. Josh Kelety is the King County reporter for Sound Publishing and produced a print version of this story in June.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@covingtonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.covingtonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Northwest

Mid-afternoon traffic on northbound Interstate 5 on Nov. 22 near Everett. Dan Bates/The Herald
Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic

Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go.

Homeless encampment in a wooded area in Auburn on Aug. 27, 2021. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
What the history of homelessness in our region can teach us about our current crisis

A talk with the author of “Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City.”

The Washington State Redistricting Commission held a public meeting over Zoom on Monday night to draw the final legislative and congressional district boundaries. Most of the five-hour session was spent in "caucus meetings" which were unavailable to the viewing public. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Bipartisan commission fails to draw new political boundaries

For the first time in state history, the Supreme Court will define new congressional and legislative districts.

Gov. Jay Inslee joined other governors at the Climate Registry & Climate Action Reserve press conference in Glasgow, Scotland, to talk about climate achievements and goals. From left, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Hawaii Gov. David Ige, Gov. Jay Inslee and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Jay Inslee)
Inslee: State agency vehicles must be all-electric by 2035

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed an executive order aimed at transitioning state… Continue reading

courtesy of PropertyShark
State’s richest zip codes are all in East King County, according to home value study

Medina zip code ranks among top 10 most affluent in the nation.

Stock photo
State’s pediatric flu vaccinations down about 25% from this time last year

Health officials say sharp decline in childhood flu vaccination rates is concerning

Stock photo
Seattle-area pair indicted for defrauding COVID-19 benefit programs

Amount exceeds $1 million; including $500,000 from state Employment Security Department

File photo.
Global health experts weigh-in on putting the pandemic behind us

Pharmaceutical companies will have to waive patent rights to address vaccine disparities, they say.

Stock photo
New timeline of summer 2022 for opening HOV lanes through Tacoma

I-5 traffic often backed up both directions near project

Kim Wyman. COURTESY PHOTO, state Secretary of State Office
Washington secretary of state gets federal job

Kim Wyman taking job with Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

Google Images
Racial disparities in bike helmet law forces decision by King County health board

On Oct. 21, the King County Board of Health discussed striking down… Continue reading

Courtesy Photo, Public Health — Seattle King County
King County to require vaccination proof at certain events, businesses

Begins Oct. 25 at restaurants, bars, indoor recreational events