West Seattle, Washington
There are now three candidates in the running for the countywide Port of Seattle Commission seat that Courtney Gregoire is leaving. The first of those three to send an announcement is Dominic Barrera:
South King County may soon have representation on the Seattle Port Commission again, as Fire Commissioner, airport union leader, and environmental advocate, Dominic Barrera announced his intention to run for the open position being vacated by Courtney Gregoire.
Barrera has served as an elected Fire Commissioner for the North Highline Fire District since 2015, where he represents about 10,000 constituents in the communities of White Center and Boulevard Park. There, he was the driving force behind station improvements that increased workplace safety, helped craft an innovative joint-operation plan with a neighboring district to improve service and increase efficiency, and has twice amended and passed state legislation to protect low-income tax payers in his district.
“I’ve worked to balance budgets and restore the District’s economic stability without compromising the well-being of our employees or the communities we serve,” Barrera said. “I bring unparalleled experience, not only leading a public agency, but also working on the frontlines of a major Port facility, fighting for worker protections, and advocating for our environment. The Port of Seattle needs this kind of strong, well-balanced leadership in this critical time of growth.”
Barrera’s father, born in Tokyo to Mexican and Japanese parents, was an aircraft mechanic at Sea-Tac. Barrera himself has worked for Alaska Airlines for seven years, both in airport operations and accounting. Throughout his tenure, he has been a proud member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local 2202 and currently serves as a union shop steward to his peers at Sea-Tac.
Barrera was part of a successful grassroots campaign in 2015 to save the Myers Parcels, an environmentally critical wetland that feeds into the Duwamish River, from industrial development. He was later selected to lead PlantAmnesty, an environmental nonprofit that works to protect Seattle’s greenspace, as their Executive Director.
He and his fiancé, Andrea, live in the Highline-area, directly under Sea-Tac’s northern flight path and within earshot of seaport operations.
“I would bring a voice for people living in the areas most impacted by Port activities,” Barrera said. “I know firsthand how crucial it is for the Port of Seattle to be a good neighbor.”
Barrera also served on the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council board. The other two candidates who have registered Position 2 campaigns with the Public Disclosure Commission so far are Ali Scego and Preeti Shridhar, but we haven’t yet received an announcement from either. Position 5 is also up for election this year; so far incumbent Fred Felleman is the only registered candidate. The formal filing period is in mid-May; the primary election is August 6th.
1:53 PM: Though cruise-ship season doesn’t officially resume until May 4th, a big ship is at Pier 66 today and will then be at Harbor Island for a while. Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw tells WSB that the 3,804-passenger-capacity Norwegian Joy will move from the downtown dock to Vigor “for some minor interior work” before it returns to 66 for the May 4th departure. (This report indicates that’s the final phase in a “refit” as the two-year-old ship shifts to Alaska cruises after starting out in Asia.)
SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE: MarineTraffic.com shows the Joy is now off Harbor Island.
ADDED: Thanks to Max for the photo:
Two ships that Elliott Bay-watchers will see soon:
FIRST CRUISE SHIP ON MONDAY: Though regular weekly cruise-ship departures don’t start until May, the first call of the season will be on Monday (April 15th), when the Celebrity Cruises ship Eclipse stops at Pier 66. It will be on its way to Vancouver, B.C., where it will depart on a 12-night one-way cruise to Hawaii two days later. After that, the next arrivals aren’t scheduled until May 4th. See the full schedule here; the port’s 2019 cruise-season one-sheet is here.
MATSON’S MOVE: We’re following up on all the changes set in motion by last week’s vote approving short-term and long-term leases for West Seattle’s Terminal 5. The former, Matson, will have its first T-5 call on April 26, according to the Northwest Seaport Alliance, whose spokesperson Katie Whittier adds, in response to our inquiry, that “Matson yard equipment will be delivered to T-5 between now and April 22. The gate will open for receiving cargo on April 22.” According to the Matson website, that Hawaii-bound vessel should be the Mahimahi.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After almost five years of near-emptiness, Terminal 5 in West Seattle has container ships in its future again.
Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners, meeting as managing members of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, gave their approval today to an entwined package of leases that shuffle some other terminals as well as setting up T-5 for a $300+ million modernization project starting soon. Memos and overviews are all linked from the agenda – here’s the main one used by a series of presenters before the vote:
The vote wasn’t unanimous – two Tacoma reps expressed a variety of concerns – but it was emphatic.
Just before the vote, which followed a 3-hour briefing/discussion in the Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center, Seattle commissioner Peter Steinbrueck declared that it was no less than a question of “Are we a seaport of the future or a seapart of the past?” He said the plan is evidence “we’re thinking of the future … efforts to produce one of the best seaports on the West Coast” and proclaimed it “grand” as well as “overdue.”
Tomorrow (Tuesday, April 2nd), Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners meet as managing members of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, voting on a variety of documents key to the future of West Seattle’s Terminal 5. Among them, a sheaf of leases, from the two-phase lease with SSA Terminals to be the T-5 tenant post-modernization, to an interim lease that will move Matson‘s Hawaii service there, to leases that don’t directly involve T-5 but are part of the overall shuffle. Included in those, the plan for the Port to develop another cruise-ship terminal on the downtown waterfront, as noted in our February coverage. Also to be discussed/considered, the latest on the T-5 modernization project, for which agenda documents say bids are expected to be opened April 10th. Those documents and others the commissioners will consider tomorrow are all now linked from the agenda for the meeting, which starts at 11:30 am Tuesday at the Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center. There’s a public-comment period too.
We’ve received a few questions about why the Washington State Ferries vessel Puyallup is docked at Terminal 5 in West Seattle. No, it’s not waiting for space at nearby Vigor Industrial (where it was built). WSF spokesperson Ian Sterling explained when we inquired, “Puyallup is in for light maintenance for minor wear and tear on the car deck, as well as some work on the electrical systems.” He added that this is being done by Foss Maritime, which, you’ll recall, has had an interim lease for space at T-5 for the past few years: “We’re excited to have more options when it comes to maintenance and repair of the state fleet. Puyallup is expected to be at T-5 until the end of the month.” It’s usually on the Edmonds-Kingston run.
As reported here Thursday, the Northwest Seaport Alliance hasn’t finalized all the details of the new Terminal 5 lease package, so it postponed plans for managing members – port commissioners of Seattle and Tacoma – to vote on it next week. Now the new date is set: April 2nd, in a special 11:30 am meeting at the Sea-Tac Airport conference center.
In case you’re keeping track: The vote on new leases for West Seattle’s Terminal 5 has been postponed again. It was first expected on March 5th; while the Northwest Seaport Alliance managing members (port commissioners from Seattle and Tacoma) voted that day to authorize sending the T-5 modernization project out to bid, a vote on the leases first outlined last month was postponed until next Tuesday (March 19th). Then last night the NWSA changed that to “postponed/TBD.” So we checked today to see why. NWS spokesperson Nick Demerice tells WSB that some of the details are still being finalized, noting that the plan centered on SSA taking a berth at T-5 post-modernization isn’t just one lease but multiple leases, multiple parties, from multiple nations. They’re hoping the special vote meeting can be rescheduled for later this month. (When it is, you’ll see that here.)
(2015 photo of Terminal 5 by Long Bach Nguyen)
As previewed here Monday, Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners – meeting as the Northwest Seaport Alliance‘s managing members – voted Tuesday on soliciting bids for the Terminal 5 modernization project. They voted to authorize staff to proceed with that, and are now moving toward a March 19th vote on leases for T-5, following a briefing back on February 5th. Video from this week’s meeting is viewable here, where you’ll also find documents from the meeting. If the bidding process for the $340 million project proceeds as planned, work could start as soon as June. Before then, if its lease is finalized, Matson will move its operations to T-5 starting in April. According to Tuesday’s briefing, while SSA‘s lease as the long-term tenant of T-5 also would start in April, its rent payments wouldn’t start until 2021 – assuming Phase 1 of the modernization project is done by then.
P.S. If you see this before 6:30 pm, a reminder that a port rep is on the agenda at tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Commission meeting to talk about T-5. The meeting’s at Neighborhood House-High Point, 6400 Sylvan Way SW.
It’s been almost three weeks since the long-awaited announcement of a tenant for Terminal 5, enabling the Port of Seattle to move forward with a $340 million plan to modernize T-5. Managing members of the Northwest Seaport Alliance – the port commissioners of Seattle and Tacoma – meet this Tuesday to vote on sending the project out to bid; their votes on the leases for T-5, short term and long term, were also originally set for this meeting but are now not expected until March 19th. Tuesday’s agenda has links to the documents that have been made public so far. From those documents, here’s the overview recapping what the $340 million project is intended to do:
Program objectives include a terminal that is capable of handling two ultra-large class vessels, by early-2023. The improved wharf will support up to 12 cranes and provide ship-to-shore power for vessels berthed at the facility. …
Scope of Work
The Berth Modernization Project includes reconstruction of the waterside and landside crane rails, slope stabilization, berth deepening, and electrical supply/distribution upgrades, new fender system, and structural rehabilitation of the dock.
The upcoming program authorization request will cover construction of the Berth Modernization Project, tenant reimbursable stormwater treatment construction, and design and permitting of the remaining Uplands Improvement Project elements.
The Berth Modernization Project construction documents are ready to advertise, allowing work to begin as early as June 2019. Completion of the project would be phased to allow operations to begin in the north berth (Phase 1) while construction of the south berth is underway (Phase 2).
The north berth is where Matson would move on an interim basis, relocating from Terminal 30, as announced when the T-5 plan was revealed earlier this month.
Meantime, if you are wondering exactly where the $340 million is coming from, we asked port spokesperson Peter McGraw. Since this is an NWSA project, Seattle and Tacoma will basically split the cost. He adds:
Port of Seattle will be using a combination of tax levy cash, currently in the Harbor Development Fund that was set aside for this purpose, and general obligation bonds.
The Port of Tacoma anticipates using existing cash reserves generated through operations and previous borrowing. No additional Port of Tacoma debt will be required to fund this program.
There will also be investments from the proposed terminal operator.
That’s SSA, which is expected to invest up to $140 million in the T-5 first phase ($50 million in cranes, $50 million in “backland paving/improvements,” $35-$40 million in yard equipment).
The aforementioned levy is a countywide tax from which the port gets some of its money and has long been collecting below its authorization level. This document includes an explanation of this year’s levy increase:
… median household property tax payment to the Port would increase by $1.39, going from $68.80 per year in 2018 to $70.20 per year in 2019. In 2018, of the $5.6 billion that King County collected in property taxes, just 1.3 percent went to the Port of Seattle. The property tax levy made up less than five percent of the Port’s cash revenue in 2018.
McGraw says, “The Port has included the T-5 modernization program into its tax levy uses for the past few years before the levy increase, set aside in the Harbor Development Fund. Although T-5 is part of our waterfront re-visioning, the bulk of the increase is going toward … other waterfront projects.”
Meantime, the next three weeks before the T-5 lease vote on March 19th, McGraw says, will be used to “complete due diligence on the leases, which are decades-long commitments involving many entities, including local companies and international cargo carriers.”
Tuesday’s meeting starts at 9 am at the Conference Center on the south side of Sea-Tac Airport, and will include a public-comment period. If you have a comment on the T-5 plan, you can also contact the NWSA via e-mail.
P.S. Tuesday’s agenda also includes more on the future of Terminal 46, part of which the Port of Seattle is proposing using as an added cruise terminal. The groundwork is being laid by an agreement between the NWSA and the port that says 29 acres at the north end of T-46 would be used as a cruise facility starting in 2022. $200 million – half – its cost is envisioned as Port-funded, the other half by its prospective tenant.
(January 2015 photo of Terminal 5 by Long Bach Nguyen)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Just one week after a new promise that a tenant for Terminal 5 would be announced “soon” – we know who’s moving in.
And that news opens the door for the modernization project to begin; the city has just granted the permits.
A briefing is set to start at 11:30 am at the Northwest Seaport Alliance‘s managing-members’ (Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners) meeting at Sea-Tac Airport – you can watch the stream here.
First, the toplines. The last major tenant at Terminal 5, Westwood, moved out in 2014. The port and the NWSA have been planning the modernization project and seeking a tenant. From the announcement that’s being made today:
… The investments in Terminal 5 will be coordinated with the proposed new tenant, Stevedoring Services of America Terminals (SSAT) and Terminal International Limited (TIL Group). The proposal calls for a new 32-year lease with these two terminal operators, which together are in partnership with several of the world’s largest ocean carriers.
To support the Phase I construction schedule for Terminal 5 modernization, estimated to begin this Spring and be completed by 2021, the Port Commissioners will be considering a realignment of marine cargo in the Seattle Harbor. Specifically:
Matson’s Hawaii service moves from T-30 to the South berth of T-5 in Spring 2019.
International marine cargo would be re-assigned to the Terminals 18 & 5, beginning with the current customer at T-46, TTI, moving to T-18.
This presents the opportunity to use Terminal 46 for other project and break-bulk cargo, and relocating Seattle-based Foss Maritime, to this terminal. The Port of Seattle Commission is also studying using approximately 29 acres of the 86-acre Terminal 46 could be accommodate a cruise berth to meet the demand for Alaskan cruise industry, which is a growing business in Seattle. …
Foss has been an interim tenant at T-5.
Port commissioners are expected to take final action on the newly unveiled plan on February 26th.
1ST ADD: We talked this morning with Seattle Port Commissioner Fred Felleman, in advance of the briefing/meeting. First, what’s been a big issue for many West Seattleites looking ahead to the modernization project: No, the deal does not require ships to use shore power while berthed at T-5. But it will be shore-power capable, and he contends that will be attractive to shippers for financial as well as environmental reasons, since electricity here is relatively cheap.
He also notes that the new plan basically consolidates many freight operations at the two on-dock-rail-equipped terminals, 5 and 18 (which is on Harbor Island), which makes a dent in truck traffic. The port’s requirement for newer, cleaner trucks is already in place. And Felleman noted another port program that is making it possible for trucks to get in and out more efficiently, an economic benefit to drivers as well as an efficiency enhancement regarding traffic. And the T-5 project will come with a railroad “quiet zone,” as previously reported.
On another environmental point – Felleman notes that, with a background as a whale biologist, he shares the newly intensified concern about shipping noise and its effect on marine life including the Southern Resident Killer Whales. He is hopeful that fewer – though larger – ships will have less of a noise impact, though he acknowledges that research hasn’t verified that yet.
While the new T-5 tenants have partnerships with shipping alliances that already call in local ports, Felleman says they expect there will be a net increase in jobs.
2ND ADD, BRIEFING UPDATES, STARTING AT 12:24 PM: We are now at the NWSA meeting briefing on this, which is happening in the conference center at Sea-Tac. (Looks like the feed is up and running here.) The first slide deck they’re going through is here, and it begins with toplines from the report unveiled last week at T-18, regarding regional cargo-shipping economic impact.
Preceding this, it was reiterated that final action on this is three weeks away and the commissioners want to hear from the public. NW Seaport Alliance CEO John Wolfe called this “an exciting day” as they unveil the T-5 details, and noted that along with the port’s $340 million capital investment, there are two phases of private-sector investment totaling $250 million, “overall investment of half a billion dollars.”
Speaking of money:
12:20 PM: Four and a half years after Terminal 5‘s last major tenant left, we’re still waiting to hear word of a new tenant. Last fall, the projection was that there’d be an announcement before year’s end. Now, one month into the new year, the new estimate is “soon” – as in, before the end of the first quarter. So said Clare Petrich, Tacoma Port Commissioner speaking on behalf of the Northwest Seaport Alliance partnership, as NWSA released a new report about the value of the maritime business to our state. Plans for upgrading T-5 have been awaiting news of a tenant. Among the other speakers at the report’s unveiling was Seattle Port Commissioner Fred Felleman, who declared the report to be evidence of a “renaissance” in the maritime business. He, Petrich, Dan McKisson from the ILWU, and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (who toured a dock crane first) all spoke during today’s announcement at Terminal 18 on Harbor Island. We’ll add video when it’s ready, and a few more details from the report later; you can see the report in its entirety here (PDF).
4:05 PM: Here’s our video:
The report focuses very specifically on the impact of cargo shipping. Petrich noted that 90 percent of the world’s trade is done by water. One of the notable breakout charts in the report:
Here’s the NWSA news release with other highlights.
An FYI from Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw:
The THORCO ROYAL will be berthed at Terminal 5 in West Seattle for about three weeks starting tomorrow (Friday) to undergo vessel repairs prior to returning to sea.
It will be berthed from mid-dock (1500 foot mark) north to about the 2200 foot mark. There will not be any cargo activities associated with its layberthing at T-5.
MarineTraffic.com shows the cargo ship is already in West Seattle, currently at a dock on the Duwamish River.
Though a tenant has yet to be announced, the modernization plan for Terminal 5 in West Seattle is moving forward. The Northwest Seaport Alliance – the partnership of the Seattle and Tacoma ports – approved a 2019 budget today, and T-5 plans factor heavily into the announcement, which mentions “final negotiations with a potential tenant”:
At today’s special dual meeting, the Managing Members of The Northwest Seaport Alliance adopted a budget for 2019 as well as a five-year capital investment plan. The budget and investment plan allow for terminal modernization to accommodate larger vessels and retain a competitive position in the global marketplace. The budget also includes environmental and business development investments.
“With the adoption of this budget, we are sending a clear message to the industry and our communities that The Northwest Seaport Alliance is working,” said Courtney Gregoire, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of the NWSA. “It allows us to make transformative investments in our harbors so we are competitive in the global marketplace, attracting jobs and retaining the economic vitality of the Pacific Northwest.”
“Now in its third year, The Northwest Seaport Alliance remains strong,” said Clare Petrich, Port of Tacoma commission vice president and co-chair of the NWSA. “Our partnership with the Port of Seattle is good not only for our local communities but for manufacturers and farmers across the nation. This budget ensures the alliance will continue to benefit our region well into the future.”
Planned capital improvements take the NWSA one step closer to transforming Seattle’s Terminal 5 into a premier international container facility on the West Coast. The Managing Members passed a motion authorizing CEO John Wolfe to prepare a lease, bidding documents and a request for construction funds for the necessary upgrades. Final negotiations with a potential tenant are currently underway.
Improvements to T-5 will include dock and power upgrades and berth deepening to handle the world’s largest cargo ships. Currently, T-5 can handle vessels with a capacity of up to 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), but shipping lines are now investing in vessels with 18,000 TEU capacity or greater.
Once complete, T-5 will have a capacity of a 3 million TEUs annually.
Modernizations at T-5 bring environmental benefits as well, allowing creosote-treated wooden piles to be replaced with a panelized fender system and increasing the electrical capacity of the terminal for quieter, cleaner operations.
A negotiated lease and a request to initiate construction are expected to come to the Managing Members for approval in the first quarter of 2019.
Port reps had previously said that news of a T-5 tenant was likely before this year was out (most recently, when Seattle Port Commissioner Ryan Calkins spoke to the WS Chamber of Commerce two months ago). More than four years have passed since the last cargo-line tenant left T-5. Meantime, you can see the draft 2019 budget by going here. (We’re still reading through it for the financing specifics.)
UPDATED WEDNESDAY, 10:03 AM: NWSA says its estimate of T-5 volume was an error and so we have added a strikethrough above – they’ve removed it from their release, which you can see in its entirety here.
The ship that called at West Seattle’s Terminal 5 to pick up hundreds of pieces of U.S. Army equipment has left for South Korea. Thanks to Andrw for the tip; the vehicle carrier MV Green Cove left last night. While its destination information on MarineTraffic.com had displayed as simply “Far East” earlier in the day, it was listed a day earlier as bound for Busan, second-most-populous city in South Korea. The Port of Seattle had circulated advance word of the shipment plan earlier this month, and cargo like this caught eyes in the T-5 vicinity:
Thanks to Richard for that photo from last Saturday. The port said the shipments were being handled by its interim T-5 tenant Foss.
Thanks to Jim for the video. As seen on the rails behind Chelan Café this morning, that’s a closer look at some of the military equipment moving through Terminal 5 right now. As described by a Port of Seattle spokesperson, it’s part of “U.S. Army equipment, supplies, and provisions … part of a scheduled unit rotation of U.S. Forces to Korea,” being handled by Foss as part of its interim lease at T-5. Port Commissioner Ryan Calkins told the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce on Thursday that the shipments are primarily from Texas.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As military equipment was unloaded at West Seattle’s Terminal 5 today, the long-underutilized dock’s future was discussed nearby.
One of the newest members of the Port of Seattle Commission, Ryan Calkins, was the guest speaker at the annual “State of the Port” lunch presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce at port-owned Jack Block Park.
He was introduced by the Chamber’s board chair, Pete Spalding of Verity Credit Union (WSB sponsor), extolling the attributes of the park (whose namesake, the West Seattle-residing former port commissioner, was in attendance).
Calkins described himself as a small-business owner – saying that he used to own a business in Georgetown, sold it before running, but still has an interest in a business in Wallingford. He acknowledged that West Seattle is in the heart of both the benefits and impacts of the port. His wide-ranging speech, followed by Q&A, touched a variety of topics, including T-5.
Thanks for the tips. The Port of Seattle confirms it has been notifying community members about a military resupply operation that’ll be happening at West Seattle’s Terminal 5 in the next few weeks. Port spokesperson Peter McGraw explains:
Foss Maritime, through its lease with the Northwest Seaport Alliance, is mustering U.S. Army equipment, supplies, and provisions at Terminal 5, as part of a scheduled unit rotation of U.S. Forces to Korea. The military equipment is arriving via train and truck at Terminal 5 and is expected to ship in the next couple of weeks. There will be approximately 800 pieces of equipment, none of it munitions, including oversized cargo such as tanks as part of the vehicles.
Utilizing Terminal 5 allows all parties to gain operational experience and training in the event we must use the terminal because of a regional emergency, like a major earthquake. Moves such as this occur with regular frequency though NWSA South Harbor (Port of Tacoma) facilities.
McGraw adds that a “non-military vessel” related to this operation is due in next week. If you have a question, the port says you can take it to Nick Demerice, Director of Public Affairs for the Northwest Seaport Alliance, at 253-428-8624 or email@example.com. T-5, meantime, remains slated for future modernization, once a new tenant is found; the next public update on that is likely to be at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s “State of the Port” lunch (11:30 am September 13th at Jack Block Park – here’s how to register).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
On a morning when rain was busily washing the air clean, the Port of Seattle hosted an event in West Seattle to talk about progress in reducing air pollutants related to maritime industry.
The occasion: The newest report from the Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum, described in the announcement as “a committee of seven ports, six government agencies, and three industrial partners” (most listed here). They first started tracking maritime-related emissions in 2005, and the report shows some major decreases.
To showcase the newest results of the every-five-years study – the Puget Sound Maritime Air Emissions Inventory – the port invited media to the Terminal 5 administration building to hear from reps of many participating organizations and to see examples of what’s being used to take less of a toll on the local air.
Those examples included semi-trucks powered with alternative fuel (top photo) and jars showing the dark heavy-oil fuel that’s declining in use, next to lighter fuel whose use is on the rise:
Opening the event, Seattle Port Commission president Courtney Gregoire described the report as “good news.”
She says it’s a “voluntary effort” that launched more than a decade ago. It “informs our strategy about future investments” among other things, and she says it is a reminder that “climate change is real.” This is the third inventory since 2005. The international standard for fuel has factored into it.
This is the first one that has tracked “black carbon” though it doesn’t remain in the atmosphere for long. And she says it shows good news though what they’re serving has grown, including the Seattle cruise boom. “It comes with a cost,” of course, she notes.
You might have noticed two sizable ships in at West Seattle’s Terminal 5. Turns out both are there after trouble at sea. The 961-foot container ship MOL Prestige arrived about two weeks ago after an engine-room fire off the British Columbia coast. And over the weekend, the 653-foot bulk carrier Federal Iris arrived after losing power off the Oregon coast. Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw confirmed to WSB that both are being handled by Foss Maritime, “under a license agreement with the NW Seaport Alliance.” The Prestige, he says, “is still undergoing inspections, and is expected to depart around March 15th,” while the Iris is also being inspected and likely to leave by the end of this week – both departure dates, McGraw cautions, are estimates.
What you see on the barge in our photo above are hundreds of creosote-treated pilings removed from the north end of the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 in West Seattle. We reported back in October that the removal was about to begin, as explained in this document. This morning, the port invited news media to T-5 for an update.
So far, the port says, 2,300 pilings have been removed; back in 2000, the port had an estimated 18,000 of them, and with this and other removal operations, they are down to 8,000. As the port news release explains:
Creosote-treated pilings and timbers were used for more than 100 years throughout Puget Sound, as fundamental structural elements in marine cargo and transportation infrastructure. Present-day marine facility piers and docks have replaced creosote construction with inert steel and concrete pilings, and in many cases fender systems requiring no piling have been installed.
The show-and-tell today also included an underwater camera nicknamed Ringo, used in the removal operation:
This part of the cleanup operation also involves restoration of more than four acres of habitat. The importance of the continuing restoration and cleanup was underscored by James Rasmussen of the nonprofit Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition:
Port commissioner Fred Felleman, who has a decades-long background in marine conservation, spoke as well:
And state Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz was there.
The $6.8 million pilings-removal project has a state angle, as noted in our October report – this part of the cleanup was related to the termination of a state lease more than a decade ago.
Our October report also included details on exactly how the pilings were to be removed. They are to be barged up the Duwamish River to the Waste Management facility, from which they will be sent to the Columbia Ridge landfill in Oregon for permanent disposal.
(2015 photo of Terminal 5, by Long Bach Nguyen)
Still no new tenant for West Seattle’s Terminal 5, but another permit has been granted for its potential expansion/redevelopment. The Port of Seattle sent word today that it’s received the “shoreline substantial development permit” for the project – you can see the permit document here.
As for what’s happening currently at T-5 – which continues to see some activity, three and a half years after its official closure as a cargo terminal – the port confirms that Foss Maritime continues to lease space. You’ve probably noticed the heavy-lift ship Ocean Jazz there in recent weeks; port spokesperson Peter McGraw tells us it’s been there awaiting its next assignment, and is expected to head back to sea soon. It’s part of the Military Sealift Command, as are other vessels that have berthed there.
UPDATED 1:51 PM: Just approved as the new Port of Seattle executive director, during today’s ongoing Port Commission meeting (here’s the live stream): Retired Rear Admiral Stephen P. Metruck. He retired from the U.S. Coast Guard last year after 34 years. His background includes three years as the USCG’s captain of Sector Seattle, 2005-2008. The executive director position is the top appointed leadership position at the Port, renamed after the departure of former CEO Ted Fick. The commission vote was unanimous.
ADDED 1:58 PM: Metruck will start work February 1st and be paid $350,000 a year, according to the official port news release we’ve just obtained: Read More