By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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Both structures are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The review of the 5,000-square-foot warehouse, constructed in 1926 as the port’s first building, is being prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, port Environmental Specialist Jesse Waknitz told port commissioners Tuesday.
Five port tenants are in the building, located between Cedar and Tumwater streets.
When waves crash against the pier underneath Washington Marine Repair Office Manager Chandra McGoff’s office, she can feel the logs banging against the pilings, she said.
“If I walk out just outside our back door, I can look through the railroad ties right there and can see down into the water,” she added.
“This building, though, has character.”
But its eligibility for historical recognition doesn’t mean the shed-warehouse, which is being considered for demolition or preservation, requires additional permits or must be protected, said Tacoma historic preservationist Michael Sullivan, a principal in the firm Artifacts Consulting Inc.
In November, the Tacoma company released a 183-page cultural resource survey of the building, the port’s fuel pier and Terminals 1, 3, 4 and 7.
“If you own property on a national register anywhere in America, you can tear it down if you want to,” Sullivan said Wednesday.
“The national register has no protections.
“The requirement is that you identify it and state it’s there, but it does not obligate you to preserve it.
“For those of us who are preservationists, it is kind of frustrating,” Sullivan said.
Waknitz said cost estimates to demolish or preserve the shed-warehouse have not been determined.
A decision on the fate of the building is at least five years away, he said.
If the shed-warehouse is not demolished, it would be “very costly” to go through the roof and the floor to replace the pilings underneath, Waknitz added.
Along with Washington Marine Repair, the building includes the office of port Marine Terminal Manager Mike Nimmo and quarters for port tenants A1 Commercial Diving Services, Alcan, CCS Industrial Services and Platypus Marine Inc.
Port Property Manager Tanya Kerr said a determination on the building’s future is too far out in the future to consider the rental fate of those tenants.
“It’s not far enough down the road,” she said.
As part of the 10-year project, repairing and replacing Terminal 1 pilings and dolphins and repairing the terminal’s pier alone will cost $3 million, half of which is federal-grant-funded.
The pilings that will be replaced and repaired are failing or are made with creosote, which is hazardous to marine life.
Waknitz presented his report Tuesday as part of the port’s state Environmental Policy Act review of the 10-year project, which includes maintenance activities at Terminals 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7, as well as the Port Angeles Boat Haven and the port’s log rafting area.
The project is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment but will not require an environmental impact statement because those impacts will be mitigated to a level of nonsignificance, he said.
The port issued a mitigated determination of nonsignificance Jan. 23. No state agencies challenged the determination, Waknitz said Wednesday.
The port will work with state and federal agencies and time pile-driving activities to minimize the impact on marine mammals and marbled murrelets, according to Waknitz’s report.
It also lists demolition as an option for the shed and says the Artifacts Consulting Inc. report recommends the pier and shed for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The whole idea of public ports is kind of unique to our part of the world,” Sullivan said.
It is significant, he said, that the shed was the first building constructed by the port, formation of which was approved by Clallam County voters in 1922.
“You’ve still got the first log-cabin-of-the-settlement type kind of thing still there,” Sullivan said.
“Most other ports, because they’ve overgrown their origins, there is very little that remains from the first year.
“Those are key, honest records of the beginning.”
He said one way “to make lemonade out of the whole thing” would be to recycle materials used to build the structure, including heavy timber.
Framing for the building consisted of 8-inch square posts set on a 4-inch-by-8-inch plate.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.