Sculpture to be moved by native plants project near Port Angeles' Valley Creek estuary
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
An excavator digs the area around the whale bone sculpture by Alex Anderson on Tuesday at Valley Creek Estuary Park in Port Angeles.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A 7-ton concrete sculpture made to recall a whale vertebra will be moved and planted not far from its current home near Valley Creek estuary in the coming weeks.

The move is part of a project to plant native trees and shrubs along the stretch of grass north of a plaza housing a historical marker and eventually will be integrated with the city's West End park project, said Nathan West, city community and economic development director.

“It's some initial work that is a prerequisite for moving forward with West End park,” West said.

Local contractor

The city has inked a $31,046 contract with Carlsborg-based C&J Excavating to perform the work, which includes removal of an old irrigation system and installing a new one, putting in native plants and moving the sculpture, West explained.

West said Tuesday that the work is expected to be complete within the next two weeks.

“They're moving pretty fast down there,” he said.

Alex Anderson, the artist behind the concrete creation, said he has been in touch with the contractor about moving the sculpture but had not heard a firm date for the move as of Tuesday.

Moved with a crane

He said, though, that moving it likely will require a crane, just as was needed when the piece was installed in September 2012.

West said the sculpture will be moved just to the north across the existing pathway and will be at the center of a circular plaza to be built as part of the $2.48 million West End park project.

The new park will add two small beaches and three public plazas to the city-owned land along the water just west of North Oak Street.

The improvements also will extend the Waterfront Trail from Dry Creek estuary through the park and connect with the stretch built as part of the city's $3.9 million esplanade project, which was opened to the public last September.

The city has secured $1.6 million in grants for the new park, with the city's contribution coming in at $858,437.

“We are hoping to go out and advertise for bids in the next few weeks,” West said Tuesday.

Vegetation types

Native vegetation planted in the roughly 2,800-square-foot space near the Soroptimists plaza will include Sitka spruces, Douglas firs, three different species of willow and four kinds of native shrubs, West said.

The plantings are part of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit requirement for environmental mitigation needed after the esplanade was built just to the east along the shore of Port Angeles Harbor, West explained.

The city had first planned to install the plants during construction of West End park, West said, but Army corps officials wanted it done sooner.

“[They] wanted to make sure the trees themselves were planted during a good time of year,” West said.

Once begun, West said, West End park construction is expected to take about 18 months.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 08. 2014 7:08PM
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