Port Angeles now has its own archaeologist

By Randy Trick, Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES - A city archaeologist is at work to survey the waterfront and create policy.

Derek Beery, 35, started as the Port Angeles archaeologist on Sept. 28.

City officials announced the hiring on Tuesday.

"What I will be doing is examining the different areas of the waterfront of the city and making a model of what the probability that [archeological] sites lie on those areas," Beery said.

The five-year position is funded by settlement money from the botched graving yard project that uncovered the 2,400-year-old Tse-whit-zen village.

Beery will survey the city's waterfront, create policy and offer advice to the city about where historically significant sites could be found and how to handle them.

He will work closely with the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe and the Port of Port Angeles, which owns significant amounts of waterfront land.

Beery will be involved in the planning and review of all construction projects that are state and federally funded, and therefore require archeological review.

Beery will create a predictive model based on what sites have already been found, as well as where sites are most likely based on traditional access to food and fresh water.

The money to pay for his position is part of a four-party settlement signed in August 2006 after the state Department of Transportation scrapped plans in December 2004 to build floating pontoons for the Hood Canal Bridge at a graving yard at the west end of the Port Angeles Harbor waterfront.

The project had been expected to be an economic boom for the city, and the settlement included $7.5 million each for the city and port to use for economic development.

The city also received $500,000 to recruit or retain businesses and fund an archaeologist position.

Beery attended Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, graduating with a bachelor's degree in archeology in 1995.

He earned his master's degree in archeology from the University of Montana in 1998.

Since graduating, he has worked with Historical Research Associates Inc., a Seattle-based archeology consulting firm that also has an office in Missoula, Mont.

Beery said he came to Port Angeles "looking for a change of pace" and loved the area when he visited.

Beery will make $62,436 annually.

He will answer to Nathan West, the city's principal planner.

Last modified: October 03. 2007 9:00PM
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