By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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Excavators began ripping into the 180,000-square-foot former Peninsula Plywood building at 439 Marine Drive this week and continued chewing away at the walls of the now mostly roofless structure Wednesday morning.
“By the end of the week, it should be pretty much to the ground,” said Chris Hartman, director of engineering for the Port of Port Angeles.
The port owns the prime 19-acre waterfront site on the western edge of downtown Port Angeles and adjacent to Platypus Marine Inc., located on North Cedar Street.
“It's going to go pretty slow after the roof and walls are down because they are salvaging the majority of the flooring,” Hartman said.
Once the mill building is gone, all that will remain of 11 buildings totaling 227,000 square feet will be a pile of rubble waiting to be gone through for salvageable materials and some small shop structures, Hartman said.
On Tuesday, workers finished swathing the towering 175-foot chimney stack in plastic in preparation for a labor-intensive task: removing toxic, asbestos-laden paint — including the K Ply logo on the stack, for a company that once ran the mill — before the stack is toppled in early spring.
A two-story office building of about 8,500 square feet that fronts Marine Drive will remain on the site, Hartman said.
It may be occupied by a new tenant.
The port wants to develop the property for marine trades.
The site has been home to a plywood mill under various names since 1941.
The mill site shut down for good in December 2011, when the second incarnation of PenPly expired owing the port, city and state Department of Labor and Industries $2.4 million.
The $1.6 million demolition and salvaging project by Rhine Demolition of Tacoma is slated for completion by May 3.
The site is contaminated by benzene and petroleum products.
The pollution will be abated during a multiyear planning and removal process that will begin later this year.
Port commissioners Monday unanimously approved a professional services contract with Floyd|Snider environmental consultants of Seattle, which will devise a remedial investigation-feasibility study and draft a cleanup action plan.
The port is eligible for 75 percent reimbursement from a recently awarded $2 million Department of Ecology Remedial Action Grant.
About $3.1 million will be spent on environmental cleanup, which Ecology has estimated will last until the end of 2017, almost five years from now.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at email@example.com.