By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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Rain or shine, the 175-foot former Peninsula Plywood chimney stack is slated for destruction today with explosives at 3:30 p.m.
Only winds “in the neighborhood of 40 to 60 miles an hour” would lead to postponement of the event, Port of Port Angeles Director of Engineering Chris Hartman said Friday.
Because explosives packed into the base of the 1,000-ton structure at 439 Marine Drive will be electronically detonated, it doesn't matter if it rains, he said.
Even so, there is a 30 percent chance of showers, though winds will be far below 40 mph, National Weather Service Meteorologist Josh Smith predicted Friday.
“The strongest winds will be earlier in the day,” he said.
“By 3:30, it shouldn't be more than 15 [mph] and probably will not be more than 10.”
The small area of North Cedar Street between the former PenPly site and Platypus Marine will hold about 200 spectators.
Spectators there will be about 150-200 yards from the stack when it comes down.
The area will be closed to traffic from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.
But roads where Valley, Second and Cedar streets intersect with Marine Drive, and Marine Drive in front of the 19-acre site, are available, except for up to 10 minutes at 3:25 p.m.
There will be limited parking for the event behind Westport Shipyard on Terminal 3. Spectators should enter via Tumwater Street.
Port officials are also suggesting that spectators view the event on the Third Street bluff overlooking the site between the Eighth Street bridges.
Port commission President Jim Hallett will emcee ceremonies that begin at 3 p.m. with a performance by Port Angeles High School Vocal Unlimited.
That will be followed by the lowering of the U.S. flag from the stack by retired PenPly employees and vocational education students.
From 3:10 p.m. to 3:25 p.m., presentations will be given by speakers including state Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon, Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd and port Commissioner John Calhoun.
Preschooler Jason Williams, 5, and sixth-grader Thomas Reynolds, 12, won a port-sponsored coloring contest to press the button that will set off the countdown to detonation.
A five-minute warning horn will sound at 3:25 p.m. followed by a one-minute warning horn at 3:29 p.m.
After detonation, the stack will fall to the north.
A reception and a display of mill-related artifacts, photographs, newspaper articles and original documents will be from 3:40 p.m. to about 5 p.m. at the port commission meeting room in the port's administrative offices, 338 W. First St.
The list of events and an event site plan is at www.portofpa.com.
A video of the blast will be at www.peninsuladailynews.com later this afternoon.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at email@example.com.