Mill dock removal starts Monday

Ennis Creek concerns

PORT ANGELES — After a week’s delay, workers will start Monday on the full-on dismantling of the 1,050-foot Rayonier pulp mill dock that juts into Port Angeles Harbor east of the city’s downtown core.

Floating equipment arrived at the site Thursday, Warren Snyder, director of legacy sites for Rayonier Advanced Materials, the current land owner, said Friday in an email.

The initial removal of about 800 concrete panels as part of the overall environmental cleanup of the 75-acre site will occur from a barge before equipment is staged onshore, Rayonier AM spokesperson Ryan Houck said last week in an email.

The panels will be stacked for potential future reuse on the site.

“The panel removal typically occurs first, with the staging to follow after they have enough panels on the barge to offload (likely later in the week),” Houck said. “All of this is subject to unforeseen changes, but that’s the plan.”

Work will include removal of a warehouse on the 250-foot-wide pier and removal of a 120-foot-long, 14-foot-wide railroad trestle across Ennis Creek, an urban, fish-bearing stream that empties into the harbor.

Robbie Mantooth, co-founder of the environmental stewardship group Friends of Ennis Creek, had expressed concerns about work conducted at the mouth of the waterway.

Snyder told Mantooth in an email that the concrete piers under the trestle are not new and that logs were not placed there by Rayonier but appear to have floated in from the harbor.

“The work we are planning to start [this] week is just removal of the above water decking, from the trestle,” Snyder said.

“No work will be done on the concrete abutments or concrete piers in the creek channel, no pilings will be removed and no sediment or gravel will be disturbed.”

Houck has said the panels, some of which were removed in November, will be completely removed by the end of July. More than 5,000 toxic creosote pilings will be pulled out of the harbor at an unspecified date in the future.

“We are finalizing plans to remove the remainder of the dock,” Houck said in an email.

“Essentially, we’re working in coordination with [the Department of Natural Resources] and [Department of] Ecology to pursue a ‘phased’ approach. The current dock work is the first phase.”

Ecology officials have predicted that overall cleanup of the parcel, which Rayonier AM is funding at an cost of $26.6 million, will begin in 2023.

“We’ll defer to Ecology on the timeline since they’re leading this process,” Houck said.

Debris from deck and warehouse removal will be transported off-site for disposal or recycled.

The project is part of a cleanup that’s in its 21st year.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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