Archive for March 2013

Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Gets Weyerhaeuser Property in Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, Wash. – Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority and Weyerhaeuser Company have announced the transfer of the former Weyerhaeuser sawmill property in south Aberdeen to GHHSA. The approximately 24-acre site, appraised at $2.34 million, will be re-developed into a public waterfront facility called Seaport Landing. Specific plans call for the eventual creation of a new tourism destination and home port for the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain, which are owned and operated by GHHSA. The transaction closed today.
“This is a major step toward achieving a long-held dream in Aberdeen, improved public access to the Chehalis River and a tangible connection to our maritime past,” said GHHSA Executive Director Les Bolton.
”Today’s announcement allows for the former sawmill property to be put back into productive use and will help the Seaport meet its long-term vision of creating a world-class public waterfront facility. We congratulate the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority and wish them well with this new venture.” said Anthony Chavez, government and community relations manager for Weyerhaeuser.
Weyerhaeuser will retain ownership of approximately 200 acres, which includes the former Bay City Log Export Yard. The company is still evaluating options for that property.
The Historical Seaport will now begin development of a detailed comprehensive master plan for Seaport Landing, which will lay out development and fundraising activities over the next several years.
If all goes well, the Historical Seaport will bring Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain to Seaport Landing for Aberdeen SPLASH on July 4 and invite the public to visit the ships at Seaport Landing. The project includes 14 acres leased from the Department of Natural Resources, bringing the total size of the site to 38 acres.

Hoquiam Standoff Investigation Transitions, Tips Sought by Regional Task Force

HOQUIAM, Wash. – As the ongoing investigation into the police standoff in Hoquiam changes hands, please remember that details of the incident become part of that investigation. The Critical Incident Investigation Team, lead by a group of regional sheriffs as well as the State Patrol, will provide an objective look into multiple officer involved shootings and then forward their reviews to respective prosecuting attorney’s offices who will then decide whether the shooting that ended the standoff was justified.

This news department does not plan to release, inquest, or dwell on, details of that case until the investigation can be concluded and as many questions as possible answered.


Anyone who feels they may have important details in the case, is asked to call the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department at 360-249-6070 ext 567.


Governor Inslee Sends Thanks and Continued Condolences

“We thank the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle for their assistance in identifying the dock as marine debris from the tsunami and for obtaining needed information to prepare for its disposal.

“The United States and Washington State value the strong collaboration with Japan on the issue of marine debris. We in Washington look forward to continuing our cooperative efforts. We also will continue working closely with our federal partners to wisely use the gift of funds to respond to debris and protect our coastal environment.

“We also wish to express appreciation to our federal partners, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Olympic National Park, for their close collaboration with the State of Washington when the dock arrived and we needed to rapidly assess and respond to immediate public health, safety, and environmental concerns. State and federal responders worked well together to overcome hurdles presented by winter storms, high tides and surf conditions, and the rugged, remote nature of the coastal area where the dock washed ashore. We look forward to ongoing collaborative efforts with our federal partners to help ensure the health of our coastal beaches.” 

Removal of Tsunami Dock Near Forks Completed

“Thanks to the extraordinary teamwork of all involved, the dock has been removed. No one was injured and the potential for environment impacts has been reduced significantly. But this cannot erase the tragedy experienced by the people of Japan,” said Carol Bernthal, sanctuary superintendent. “Throughout this project, we’ve been reminded that the ocean connects people. Our common concern for the ocean environment brought us together to solve this problem, and our common respect for one another made us acutely aware of how interdependent all ocean peoples are.”

The removal effort was supported by many state and federal agencies. Washington’s Marine Debris Task Force provided support for the initial response in December 2012, inspected the dock for non-native species, and continued to provide information on their website. The U.S. Coast Guard initially located the dock after it was reported by a mariner. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also supported the effort’s planning and preparation, and NOAA’s National Weather Service provided spot forecasts for the area, ensuring that the contractors and agency staff were using reliable weather information during the removal work.

To ensure contractor and visitor safety, the coastal area of Olympic National Park between Goodman Creek and Jefferson Cove had been closed to all public entry. These areas have now been reopened.

“The coastline of Olympic National Park is one of the most popular wilderness destinations in North America,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Thanks to the excellent work by The Undersea Company, the support of our state and federal partners, and the generous gift from the government of Japan, we are able to reopen this wild stretch of coast to the public.”

The cost for the $628,000 removal effort was paid by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the national park, and with funds provided to NOAA from the government of Japan to help with cleanup of marine debris from the tsunami.

“We are grateful to our federal and state partners in Washington state for all the work that went into this successful removal operation. It was collaboration at its best,” said Nancy Wallace, director of NOAA’s Marine Debris Program. “We also thank the government of Japan for generously contributing funds to remove this dock and other tsunami debris from U.S. coastlines, so that we may mitigate any impacts.”

Since the 2011 tsunami, NOAA has been leading efforts with federal, state and local partners to coordinate a response, collect data, assess the debris and reduce possible impacts to natural resources and coastal communities. Mariners and the public can help report debris by emailing [email protected] with information on significant sightings. For the latest information on tsunami debris please visit Japan Tsunami Marine Debris at http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/tsunamidebris.

Olympic National Park protects more than 70 miles of wild Pacific coast. Most of this coastline was designated by Congress as Wilderness in 1988, and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Wilderness Act of 1964 established the National Wilderness Preservation System and established a policy for the protection of wilderness resources for public use and enjoyment. The park was internationally recognized in 1976 as a World Heritage Site. More information about Olympic National Park is available at http://www.nps.gov/olym.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1994, spans 3,200 square miles of marine waters off the rugged Olympic Peninsula coastline. The sanctuary protects a productive upwelling zone – home to rich marine mammal and seabird faunas, diverse populations of kelp and intertidal algae, and thriving invertebrate communities. The sanctuary is also rich in cultural resources, with more than 150 documented historical shipwrecks and the vibrant contemporary cultures of Makah, Hoh, and Quileute tribes and the Quinault Indian Nation.

Time lapse and other videos are posted on the Washington Ecology YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8BmI4b96dKbvCW0Z1J0fU_kDIviNqrbZ.

Photos of the removal are posted on the Washington Ecology Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ecologywa/sets/72157632473219008/

Shelton Teen Arrested With BB Gun at School

SHELTON, Wash. – A 15 year old girl was arrested at Shelton High High School yesterday afternoon when Shelton police were called to the report of a person with a weapon in the school.
Lieutenant Les Watson with the department tells us officers found a BB gun that had the general appearance of a semi-automatic handgun. The girl was booked into the Mason County Juvenile Dentention center on related charges.

Hoquiam Water Main Break

Hoquiam, WA- The City of Hoquiam has suffered a major water line break on Simpson Avenue at 7th Street. We are told city staff, with the assistance of Rognlin’s are on scene, and are preparing to repair a 10 inch waterline. There are several blocks and many businesses out of water.

The City of Hoquiam is anticipating it will take 6 or more hours to make the repair. The staff on scene was able to maintain water service to Emerson Manor by making a temporary connection off Levee Street.

There is a road closure on US 101 blocking southbound traffic. The detour starts at 6th street.

Press Conference Hoquiam Standoff Concludes

Hoquiam Standoff Ends in Suspect Shooting

HOQUIAM, Wash. – State route 101 in Hoquiam is open again after an overnight detour around a standoff that ended when the suspect was shot dead this morning in the 2800 block of Aberdeen Avenue.
Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s department said at a press conference this morning “The SWAT members who were involved are going to be interviewed. At this point we do know he was at the front door of the residence, armed with a firearm. We know that he had already fired upon the officers, so after a number of commands for him to drop the weapon, SWAT members had to discharge their firearms.
The SWAT team had been firing stun grenades into the home overnight, however Sergeant Brian Dayton with the Hoquiam Police Department said investigators do not yet know what started the fire that forced the man out.
Hoquiam Sergeant Jeff Salstrom was involved in the shooting has since been released from the hospital and is on paid administrative leave, his Chief Jeff Myers said earlier “I had an opportunity to visit with him and his family this morning, he is doing well. He did suffer some injuries as a result of this incident so we are very thankful that he is OK.”
Salstrom suffered minor injuries from two gunshots sustained during the initial confrontation. Shumate said that detectives are now trying to positively identify the suspect who provided a false identification before the standoff. “He had a vaild Washington State driver’s license with a different name [that] at this point we do not believe to be him other than the picture.
Myers said morning that the investigation will be turned over to the regional Critical Incident Investigation team. “There are many scenes, and many situations that have occurred, inclusive of the fire now and making sure that the building is secure so that they [investigators] can go in and do their job.
The standoff began just after 11 yesterday morning after Salstrom was shot while trying to arrest the man.

Standoff Concludes After Suspect Leaves Burning Home, Exchanges Gunfire

HOQUIAM, Wash. – The 20-hour standoff is over in the 2800 block of Aberdeen Avenue, now crews are responding to a large fire at the same home.

Hoquiam police confirm the suspect exchanged gun fire with officers and is “down.” Sergeant Brian Dayton tells us after flames became visible from the home, the suspect ran outside and exchanged gunfire with SWAT members who had the home surrounded.

The SWAT team has been firing stun grenades into the home this morning, however Dayton said investigators do not know what started the fire.

As fire crews continue to respond to the housefire, traffic is being diverted from the Simpson Avenue Bridge to the port industrial route.

The bus supervisor at the Hoquiam School District moved to two bus stops for students in the area this morning.

The standoff began just after 11 yesterday morning after an officer was shot while trying to arrest a man who later barricaded himself in the second story of a home.
The officer involved in the shooting has since been released from the hospital and is on paid administrative leave, he suffered minor injuries from two gunshots sustained during the initial confrontation.
Dayton tells us the man avoided verbal contact since 4 hours into the standoff, when he fired several shots at the State Patrol’s SWAT vehicle while members fired tear gas into the home.

Hoquiam School Buses Rerouted Due to Contiuing Standoff

HOQUIAM, Wash. - The bus supervisor will be moving two bus stops for students near a standoff that continues in the 2800 block of Aberdeen Avenue in Hoquiam this morning.

Students that catch bus 403 in the 2800 block of 28th street will need to walk two blocks to the 300 block of Ontario.
Students catching Bus 405 at Aberdeen and 24th, or Aberdeen and 29th streets will need to walk to the intersection of Aberdeen and Ontario behind the Hoquiam YMCA.

Traffic is also being diverted from the Simpson Avenue Bridge to the port industrial route past 22nd street, with 27th to 29th street still closed.