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When the wall comes tumbling down

The Port of Kingston will replace its rock wall in preparation for winter weather.  - Brad Camp/Staff photo
The Port of Kingston will replace its rock wall in preparation for winter weather.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff photo

Port looking to rebuild rock wall and expand marina.

KINGSTON — A large rock wall borders what locals refer to as North Beach and harbors the Kingston Ferry Terminal from the cove’s occasional foul weather.

During a 2006 storm, many of the wall’s boulders toppled into the water below. Some continue to slide down the ever-sloping hill, due to what Ross Carlson, a Port of Kingston employee, jokingly refers to as a “sink hole.”

Carlson, who helps maintain the sliding wall, said when it was originally constructed no fabric was laid down to prevent the silt from eroding out from under the larger rocks.

“What’s in jeopardy now is the whole ferry terminal,” said Mike Bookey, port manager. The port leases the ferry terminal space to Washington State Ferries in 20-year renewable leases.

As fall approaches, the fear is that another storm will rip more of the wall away and the terminal’s holding area could be the casualty of a natural catastrophe.

Bookey estimates reconstruction of the wall will cost between $400,000-500,000. The Federal Emergency Management Agency already agreed to pay 75 percent of the tab, he said. The port and the Washington State Emergency Management Services will split the remaining cost, Bookey said.

Reconstruction of the wall is scheduled for this fall. The project is slated to go to bid in October.

Besides reconstruction of the North Beach wall, the port has a few other things up its marina sleeves.

Besides expanding port services to include a passenger water transit ferry to downtown Seattle, the port is looking to expand its marina.

Currently, waiting lists for any of the 262 dock slips are years out. Permanent moorage for any of the slips are between two and 14 years.

The guest dock also poses problems supplying the summer demand from mid May through September.

“We have to turn away at least 20 to 30 boats on weekends,” Bookey said.

In expanding the marina Bookey said the hope is to accommodate the tribal fishermen and recreational boaters on the guest dock which currently hosts 49 slips.

“Kingston is an important location for fishing in the sound,” Bookey said. “We hope to work with the tribes because they use these waters for geoduck fishing.”

At the last port meeting on Aug. 24, port commissioners made a motion to invest in the feasibility of expansion.

Bookey said he believes increased usage of the port is due to higher gas prices forcing shorter, more local trips.

“The guest dock usage is way up but we are selling less fuel, that’s how we know,” he said.

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