1980 - 1989
The Port completes an $18 million south marina expansion, extending the Everett Yacht Basin (now the Central Docks) to include restaurants, walkways, shops and 1,200 new moorage slips south of 14th Street. The expansion makes the Port’s public marina the largest on the West Coast with 2,100 slips.
The Port also completes work on the first phase of Norton Terminal (site of the former Robinson Manufacturing mill and plywood factory) planning to use the new terminal for trade and cargo. Steel pipes are among the first goods handled at the site.
The Weyerhaeuser Company Mill A manufacturing site — the company’s first Everett plant — ceases its pulp operations. Wood products, including shingles and pulp, had been processed there since the 1890s. The Port later purchases the 69-acre property around 1983, cleans it up (one of the area’s largest environmental cleanups), and then uses it as a log-export loading area. (As of 2017, the Port uses the property, now its South Terminal, to service some of the world’s largest roll-on, roll-off (or Ro/Ro) ships and to accommodate a variety of general and breakbulk cargoes, including aerospace, military, agricultural, cars, trucks, and mining energy and construction equipment.
The name of the waterfront’s main north-south road is changed from Norton Avenue to West Marine View Drive.
The 336-foot-long fish processing ship Al-Ind-Esk-A Sea, anchored off the Port of Everett’s Pier 1, catches fire and sinks in Port Gardner Bay about a half-mile from shore. Crowds along the waterfront watch it burn for almost two days before it slips below the surface. The top of the wreck sits around 180 feet underwater; at the time, the Port marks the site with a yellow buoy to warn boaters against anchoring there. The site is still marked on nautical maps today and is a challenging dive site.
Cruise-A-Home, the business that since 1968 had sold its unique and popular motor yacht/houseboat watercrafts throughout the region, declines and eventually closes. The company’s Everett plant had assembled over 500 of the pleasure boats.
The Weyerhaeuser Office Building is donated to the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce, which then sells it to the Port of Everett for $1. The Port barges the building from the shuttered Mill B site at the north end of Everett (where it had served as office space until the mill closed in 1979) down the Snohomish River to the waterfront. The structure generates much public interest and affection. With the move, the Port sponsors restoration of the building's exterior and interior, and its new location along West Marine View Drive sits at the entrance to the Port's new Marina Village complex. The building later houses the Everett Chamber of Commerce.
A strike and march at the Nord Door factory on the north bayfront area is reported to be the largest labor demonstration in Everett in 70 years, with a reported 60 area locals joining in. The strike lasts more than two years and ousts Local 1054 of the Lumber Production and Industrial Workers union from the plant. Nord Door, which had once been the world’s largest maker of wood panel doors and in the mid-1960s employed around 800 people, was bought in 1986 by Jeld-Wen Inc. — which operated in Everett without a union. Jeld-Wen closed the factory in 2005.
The Port builds a chill facility at Norton Terminal to handle perishable goods, starting with apples being exported from eastern Washington — and other apples imported from New Zealand. Later, a wharf extension is built at Norton Terminal.
The Port signs a 13-month lease for 20 acres at Norton Terminal to be used as a site to build parts for an oil rig destined for Alaska. The monthly rent: $47,075. Similar work is done in 1988 as well.
Everett is selected as the future site of a U.S. Navy homeport, to be called Naval Station Everett. Reaction from the community is mixed, but a voter initiative on the November ballot about whether to accept the base is approved by a nearly 2 to 1 margin. The Port begins exploring its potential role in the massive homeport project.
The Port’s South Marina (now called South Docks) is built, taking advantage of waterfront views and access to the expanded Yacht Basin, as well as the future Navy homeport. The development includes several restaurants and businesses and later offers a hotel (now closed), concerts and the Everett Farmers Market. Part of the property sits on the footprints of the 1800s-era Clough-Hartley and Robinson mills.
The Port lines up studies and cleanup work for the Weyerhaeuser Mill A site.
The now-beloved 1920s-era Weyerhaeuser Office Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Port continues to maintain the structure, later giving it a new roof and painting the exterior.
The Everett Yacht Club, beset by growing economic losses, sells its waterfront clubhouse — which includes a restaurant, a bar and the Black Prince meeting room, as well as the adjacent Ramwell Hall meeting space — to the Port of Everett for $850,000 — reportedly about the price it cost to build the space in 1968. The Port leases the Black Prince room and the building’s kitchen and dining room back to the longtime club for meetings and functions.
Jetty Island Days, a cooperative summertime program between the Port of Everett and Everett Parks and Community Services, begins. A free ferry and a series of events encourage summertime visitors to explore and celebrate the two-mile-long island — the Port’s largest property, even today. Some 25,000 people visit the island between 1986 and 1990 to enjoy its sandy beaches and warm, shallow water (a rarity in Puget Sound); by 2017 the annual number of island visitors numbers will top 50,000.
The U.S. Forest Service acts to protect the northern spotted owl from decline by limiting timber sales in mature portions of national forests — a move that will impact local logging and Port business in the following decades. The issue had been on the timber industry’s radar since the 1970s when Oregon biologists discovered that the owls needed old-growth forests for their habitats.
By a unanimous vote of the Port Commission, the Port sells approximately 110 acres of its shipping terminals between 19th and 21st streets and West Marine View Drive (including the Norton Terminal and East Waterway properties) to the U.S. Navy for the future Everett Navy homeport aircraft carrier base — generating nearly $40 million for the Port for future economic development. The former Robinson Manufacturing Company’s site is part of the new homeport’s footprint.
The Port teams with the City of Everett to create the West Marine View Drive/Alverson Bridge transportation improvements. The Port’s involvement stems from a $6 million commitment to improve vehicular access to the waterfront following its sale of south bayfront acreage to the Navy.
The Port adopts its “2 percent for public access” policy, which commits 2 percent of capital improvement projects within the shoreline zone that are not conducive to on-site public access to be allocated to projects that improve public access along the waterfront.
The Port’s South Terminal (the former Weyerhaeuser Mill A site) is cleaned up and developed into a log-export facility.
The Mukilteo Tank Farm closes.
The Port, with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, builds a new marsh with dredged Snohomish River materials on the west side of Jetty Island. The project includes construction of a 1,500-foot berm and a 15-acre protected mudflat; the berm is designed to protect a salt marsh lagoon intended to increase species diversity and provide foraging habitat for juvenile salmon.
Rising to the Challenge: the Spotted Owl/Logging and Homeport
In 1984, out of 13 possible locations, the U.S. Navy picked Everett as a future homeport site because of its strategic location and deep-water port — one of 10 carrier sites in the nation. This brought to the region a mix of wariness, excitement and relief — and a nearly $40 million cash infusion to the Port, which in 1987 sold around 110 acres to the Navy to provide space for the site.
The homeport project wouldn’t come to fruition until the next decade but in the meantime, other large-scale projects brought significant change to the waterfront. The Port undertook an $18 million marina expansion by overhauling the Everett Yacht Basin and extending it to the south. The enlarged yacht basin could now accommodate more than 2,000 recreational boats and commercial fishing craft. The Port’s marina operations were now clearly providing economic muscle for the Port, and for Everett.
The fishermen had their own spot in the revamped marina’s southeast corner, yet fishing in the decade was in decline, the result of a combination of fallout from the 1970s Boldt decision, depleted salmon runs and rising fuel and operations costs.
South of the Everett Yacht Basin a new development opened — Marina Village. The complex, with nearby marina access and expansive water, island and mountain views, included a hotel and a mix of restaurants and shops. It promised to serve the already-established local communities and visitors, as well as the new U.S. Navy homeport.
At the Seaport, between 1983 and 1984, the Port constructed a chill facility at Hewitt Terminal to handle perishable goods such as fruit, and a wharf extension was added to Norton Terminal. However, Norton Terminal was sold to the Navy a few years later. Still, the sale generated funds for the Port to consider ways to upgrade, improve and add to its remaining terminal facilities.
Three historic Weyerhaeuser properties closely tied to the Port underwent major changes in this decade. The company’s Mill B site along the Snohomish River was closed just before 1980 — and later torn down. But in 1983 the iconic Weyerhaeuser Office Building, which had been at the Mill B site since 1938, was saved and moved to a new home at the Port’s new Marina Village. In the latter half of the decade the
Weyerhaeuser Office Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The WeyerhaeuserMill A site halted its final endeavor, pulp production, in 1980; the Port bought the site a few years later and converted it into the South Terminal log export facility.
The 1980s were a heyday for northwest logging and longshoremen when ILWU membership peaked and log ships filled the Port; in one report from June 1987, the Port noted that its log volumes were up 65 percent over the previous year. And reminiscing later, Port Commissioner Phil Bannan noted, “I remember in the late 1980s when it wasn’t uncommon to see five or six log ships waiting in the harbor for space at the dock.”
Yet an uncertainty had begun to bubble within the Northwest lumber trade when concern grew for a bird — the northern spotted owl — and the loss of its habitat in old-growth forests. For the moment, this only affected logging in federal lands, but for those working in the local timber industry, this was an unsettling foreshadowing.