1990 - 1999
Kimberly-Clark takes over the 66-acre Scott Paper Company site and starts a rebuild of the facility. It opens the revamped factory in 1995.
The northern spotted owl is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. In the years to follow, the effort to protect the owl drastically reduces logging in Northwest forests, and along with it, the Port’s timber export business.
1991 The Hulbert Mill Company sells their 35-acre property and buildings, including the 1926-era Collins Building (North Coast Casket Company), to the Port of Everett. The casketmaking business is still in operation at the time, but closes permanently in 1996. The building’s next (and final) tenants will be the Agathos Foundation, Nik Wax, Outpac Designs, and Watershed USA.
The Port reworks its popular public boat launch on what is now called West Marine View Drive. (The launch had been called the Norton Avenue Boat Launch, but with the change to the street name, it became the 10th Street Boat Launch.) Improvements include dredging, a new fishing pier, a larger breakwater and guest float, a ferry landing float and three new launch ramps (making for a total of 13).
The Port opens a new multi-use chill facility and warehouse to garner more business from the burgeoning fruit import/export trade. Early shipments include carrots, grapes, apples and pears. Business booms and by 1995 the Port looks to expand the facility, as well as to add freeze capabilities. In 1996 the Port reinstates the Port District tax levy (which had been on hiatus for five years following the 1987 sale of land to the U.S. Navy) to help pay for the improvements.
The city of Everett celebrates its centennial: 1893-1993.
The Port of Everett acquires the former Biringer Farm property (later dubbed Blue Heron Slough), located on Spencer Island off Highway 529 between Everett and Marysville, for future mitigation banking.
Naval Station Everett opens on the acreage the Port had sold to the U.S. Navy in 1987. It becomes the Navy’s newest, most modern and most environmentally sound homeport. The homeport is officially opened with a full military ceremony held at Marina Village (now called South Docks), attended by top military dignitaries and nearly one thousand citizens. Among the first ships assigned to Everett that year were the frigates USS Ingraham and USS Ford. The Navy had chosen Everett because its natural deep-water harbor made it a strategic location for a future U.S. aircraft carrier homeport. It had also been touted by U.S. Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, a native of Everett who for decades had been an outspoken advocate of increased military spending before his death in 1983.
The Port of Everett and the city of Ishinomaki (in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan) establish a Friendly Coalition Agreement in March. Both share similar interests — maritime industries, fishing, forest products and other industrial activities. (Over the years, the Port and Ishinomaki have continued this relationship by exchanging cultural, economic, technological and educational information that has led to increased development of both their communities. In a twist of fate, in 2011 Ishinomaki was seriously affected by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which in turn jump-started Everett’s log exports to help with rebuilding efforts.)
The Northwest Forest Plan is adopted, breaking the legal stalemate over logging and wildlife habitat protection. The plan guides management on federal land within the range of the northern spotted owl in Washington, Oregon and northern California, and seeks to preserve spotted owl habitat by creating a network of late-successional (mature and old-growth) timber reserves.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Service to regulate logging on private land under the Endangered Species Act.
The Port begins expanding its marine shipping terminals to accommodate specialized cargo containers used by The Boeing Company to ship 777 airplane parts to its Everett plant. The project uses dredged materials from existing berths as a nearshore fill, which is then used for development of the marine terminal.
The Port embarks on a new five-year program of capital improvements and business diversification to create jobs and new sources of revenue after log exports decline more than 50 percent.
The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, one of only 10 U.S.-based carriers, arrives at its new homeport at Naval Station Everett. The community embraces the Navy, and the Everett Silvertips hockey team, in their inaugural year in the Western Hockey League, name their mascot Lincoln — a six-foot-tall ice-skating bear — to honor the city’s new Naval ties.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers orders that the 10 massive fuel tanks at the Mukilteo Tank Farm, closed since 1989, be torn down.
The Port buys the old Weyerhaeuser Mill B property along the Snohomish River, with plans to create a new industrial park.
The new Pacific Terminal shipping facility (now the Port’s primary container and breakbulk facility) is constructed at the site of a former Weyerhaeuser Mill A log pond, which the Port cleaned up and filled. When completed, the Port leases the property’s operation and marketing efforts to SSA Marine.
The Port enters a memorandum of agreement to acquire the 22-acre Mukilteo Tank Farm, a decommissioned fuel tank site, from the U.S. Air Force. Plans include use as a future multimodal facility and a relocated Mukilteo ferry terminal.
Navy Homeport Comes to Fruition
For several years, national concern had been brewing for a certain chocolate-brown bird of prey that makes its home in the Northwest’s old-growth forests — the northern spotted owl — which in this decade and beyond brought Northwest logging, and thus timber export cargoes, to a near standstill. On June 23, 1990, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the spotted owl as a threatened species under
the Endangered Species Act. Implementation of the protection rules and guidelines for logging worked their way through the courts, but by 1995 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that old-growth timber could be blocked from logging by the Fish and Wildlife Service, regardless of who owned the forest. (Earlier issues involving the spotted owl centered on habitat in national forests rather than on private land.) Timber exports fell by 50 percent by the late 1990s.
The uncertain future of the local log-export industry forced Port officials to consider other revenue sources. They began looking at growing their business by moving fruit, general cargo and odd or oversized goods as alternatives to timber. The Port also began expanding its shipping terminals to accommodate specialized cargo containers used by The Boeing Company to ship its 777 jetliner parts to the company’s Everett plant. The future offered promising options for the Port, but that future wouldn’t likely include much of the
work that had been the Seaport’s bread and butter for decades: logs. At a 1995 special meeting to discuss a potential upgrade to the Port’s chill facility, an ILWU representative heartily embraced the plan, even as he recalled the heyday of lumber in the previous decade when the ILWU membership numbered 150 (compared with 74 in 1995): “I’ve been here since 1967 … we lived on the logs. We used to look out [to the water while] working on the boom or driving winches … and you’d see another [log ship] coming and say, ‘Here comes another one.’” But for the time being at least, that was no more.
Naval Station Everett also brought sweeping changes to the south bayfront when it opened in 1994. The U.S. Navy had chosen Everett as its future homeport location a decade before, and the Port had sold 110 acres to the military arm in 1987 to provide space for the new installation. Now the long-term project — the Navy’s most modern and environmentally friendly homeport to date — was complete. The station brought jobs and money, as well as a renewed energy and sense of pride into the region.
Other changes were afoot as the Hulbert Mill Company sold their north bayfront property to the Port, including the longtime Collins Building; after a few years the casketmaking business there closed. The Port also bought the shuttered Weyerhaeuser Mill B property along the Snohomish River. Within the same decade commercial fishing dwindled further as fish runs diminished, and government regulations and operating costs grew. Olympic Fish Company (the north bayfront’s last remaining fish processor) closed.