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Old September 25th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #1
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Lesser-known Seattle--Duwamish Industrial Area


The usual photo shots of Seattle show, as well they should, postcard-perfect scenes of our lakes, parks, leafy neighborhoods, and, of course great skyline. But there is another Seattle, virtually unkown to tourists and little known at best to most city residents--the Duwamish River industrial area. The Port of Seattle offers public interest events dubbed Port 101 to showcase to interested citizens--the owners of the Port--some of the inner workings of the agency not normally accessible to the public at large. For instance last week was a tour of the original runway at SeaTac airport that, thanks to last year's opening of a third runway, has been torn up and essentially rebuilt. There will be a tour of an ocean liner, as cruise ship sailings (to Alaska, mostly) are a relatively new and exciting business of the Port. Yesterday there was a cruise to the gritty underbelly of the city--Harbor Island in lower Elliott Bay and the Duwamish River. If not necessarily pretty to look at (although beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder), the area is home to thousands of jobs and a thriving commerce which helps make the city and region prosperous. Following are some photos from the cruise, including some nice center city shots as seen from the water.

The tour boat left from Bell Street marina



Easing away from the dock, with colorful old piers as a backdrop


Washington State super ferry 'Walla Walla' headed for Bainbridge Island


Close up of cranes at Terminal 46. Seattle was one of the first US ports to embrace the then new concept of container shipping.


The first and the latest. Smith Tower, the terra cotta-clad building with the pyramid roof, was not only Seattle's first major skyscraper, but when completed in 1914 was said to the be the tallest office building outside of New York City. It reigned as Seattle's tallest office tower for over fifty years, until dethroned by the then SeaFirst building, now Safeco Plaza, the black box at the far left. The Smith Tower is almost unique in that the elevators are still manned by actual operators. Columbia Tower now looms above all as the tallest building in the city.


The ZIM Los Angeles, having just docked minutes earlier at Terminal 18 on Harbor Island. Three weeks earlier, its sister ship ZIM Djibouti docked and made history as the largest ship ever to arrive at the Port of Seattle. The Los Angeles is "only" some 70% the size of the Djibouti.


Boat carrying gypsum for one of the cement plants waiting its turn to enter the terminal


Another monster, this one docked at Terminal 5 in West Seattle.


Approaching the West Seattle bridges and the mouth of the Duwamish. To the left is the largely abandoned former Fisher grain terminal.


The taller bridge never needs to open, but the lower one, which alse serves Harbor Island will sometimes need to open for a tall enough boat. We are travelling down the west waterway between Harbor Island and West Seattle. The east waterway between Harbor Island and the Seattle mainland is navigable only to canoes, kayaks and row boats.


The Muckelshoot Indian tribe takes advantage of its treaty rights to fish for salmon by laying nets in the native Americans' ancestral waters. Although the Duwamish sediments are polluted, the salmon, which arrive from years in the open ocean to spawn upriver, do not feed on the bottom, thus catching them in not discouraged. Even so, it is advised not to eat Duwamish-caught salmon too often.


The derelict Tilbury cement plant at the south end of Harbor Island. When constructed in the 1910's, Harbor Island was the largest man-made island in the world. It replaced mudflats as Seattle was expanding and neede more deeper water moorages.


We're about to enter the Duwamish proper. I'll post more photos in a day or so.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 01:28 PM   #2
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interesting pics nice to see some unknown areas
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Old September 25th, 2009, 06:39 PM   #3
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Really interesting photos of the less-known Seattle
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Old September 26th, 2009, 07:12 AM   #4
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I'm excited to see more pics. My friends have a slot at the South Park Marina so I've traveled along the Duwamish many times with them and it always a interesting ride, especially viewing the old Boeing plants.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 06:16 PM   #5
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Interesting photos!
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Old September 27th, 2009, 12:17 AM   #6
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Neat!
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Old September 27th, 2009, 02:48 AM   #7
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The Duwamish is fascinating on a number of levels. Hopefully these guys will continue the monthly boat tours about environmental cleanup (I took it at the individual rate, not the $700 charter rate!). http://www.duwamishcleanup.org/getinvolved.html
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Old September 27th, 2009, 04:07 AM   #8
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More pictures as we enter the Duwamish proper


Passing under the West Seattle bridges: the low and high levels.


Antiquated railroad bridge connecting West Seattle, on the right, with the southern edge of Harbor Island. Trains from the West Seattle and Harbor Island port terminals make their way over the East waterway to a large freight yard for dispatching--and receiving--goods from all over the United States.


Closer look at the ancient mechanism apparatus of the railroad bridge.


The boat at the far left is docked at the marina at the far southern edge of Harbor Island. The barge is berthed at one of the cement plants along the river. Between the boat and the barge is the East waterway, which, again, is not navigable to anything taller than a rowboat, kayak or canoe.


Another view of the cement plant, taken a little farther upstream.


Stacks and more stacks of containers. Note the fishing apparatus of the Muckelshoot tribe. Multiple nets and fisher activity would cut our trip short in a few minutes and we were forced to turn around.


In spite of the Duwamish's declaration of a US EPA superfind (heavily polluted) site and clean up efforts underway, a continuing problem is that when heavy rains fall and the combined sewer and runoff pipes flow too fast and too heavy, the sewage treatment plants have to stop taking the material and it is dumped--untreated--at various outfall sites, some on the Duwamish. Barely visible here due to a high tide (to the left of the white sign), you can see the two pipe ends from which the material enters the river, thus hindering eventual clean up by adding more chemical toxins.


General commercial activity along the river.




Another net for catching salmon.


I'll post more photos tomorrow.

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Old September 27th, 2009, 04:26 AM   #9
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Nice pix,really shows the grit,the industrial side of a city more known for being progressive,green city!
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Old September 27th, 2009, 04:45 AM   #10
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Pretty much interesting approach of Seattle, not really common on this forum tough.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 04:22 AM   #11
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As we continue upstream, the 1st Avenue South bridge comes into view.


Some gritty industrial scenes.






More native American buoys and salmon fishing nets.


Trusses of the 1st Avenue South bridge. In the background is the doomed 14th Avenue South bridge. Already old and in need of repair, the bridge was damaged by the 2001 earthquake and has to be demolished. Local, county and state officials are scrambling for funds necessary to build a replacement.


Most of the barge traffic is to and from Alaska, using the inside passage along the North Pacific coast.


This particular scrap metal plant is one which is working closely with clean up entities and is making sure no toxics enter the river.


Just past the bridge, we are forced to turn around as the Muckelshoot tribe crews are busy with the nets. So this time we didn't see the large, now abandoned Boeing plant a little farther upriver. That plant, now derelict, produced thousands of planes during World Was II and could be said to have made possible the Allied victory. Another legacy, however, is a very polluted river bottom. The Boeing Company is working along with the City of Seattle, King County and the Port of Seattle to help get the river cleaned up.


Scenes of the return downstream to follow.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 04:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmoor82 View Post
Nice pix,really shows the grit,the industrial side of a city more known for being progressive,green city!
Until a couple decades ago, Seattle was known more as a blue collar industrial/seaport city.

Today, the two main roads from Sea-Tac Airport to Downtown both go through/along the Duwamish industrial valley. So does part of a new light rail line that's mostly open and will be extended one stop to the airport in December. So visitors tend to get the industrial impression even today.

Boeing employs probably 60,000 locally, mostly in a few major plants. Back when Seattle was probably half its current size, in the late 60s, they topped out at 110,000 or so. Add a multiplier effect, and I'd guess they were responsible for 30% of our total jobs.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 07:26 AM   #13
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Nice pictures.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 09:08 AM   #14
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Having turned around, we are now heading downstream toward the 1st Avenue South bridge.


There are some small pleasure craft marinas strung out along the river.








Underneath the bridge deck


Hard to see, but there are still remnants of the original course of the river, which included many twists, turns and eventually oxbow lakes. The river was substantially straightened and deepened to accommodate large ships.




Cement plant.




Amidst all the grit there is one area that has actually remained pristine, Kellogg Island, surrounded by a small section of the meandering river of old. A nature refuge, it is closed to the public at large.


The Port, along with many governmental groups and NGO's are little by little reclaiming some of the natural habitats, 95% of which had been lost over the past century.
An example:


Appoaching the mouth of the river and the West Seattle bridges.


Final few pictures tomorrow.

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Old October 1st, 2009, 07:14 PM   #15
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Good pictures!
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 08:40 AM   #16
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Some final pictures from our cruise.







Old railroad bridge with the Northern Pacific Railroad symbol


Underneath the West Seattle bridge heading up the west waterway


Old Fisher flour mill again.




Oil storage tanks on Harbor Island


Todd shipyard, the only remaining such facility in the city.






Cranes framed by Qwest and Safeco Fields sports stadia




Queen Anne Hill




Preparing to dock. Thanks for visiting!


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