EVERETT — Applause filled the Port of Everett Commission meeting room Sept. 10 after the commission authorized the acceptance of the Mukilteo fuel tank farm from the U.S. Air Force.
The port has worked for more than a decade with the City of Mukilteo, City of Everett, Washington State Ferries, Sound Transit and Community Transit to secure approximately 20 waterfront acres of the former military fuel tank farm for transportation purposes and community access.
Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine called the port commission’s action a “momentous occasion,” and probably one of the most significant steps for the city of Mukilteo in more than 70 years.
“This was an impressive effort,” Port Commissioner Troy McClelland said. “On behalf of the current and former port commissioners, I want to thank Sen. Patty Murray and Congressman Rick Larsen for their leadership, along with the staffs of the Port of Everett, City of Mukilteo, Washington State Ferries, Sound Transit and Community Transit for sticking through all the ups and downs of the transfer, and finding our way to the finish line.”
McClelland also recognized the efforts of chief administrative officer Les Reardanz, chief of engineering and planning John Klekotka and Executive Director John Mohr ,who led the effort for the past 16 years.
“Our community has their waterfront back because of your willingness to see this roller coaster ride out,” McClelland said.
Following the action, the port commission amended the Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements to include the new parcel of land. The last step before the property is in local control is the final signature from the secretary of the Air Force.
In 2001, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., included language in a Defense Authorization bill transferring the tank farm from the Air Force to the Port of Everett. She has since worked with many state, local, and federal entities to craft a solution satisfactory to stakeholders in order to revitalize the Mukilteo waterfront, improve transportation options and modernize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center field research station that now sits on the tank farm property.
“I have been working to transfer the tank farm to the Port of Everett for over a decade, and I am thrilled this project is finally moving forward,” Murray said.
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., was also vital in helping push this transfer along.
“The transfer of the Mukilteo Tank Farm has been a long time coming,” Larsen said. “Congratulations to the Port of Everett who, in collaboration with the city of Mukilteo and many other entities, have worked tirelessly on this project. There is still work to be done to transform the waterfront, but I’m pleased we’re taking this big step forward.”
The port is now negotiating with Washington State Ferries, Sound Transit and the City of Mukilteo to subsequently transfer the land to enable the envisioned multimodal facility, which includes the relocation of the Mukilteo ferry terminal to the tank farm property. It is expected to open in 2018 or 2019.
Nicole McIntosh from Washington State Ferries thanked the port for its efforts over the years.
“I really appreciate the Port of Everett stepping up to accept this property on behalf of the project partners,” she said. “This is really an exciting day.”
Public access will be a top priority for the Port of Everett once the property transfers. In the 2014 capital improvement project budget, the port will construct a road on the east side of the property. Once the road is complete, the port will be able to provide access to Edgewater Beach near Mount Baker Terminal.
“This is so exciting for Mukilteo,” former port commissioners Don Hopkins and Connie Niva said. “We never thought we’d see the day.”