Ivar, killer whale in running for state ferry names

SEATTLE — The names of colorful seafood chain founder Ivar Haglund and the orca Tokitae are among the seven possibilities under consideration for two new Washington state ferries, a state agency said Thursday.

The five other candidates — Cowlitz, Hoquiam, Muckleshoot, Samish and Sammamish — follow the more traditional route of tribal names and words carried by most of the 23 ferries already in service on Puget Sound.

Transportation Commission members will discuss the names at an Oct. 16 meeting in Olympia and likely make a decision at a Nov. 13 meeting in Tacoma.

The public was invited to suggest names for the two new Olympic Class ferries under construction. The names needed widespread public support along with petitions or endorsements from groups or officials.

The commission guidelines said the names should carry statewide significance, represent the state image and culture, and be consistent with the existing fleet.

“Names with commercial overtones or names honoring or commemorating individuals should be avoided, but will be considered upon careful review,” the commission said on its website.

The name Ivar Haglund was promoted by Seattle Times columnist Ron Judd and backed by a petition at Bartell Drugs stores.

Haglund was a Seattle character and folk singer who opened the city’s first aquarium at Pier 54 in 1938 along with a fish-and-chips stand, according to HistoryLink.org. He was a radio personality known for publicity stunts. He died in 1985.

Tokitae is the name of an orca captured in 1970 at Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove and better known as Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium. The name was suggested by the Center for Whale Research, which says it is a coastal Salish greeting meeting “nice day, pretty colors.”

The city of Hoquiam made a pitch for a ferry name and passed a resolution noting the name is a Lower Chehalis Tribal word meaning “hungry for wood.”

The other names on the list also have tribal ties.

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