The Port of Everett is considering acquiring the 67-acre former Kimberly-Clark mill site through eminent domain. (Andy Bronson / Herald file, 2019)

The Port of Everett is considering acquiring the 67-acre former Kimberly-Clark mill site through eminent domain. (Andy Bronson / Herald file, 2019)

Port might invoke eminent domain over Kimberly-Clark site

The agency wants to expand maritime freight and ship maintenance, but it isn’t the only interested party.

EVERETT — The Port of Everett will consider condemning the former Kimberly-Clark paper mill site.

The port and at least one private venture have competing designs on the vacant waterfront land. Each has a different idea of how to redevelop it.

On Tuesday, three port commissioners voted unanimously to hold a public meeting about invoking eminent domain to take over the 67-acre property. The meeting is set for 4 p.m. on June 4. Commissioners could take final action to authorize condemnation at that time.

“The port commission has expressed its intent for the port to acquire this property for future maritime uses and for future economic prosperity on the waterfront,” said Lisa Lefeber, an executive director for the port.

Port officials said they notified Kimberly-Clark about the condemnation meeting after the commissioners’ unexpected vote.

The commission formalized its interest in the property back in February 2016. Staff has been trying to negotiate a purchase agreement since then. Concerns about pollution and ground stability have complicated the process.

The port’s plan for the mill site would aim to accommodate more military ships at Naval Station Everett next door, among other uses. The vision includes developing maritime freight and shipyard facilities. The site is bordered to the south by a vacant port-owned shipyard.

Competing interest for the land is from Pacific Stevedoring and an undisclosed partner. They hope to build two or three corporate headquarters on the site, along with warehouses and trucking facilities next to a working wharf.

“This announcement is the latest chapter in the Port’s shifting narrative about this property and proves the Port of Everett is more interested in blocking up to 1,200 new jobs than restoring the Kimberly-Clark mill site,” said Austin Hicks, public affairs manager for Pacific Stevedoring, in a prepared statement.

Hicks said the company will continue to pursue the site.

The land is a rare commodity in the region, with deep-water access in the middle of a federally secure and regulated area, according to the port.

The former Kimberly-Clark paper mill site employed about 700 workers before it closed in 2012.

A mill operated on the site for 80 years. Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark acquired the property from Scott Paper Co. in the 1980s.

Soon after the mill’s closure, demolition reduced all but one large building to rubble, which was spread over the flat ground. The crushed material is now the subject of an environmental clean-up process to address contaminated soil and stormwater issues.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Kimberly-Clark condemnation meeting

The Port of Everett has set a public meeting to consider condemning the former mill property at 4 p.m. on June 4 in the Port Commission room at 1205 Craftsman Way, Suite 200, Everett.

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