State acts to remove Enchantress


The state Ecology Department has announced it will press for the removal of the derelict tug Enchantress from Fidalgo Bay. Port Commissioners have it on their agenda.

“Fidalgo Bay, like all of Puget Sound, is a precious resource. We need to clean it up and protect it – not allow an environmental and public health risk to worsen,” said Tim Nord, who manages land and aquatic lands cleanup for Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program.

Local artist Bill Mitchell, who has sought to save the tug, said "This is a terrific waste of a landmark and a huge waste of public funds." Mitchell said he'd like to see removal of Enchantress put off until the end of the Fidalgo Bay cleanup project.

The tug is foundering on aquatic land managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources off shore from the former Custom Plywood mill site.

Ecology says it will ask the Port of Anacortes to pull Enchantress out of the bay. The Port had let a contract early this year to remove the tug, then put the contract on hold. The item is on the Port Commissioners' agenda for their next meeting, on September 4, at 7 pm.

In February, Ecology agreed to give area residents six months to propose an alternative way to remove the tug so they could preserve it as an historical icon. During that time, Ecology paid for an archaeological evaluation of the tug. Historians concluded the tug, in its current condition, has no historical significance.

Ecology says it didn’t receive any removal alternatives from area residents by the Aug. 15 deadline.