The Japanese Dock’s days are now clearly numbered. Ballard Diving and Salvage out of Vancouver began building a railroad-tie-road from the Agate Beach parking area to the ocean. Soon cut-up pieces of the dock will travel southward from the dock to a straight line road across the sand to Oceanview Avenue. From there the pieces will be transported to a recycling center. The dock is full of rebar, stainless steel and concrete. Ballard figures it’ll take them until Friday sometime to get the dock removed.
But before they do, they’ll separate what is the southeast corner of the dock and deliver it to the city of Newport for use in some kind of a Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami Memorial. Newport’s sister city is in Japan.
The Japanese Dock was slated for quick removal largely based on the fact that it was loaded with invasive species that might bode ill for Oregon’s coastal ecology. But Dr. John Chapman of Hatfield Marine Science Center announced recently that whatever uniquely Japanese species arrived on the dock were already well distributed along a mile of beach from Agate Beach to the north jetty in Newport. If or when these foreign critters will start popping up is anyone’s guess, according to Dr. Chapman.
Yet, the decision to dismantle the dock had other supporting positions such as the instability of the dock. The tides have already turned it counter-clockwise 45 degrees toward the south. State Parks, who has legal jurisdiction over Oregon beaches, is concerned about liability should people get hurt crawling on it or injured if, at high tide, the dock was to suddenly move or lurch one way or another.
At any rate, one of Newport’s greatest tourist attractions since the creation of the Pacific Ocean will be gone by Friday. NOAA says we’ve got a lot more tsunami debris arriving sometime this winter, so who knows what will show up on local beaches. Our local business community is hoping that a whale of a treasure hunt will continue to draw lots of tourists to our beaches over the next couple of years. The Coast Guard reports that a large piece of foam and two tanks welded together are floating off the central coast, posing a hazard to mariners. Hopefully there will be something more interesting than that to keep the tourists coming.