After exactly two months of being stuck in the sands of Agate Beach in Newport, the Japanese dock, in all five pieces, are in suburban Portland, waiting to become road gravel.
The transformation of the dock to road building material is a bit abrupt, but from the viewpoint of Ballard Diving and Salvage, it was a battle they waged with a very stubborn dock that fought valiantly to stay put. But through perseverance and hard work, the company swatted away broken saw beads, tough metals to saw through, pesky high tides, failing mounting plates, and a popped semi drive line. They got through it all, never letting any of it break their stride. Yes, they expected to be off the beach by Saturday, but as Scott Korab of Ballard said, “It’s all a learning experience. Every single salvage job is unique.”
A piece of the dock will be blended into a memorial in South Beach, dedicated to those lost in the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami. It will be built on the grounds of the Hatfield Marine Science Center.
The departure of the Japanese dock from Newport is yet another chapter in the aftermath of the horrific Japanese Earthquake and following tsunami that killed nearly 15,000 Japanese mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents and pets. The dock’s sorrowful symbol is now gone. But the dock will live on in the memories of the tens of thousands who flocked to Newport to see and touch a piece of history, if not the whole of humanity, that reminded us of the miracle life and how suddenly and violently it be taken from anyone.
Newport Master Gardener Liz Olsen snapped a couple of great shots of the final run for the Japanese Dock…the seaward end section of the dock. It’s estimated that this end piece may weigh 40 tons on it’s own. Total weight of the dock was calculated to be 188 tons.
Ballard Salvage crews overcame further “bugs” while salvaging the Japanese Dock that washed ashore at Agate Beach the evening of June 3/4. Saturday they picked up two large pieces of the dock they had sliced with a saw-snake and mounted them aboard two large heavy equipment trailers which spirited them down the beach and up to the Agate Beach wayside on Oceanview Drive.
A troublesome encounter with deeply embedded metal rods and fickle cable latches on the sides of the dock pieces slowed crews down for a time. But persistence carried the day so by the time high tide re-emerged, both pieces were on trucks and were on their way to Ballard’s dismantling facility in suburban Portland.
Ballard says tomorrow they should get the last three pieces up on the trucks and on their way north for dismantling . Ballard figues they’ll get that part done early in the day so they can spend the rest of it picking up planks and plates they laid down for the temporary road between the beach and Oceanview Drive. If the rest of it goes according to plan, Ballard will have completed the job a bit ahead of schedule.
Ballard Diving and Salvage finally got a break on Thursday. They managed to completely slice through concrete, stainless steel, foam and rebar to eventually liberate the first section of the Japanese dock that wound up on Agate Beach, 6,000 miles away from the earthquake and tsunami that sent it across the Pacific to Newport, Oregon.
Crews managed to cut another slice just down dock from where some kind of “hang-up” kept the end piece from breaking cleanly free from the rest of the dock. The end piece was carefully lifted out of the east end but before it could be loaded onto a waiting truck, the truck was determined to be not heavy enough to carry the 20+ ton load. So they had to order a bigger truck that is expected to be on scene in the morning. It will begin hauling each slice of the dock down the beach and up to Oceanview Drive where they will be transported further to Sherwood, where the dock will be processed and recycled.
A corner piece of it will be specially cut and delivered to the Hatfield Marine Science Center for a Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Memorial.
The demolition of the Japanese dock resumes in Friday morning.
Japanese Dock, Agate Beach, Wednesday
Click photos to enlarge
Saying that Oregon’s federal aid for tsunami debris removal has already been spent and then some with the removal of the Japanese dock at Agate Beach near Newport, Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bomamici has introduced legislation in Washington to put west coast states at the head of the line for federal aid. Bonamici says Oregon is already nearly $40,000 in the hole just with the Agate Beach Japanese dock removal job and more tsunami debris is expected to arrive this winter.
Ballard Diving and Salvage had a devil of a time today trying to dismantle the 132 ton Japanese dock that has been sitting on Agate Beach, drawing tens of thousands of visitors since it washed ashore on June 4th. A product of the March 11, 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami, it’s been quietly moving around the spot where it first came ashore. When it first made landfall in early June, it was perpendicular to shore. Today, it’s rotated into a more SW to NE orientation. That makes a lot of people nervous, including State Parks which awarded a contract to Ballard to get rid of it.
But during the first day of sawing the dock into five pieces, Ballard crews ran into problems. It appears that as the saw chain proceeded to cut through the docks concrete, rebar and stainless steel, the piece being cut out began to sag in the sand and play havoc with the circulating blade. Toward the end of the day it was determined that something wasn’t quite right…something that would have to be rectified in the morning. They said it was the liquifaction of the sand (creating suction) or something inside the dock that is “hanging up” the separating piece.
So, they’ll be back Thursday morning, bright and early. Chris Havel of State Parks says Ballard tells him that they’re still confident they can have the dock sawed into five pieces, hauled off in a big truck and have the beach back to normal by Friday.
Ballard Diving and Salvage spent a big part of Tuesday preparing to begin sawing up the 132 ton Japanese dock that washed up on Agate Beach after a 15 month drift across the Pacific from Masawa Japan. The floating dock, which was used to unload fish from Japanese fishing boats, was blown off its moorings by the tsunami that followed a big earthquake March 11, 2010.
The dock washed up on Agate Beach this past June 4th, off NW 47th Street. It’s provided Newport with one of the biggest tourist seasons in recent history. But because the dock is unstable and poses a hazard to beach combers and tourists who might want to climb on it, the decision was made by Oregon State Parks to remove it.
Ballard Diving and Salvage of Vancouver, WA was the winning bidder at just over $80,000. They will saw the dock into pieces, load them onto a truck which will take them to a recycling center.
The city of Newport is receiving the southeast section of the dock for use in a memorial, to be built at Hatfield Marine Science Center at South Beach.