Salvaging Elliott Bay’s fishing pier

Salvaging Elliot Bay’s fishing pier
Two years after the closure of the Elliot Bay fishing pier in Seattle, a proposed private-public partnership with Expedia could reopen it – if it gets matching funding from the state. Photo: freepik.com

For anglers and others lamenting the closure of the fishing pier overlooking Elliott Bay in Puget Sound two years ago over safety concerns, a proposed private-public partnership offers hope that it might one day reopen. Expedia has recently offered $3 million to help restore the pier, located at Terminal 86 near the company’s new 40-acre campus, while the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) which operates the pier has requested a matching fund of $3 million from the state, which is expected to be included in the proposed capital budgets.

“It seems like a great opportunity to contribute to the community,” Expedia Spokesperson Josh deBerge told Lens. “We have a strong desire to make this a waterfront that the community is proud of.”

First opened in 1974 using state, federal and Port of Seattle funds, the pier was a popular and unique location for salmon fishing and crabbing before it closed in 2017. According to WDFW, the pier has not received any significant upgrades since it was first built.

“In closing the pier, we lost a really great resource for fishing in Seattle,” WDFW Northern Puget Sound Director Amy Windrope said. “When it was closed there was lot of upset people. It’s a rare thing to have a public pier in Seattle. We really want to reopen it, (but) we need a public partnership to make that happen.”

As part of the proposed private-public partnership, the new pier would be revamped for potential use by water taxis, and deBerge says there are no specific plans yet, but they want the possibility if in the future there’s significant demand for alternative transportation options by their employees. However, he stressed that the pier itself will remain open to the public, regardless.

“I think we’ve approached it as a really great opportunity for a private public partnership,” he added.

However, even if the state legislature approves the $3 million in the capital budget, Windrope said it may ultimately cost more to fully renovate the pier. At the same time, the funding will allow them to start that work.

WDFW has existing public-private partnerships at Mission Ridge in Wenatchee, along with educational programs at the Issaquah salmon hatchery.

The state House and Senate proposed capital budgets are expected to be released next week.

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