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Port of Seattle Breaks Ground on Terminal 117 Park on the Duwamish River

Seattle, Port of Seattle, Terminal 117
Image Courtesy of Port of Seattle

The Port of Seattle broke ground today on Terminal 117 Park located along the Duwamish River. When complete, the new park will include restored fish and wildlife habitat and public access to the Duwamish River, in the South Park community. The former industrial property has been undergoing a years-long clean-up effort and reflects the most significant habitat restoration on the Duwamish River in over 10 years.

“The Port of Seattle is proud to partner with the Duwamish Valley communities to restore former polluted industrial sites to natural habitat,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins. “The project is a reminder of the resilience of the natural environment and the need for environmental justice for the indigenous people of the Duwamish River and the diverse communities who call this area home.”

When complete in the fall of 2021, the park will include a 185 feet long viewpoint pier, 1000 linear feet of barrier-free shoreline pathways, elevated viewpoints, and a pathway opportunity to enter restored habitat in the north portion of the site, for close-up, “hands-on” observation and environmental learning.

“As longtime stewards of this habitat, the Duwamish River Clean-up Coalition has worked over a decade to bring this Superfund site to where it is now,” said Paulina López, Executive Director of the Duwamish River Clean-up Coalition (DRCC). “Working in partnership with the community and the Port to move the Terminal 117 project ahead, we look forward to this being an important community asset, with clean, public shoreline green space for our local community to enjoy and steward.”

Park highlights include rehabilitation of critical estuarine natural resource functions and restoration of priority habitat for Chinook salmon and other imperiled species in the Duwamish River, while creating productive shoreline and aquatic areas with a combined total of approximately 13.5 acres and approximately 3150 linear feet of shoreline. This $25.9 million park project supports urgent salmon recovery needs while addressing long-standing community needs for increased greenspace, described in Resolution 3767, the Port’s Duwamish Valley Community Benefits Commitment. The site has also been identified by other local, state, tribe, and federal officials as a high priority habitat restoration area.

The new restoration and public greenspace area will include native shoreline vegetation, richly productive estuarine marsh, and highly valuable, off-channel inter-tidal aquatic area; habitat once abundant in the Duwamish estuary and now very rare. The combined restoration and public use area is strategically located in the marine/fresh water transition zone in the Duwamish River, where out-migrating juvenile salmon acclimate into saltwater environments further downstream. Their survival will be significantly improved by the high-quality transition zone habitat provided by the restoration efforts.

The Duwamish River is one of the most industrialized rivers in the country—and is also an area with energetic, transformative community activism and public sector leadership. To acknowledge and support the stewardship of the community in restoring the Duwamish River, the Port is collaborating with citizens to re-name public shoreline access areas in the Duwamish River; choosing new names that reflect the cultural and environmental history of the area. Terminal 117 will be a central feature in the community focused re-naming effort.

The Seattle Parks Foundation, a well-recognized public parks and greenspace non-profit, is guiding citizens and the port, using their organization and implementation skills in the re-naming campaign; ensuring that the work is an opportunity for genuine community involvement, with the objective of generating long-term citizen interest and participation–adding value to the Duwamish River public use and open space sites.