Journeys Around Seattle, #37: Port of Seattle

August 18, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

A muddy creek empties into the DuwamishA muddy creek empties into the Duwamish The Port of Seattle encompasses a large, sprawling network of facilities all over the waterfront and beyond: from the cruise ship terminal well north of Downtown, to Harbor Island on the very south end of Elliott Bay. Even Sea-Tac airport is owned and operated by the port. But for this photo expedition, our focus was on the parks: little strips of greenery amidst the various industrial areas near Harbor Island and the Duwamish Waterway, which provide public access and a unique view of Elliott Bay, the Duwamish, and the surrounding facilities. It's a fascinating mix of greenery, waterscapes, and industry.

Old industrial facilities near the parkOld industrial facilities near the park Our first stop was Jack Block Park, which is a long, narrow park on the mainland to the west of Harbor Island, at Terminal 5. The path winds its way past a beach, to a short wide pier that juts out into Elliott Bay and provides a great view of the shipping in the bay. From there you can also see the drydock and maintenance facilities on and around Harbor Island; there were at least three ferries parked there undergoing maintenance, as well as at least one naval vessel of some sort.

Looking across Terminal 5Looking across Terminal 5 Beyond the pier, the trail winds its way to the top of a bluff from which you can look across the bay toward Downtown, and look across the vast empty concrete space that is Terminal 5 (currently closed for upgrades).

Our second stop was a small park at Terminal 105, further south along the Duwamish Waterway which feeds into Elliott Bay. This was a part of Seattle I'd never seen, and our explorations took us south of the actual park, along the beach to where the remnants of an old massive pier lay half-submerged in the mud. There was a thin layer of regular-looking mud on top, but underneath the mud had turned solid black from all the coal dust at the coal processing facility across the river. Despite the coal dust, though, the park was a nice little area, where a tiny fraction of the wetlands that once were all over the area has been restored.

 


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