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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Spring 2005 arrow Washington: Construction of the Port Angeles Graving Dock
Washington: Construction of the Port Angeles Graving Dock

Agency: Federal Highway Administration

As reported in the winter 2005 Case Digest, the National Register-eligible Tse-Whit-zen archeological site in Port Angeles, Washington, was discovered by the Department of Transportation when the agency was constructing a dry dock.

The agency eventually stopped construction and executed an agreement that addresses the recovered archeological materials and substantial human remains. The ACHP has been involved in Section 106 consultation on the disposition of the more than 300 ancestral burials and now-abandoned dock site.

Aerial view of the Port Angeles
Aerial view of the Port Angeles
Graving Dock site, WA (photo:
Washington State DOT)

In March 2005, the ACHP participated in Section 106 consultation to resolve outstanding issues regarding the Port Angeles Graving Dock. The agency met several times with FHWA, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the Port of Port Angeles, and city and county officials, and toured the graving dock site.

That same month, the ACHP met off-site with the proposed project’s consulting parties. A facilitator also was present to help the tribe and the Washington Department of Transportation (WADOT) agree on the disposition of the 300-plus ancestral burials from the site, as well as the disposition of the abandoned graving dock site.

Local government officials are concerned about the loss of jobs from the abandoned graving dock project. They say that they want to keep the graving dock/Tse-whit-zen village site and other waterfront properties open to industrial development that is crucial to the economic well-being of their city.

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe says that it wishes to see all of the 300 burials and more than 1,000 human bone fragments reburied at the site following traditional Klallam custom, close to the place they were recovered. The tribe also has requested that no new development occur over undisturbed portions of the village site. It says that it would ultimately like to take over ownership of the graving dock site to ensure the protection of the archeological remains and burials. In the meantime, the human remains lie in a secured location in custom-made cedar coffins.

During consultation in March, the ACHP advised the parties of the role of Section 106. FHWA is taking steps to conclude the Section 106 review process with the facilitated resolution.

Such a resolution is complicated by the multiple jurisdictions involved in the proposed project. WADOT is the current property owner, although the Port of Port Angeles and the City of Port Angeles have jurisdiction over the property. FHWA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have legal responsibility for compliance with Section 106, but limited authority to dictate an outcome because they do not own the

The ACHP will remain involved in consultation, which is expected to result in an amendment to the existing Memorandum of Agreement for the disposition of human remains and archeological materials at the Port Angeles Graving Dock construction site.

For background information on this case, see the winter 2005 Case Digest.

Staff contact: Carol Legard

Posted June 9, 2005

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