Mill followed rules in decision to demolish building
EVERETT - Historic preservationists were upset to learn a historic building on the former Kimberly-Clark mill site was demolished last week, but the company followed procedure.
The 1930s main office building was the oldest remnant of the original Puget Sound Pulp and Timber Co.
The building was eligible for the National Historic Register of Places, a company-paid historian’s analysis found.
Even so, the building was not structurally sound, so there was little use to put it on the voluntary register, company officials said.
Kimberly-Clark fulfilled all of its requirements documenting the building before it could demolish it.
The building’s structure suffered dry rot caused by an antiquated steam system, and there was no fire suppression system, site manager Brian Lust said last week.
“The building was not structurally sound, it would not meet earthquake codes,” Kimberly-Clark environmental energy manager Howard Sharfstein said. “It didn’t balance out where it made any sense to apply for historic register.”
The city’s demolition permit for the mill site specifically required Kimberly-Clark to hire a qualified historian to document its inventory, and both the city and the state Department of Archaeology and History must sign off on the work.
Kimberly-Clark fulfilled that stipulation, state Department of Archaeology and History deputy historic officer Greg Griffith said. Kimberly-Clark’s consultant sent the findings to the state department in late August.
Griffith said Kimberly-Clark was “anxious for demolition and to move on” from talking with them.
The voluntary national program provides no protection against demolition, Griffith said. The demolition permit did not require steps to preserve the building, just to document it.
“It’s unfortunate there could not have been options to preserve it,” Griffith said.
The group Historic Everett sent alerts leading up to the demolition that the building was vulnerable.
Historic Everett’s vice president Dave Ramstad was visibly pale after he learned about the building last week. Ramstad’s parents first met in the office building, and his dad helped build the mill.
There was little he could do now. “It’s gone,” he said.
Unlike the Collins Casket Building at the Port of Everett, Kimberly-Clark was able to demolish the historic building without an extensive public process because there was no federal involvement, Griffith said. The Army Corps of Engineers was involved in the Collins Building demolition, which happened in 2010.
Kimberly-Clark will share its report with Historic Everett, the library’s Northwest Room and the Bayside Neighborhood soon, Sharfstein said.
Kimberly-Clark anticipates having all of the buildings demolished by April 2013, although it is considering saving some buildings if they would be viable for a new buyer, Lust said.
A little more than 15 percent of the buildings have been demolished already as of last week, Lust said. All of the materials are being recycled, and all of the buildings have been abated of hazardous materials.
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