July 29, 2012 in Region

Newport to remove tsunami dock

Associated Press

NEWPORT, Ore. – Work will start next week on Agate Beach near Newport on removing a 66-foot dock that washed ashore last month as one of the biggest pieces of debris from the Japanese tsunami.

Workers with Ballard Diving and Salvage of Vancouver plan to cut the 132-ton dock into pieces and truck them to a facility in Sherwood.

The Oregonian reports the city of Newport plans to save one large piece of the dock for a memorial to be displayed at the Marine Science Center.

Since it washed ashore June 5, the dock has attracted record numbers of visitors from all over the country who want to touch it and take photos. Oregon Parks and Recreation counted about 73,000 cars in June and July at Agate Beach State Park.

The Japanese government estimates that 1.5 million tons of debris is floating in the ocean from the catastrophe. Contractors will get to work on Monday and expect to erect a safety fence two days later.

The plan calls for workers to build a road out to the dock, cut it into five pieces and load the pieces onto trucks and haul them to a facility in Sherwood.

The 7-foot piece that Newport gets to keep will serve as a reminder of the tsunami and its impact.

“We really need to let people know it’s not going to go away and forever be forgotten,” said Newport Mayor Mark McConnell. “There is going to be something here to memorialize and for people to remember and learn from. I think it’s important for people to know.”

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