Monday, May 15, 2017

Short Note on Irondale and Industrial Legacy

I previously noted the iron mining claims on Iron Mountain in Skagit County (hamilton-iron). The iron ore that was mined from a few of those claims was shipped via rail and then barge to Irondale, a small town south of Port Townsend (its-called-ironddale-a-for-reason).

I was recently a bit south of the site of the old iron works and unless one knew about the former industrial site it is hard to picture that this tree lined coast was once a heavy industrial site with piers and kilns. 



The kilns were located essentially on the beach. A cleanup of the site has been completed (see Ecology: Irondale Iron and Steel Plant). The former iron and steel mill is now a Jefferson County Park with a beach restoration project as well (gravelbeach.blogspot/irondale  and gravelbeach.blogspot/irondale). In addition to the iron and steel plant a large saw mill was located on the adjoining site to the north (right in the picture above).

The cleanup of the old industrial site and the cost to tax payers raises an interesting policy issue regarding industrial development that has presented a challenge to many communities. What happens to very specific industrial properties when the site is no longer used for that industry? Irondale is a bit of a lesson in this regards. The abandoned iron and steel along with some contamination remained vacant on this site for nearly 100 years. It is now a very nice beach park, but that was a long time for an abandoned mill to be left as a public nuisance. Something to consider for large scale project permitting.

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