While the Lelooska Totem Poles are beloved structures hosted at the Port of Kalama, time and weather exposure have taken their toll. As a result, the Port of Kalama has engaged a team of industrial contractors to lower the tallest of the poles to examine its condition and determine next steps.
Experts from JH Kelly industrial mechanical contracting and Ness Campbell crane and rigging are scheduled to be on site at Marine Park to lower the 140’ icon the week of September 17th—weather conditions will determine the exact day of operations. There will be two cranes on site to maneuver the totem pole to the ground and an I-beam will be installed along the back of the aging totem to offer additional support.
Marine Park—including walking paths, playground and parking area—will be closed intermittently during the days of operations likely from September 17th through the 20th. The public is encouraged to avoid the area those days as there will be no safe area for viewing.
“Taking down a 140’ structure will be a feat, and engineers will need a lot of space to work within so we’ll be closing the area to support their efforts to lower the pole in one piece,” says Liz Newman, marketing manager, Port of Kalama. “Following this project, the Port will store the totem pole near the amphitheater and continue to work with the family that owns them to identify the next best steps.”
The Port earlier this summer engaged engineering experts to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the tallest pole and its current ability to withstand strong winds and other weather. Early findings show impairment has affected the structural integrity of the pole—and thus the public safety of keeping it installed. Staff then worked with the engineering team to determine the best way to move the pole without creating further damage.
Port of Kalama Board of Commissioners declared the project to take down the 140’ pole an emergency action and instructed staff to immediately investigate options to remove the pole. An emergency action is taken when there’s a risk to public safety.
The Port is in close communications with the family who owns the totem poles to determine the best solution to potentially restore and maintain them.
The Port encourages visitors to be aware of contractor activity in the area around the structures the week of September 17th and to watch for further updates on the totem pole on the Port’s social media and blog pages.