Wash. drops suit against ex-ferry, Alaska processor

Decision spares Kalakala more than $20,000 in fines piled up when boat moored on Lake Union

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2005

TACOMA, Wash. - The Washington Department of Natural Resources has dropped its lawsuit against the foundation that owns the art-deco ferry Kalakala.

The decision spares the cash-strapped foundation more than $20,000 in fines racked up when the boat was moored on DNR property on Seattle's Lake Union.

In March, the streamlined silvery relic was towed to Neah Bay, where it is embroiled in a lawsuit filed by the Makah Tribe.

It found safe harbor in Tacoma in September.

"The Kalakala Alliance Foundation and other defendants and the attorney general on Feb. 12 signed an agreement to drop the 2004 lawsuit regarding the Kalakala," Steve Rodrigues, president and founder of the Port Angeles-based foundation, announced Friday.

"We would like to express our sincere apologies and our appreciation to both the new and former attorneys general for dropping this case," he said. The new attorney general is former state Sen. Rob McKenna, a Republican. He was elected to succeed Democrat Christine Gregoire, now serving as governor.

The Kalakala was retired as a ferry in 1967. In the 1990s, Seattle artist Peter Bevis rescued the vessel from mudflats near Kodiak, Alaska, where it had been used to process fish, and towed it to Seattle.

Restoration costs and moorage have been a problem ever since. Bevis' bankrupt Kalakala Foundation put the ferry on the block in 2003. Rodrigues, the buyer, has moved it three times - first from Seattle to Port Angeles, then to Neah Bay and finally to a low-profile dock in Tacoma's industrial tideflats.



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