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Cleanup and Redevelopment at Quiet Cove

Cleanup and Redevelopment at Quiet Cove

Standard Oil Complex at O Avenue & 2nd Street (Nov. 1909), photo coutesy of Anacortes Museum

A D.O.E/Port of Anacortes partnership

By Betty Carteret

Quiet Cove has been anything but quiet over its busy history!

This latest Washington Department of Ecology–Port of Anacortes cleanup site is located on Guemes Channel, at the north end of “O” Avenue—a center of local commercial and marine transport since the early 1900s, when Curtis Wharf was built nearby.

One of the major industries established at Quiet Cove was the Standard Oil dock, with its office and distribution center located south of Curtis Wharf between 2nd and 3rd Street on both sides of O Avenue.  In the photo below you can see their Red Crown gasoline building across from where the popular Anacortes Soroptimist shop is located today. The distribution center provided Zerolene and Red Crown brand gasoline to a community whose boats and a growing number of motor cars were running on this convenient new fuel.

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Zerolene Delivery Cart ca. 1905,  courtesy of Anacortes Museum

Petroleum off-loaded from ships was stored there in above-ground storage tanks. With use and over time, these tanks may have leaked contamination into surrounding soils.

In 2013, the Port of Anacortes purchased the Quiet Cove property bounded on the west side by the old Standard Oil office, which is now occupied by American Gold Seafood at 202 O Street. The Port has mostly emptied a storage and maintenance yard that operated until July 2015 at the location where the old Red Crown building had once stood.

 Standard Oil Officecrp Standard Oil Office today

Standard Oil Building - then and now, courtesy Anacortes Museum

The cleanup process

Prior to any cleanup, extensive planning for redevelopment must take place. In November 2014, the port hosted a public workshop to solicit community input on potential uses of the property. Public feedback generally was in line with the port’s own feasibility analysis that found the best use for the site would be “water-dependent industrial uses” according to Port Project Manager Becky Darden. The port also is considering public access through the area on 3rd Street to avoid conflict with industrial operations and traffic on 2nd Street, providing a future link to the Guemes Channel Trail being developed by the City of Anacortes.

Also in 2014, a port investigation determined that contaminants at the site exceeded levels requiring cleanup under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). Groundwater monitoring wells were installed, sampled, and found to contain petroleum hydrocarbons and arsenic. Additionally, soil samples showed hydrocarbon and heavy metal contamination, including:

• Benzene

• Toluene

• Ethylbenzene

• Xylenes

• Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs)

• Carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

• Naphthalenes

• Cadmium

Before redevelopment can begin, the Quiet Cove site will be remediated to address contamination. The site has been added to the list of projects being remediated under the Anacortes Baywide Cleanup program, a partnership between the Washington Department of Ecology and Port of Anacortes.

Other Guemes Channel sites included in this comprehensive shoreline cleanup include the old Wyman’s Marina (now Robinson’s Cove), Dakota Creek upland and shoreline, former Anacortes Box and Lumber in-water log storage area, and Railroad Avenue beach. For more information on this cleanup work visit the Trail Tales website or watch a short video at the Friends of Skagit Beaches Vimeo channel.

Guemes Channel site map 1

Guemes Channel Cleanup Sites, courtesy Friends of Skagit Beaches

From October 19 to November 17, 2015, Ecology solicited comments from the public on a Draft Agreed Order and Draft Public Participation Plan for Quiet Cove. The Draft Agreed Order spells out the agreement between the state and port on the remedial action needed to address the site’s contamination as well as necessary additional investigations and planning.

The Department of Ecology takes the lead on engaging public awareness and contributions to project planning through their public participation plan. As a recipient of a DOE Public Participation grant, the Friends of Skagit Beaches Trail Tales project supports Ecology in this effort through our website, newsletters, and interpretive programs. For more information, visit Ecology’s Anacortes Baywide Cleanup and Quiet Cove web pages.

If you missed the fall comment period, there will be future opportunities to get involved. To find out about them, subscribe to our e-newsletter, visit the Ecology public involvement calendar, or “Like” us on Facebook. For further information, contact Betty Carteret at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Arianne Fernandez, ecology site manager for the Toxics Cleanup Program at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Student-Made Marine Film Shorts

Student-Made Marine Film Shorts

As part of the 2015 fall Film Series, Trail Tales funded two short, student-made films about topics relevant to Skagit County. The first video "Forage Fish of the Salish" was shown at the fall film series on October 23rd. You can view this film on the Friends of Skagit Beaches Vimeo channel at Our second video about Skagit County Marine Reserves will be shown on Friday, November 20, before the feature film Mission Blue.

Films with Friends 2015 film series

Films with Friends 2015 film series

Get there early for a seat at this popular film series! Friends of Skagit Beaches and Trail Tales are again offering four feature-length, environmental-themed documentaries at its Friday film nights.  On October 9th we'll watch the documentary "Just Eat It" and on October 23rd we will have the special privilege of having the Samish Indian Nation share their documentary, “The Maiden of Deception Pass – Guardian of her Samish People.”

On November 6th we will watch the documentary "Easy Like Water" and on November 20th host Coastal Volunteer Partnership will show the film "Mission Blue". Prior to each showing, a short, student-made documentary will debut on topics of local interest and attendees will have an opportunity to meet the talented local filmmakers.  Doors open at 6:30pm and the program starts at 7pm at the Northwest Educational Service District 189 building,1601 R Avenue, Anacortes. Films with Friends is free and open to all ages.

Visit the Friends of Skagit Beaches events calendar for all film listings. 

Trail Tales Receives Third WA DOE Grant

Trail Tales Receives Third WA DOE Grant

Friends of Skagit Beaches again has been honored with a third grant from the Washington Department of Ecology Public Participation Grant program to support the department’s cleanup and restoration of the Anacortes shoreline.

Since receiving its first grant in July 2011, FOSB has offered four years of public outreach and education events, including dozens of interpretive walks along Anacortes’ Tommy Thompson Trail, 33 interpretive signs, films, lectures, and a website chock full of information about the history, cultures, ecology, and environmental restoration work in Skagit County. The third grant, just received, enables Trail Tales education and outreach to continue in the upcoming two-year grant period with shoreline interpretive programs.

Trail Tales education and outreach will continue in the upcoming two-year grant period with shoreline interpretive programs, support of talented young filmmakers documenting local stories, and development of online media. In addition, the focus is being expanded in partnership with the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and integrating with the new Coastal Volunteer Partnership at Padilla Bay.

Are you a researcher, leader, closet naturalist, or dynamite cookie baker? There are many rewarding ways to get involved as a volunteer with the Trail Tales program. Imagine yourself leading or assisting with interpretive programs, walks, and special programs; developing content for the website; or helping organize, staff, or promote events. To find your niche, contact Betty Carteret at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (360) 299-8553.

Trail Tales Stories

Trail Tales Stories

Anacortes has a rich and well-documented history, from the Anacortes Museum annotated photo library and historic files to topical books and recorded interviews. We’re proud to have Trail Tales interpretive signs and docent-led walks take their place among these rich resources, honoring the past while making it easily accessible to the public.

Over the past year, Friends President Betty Carteret and writer Jan Hersey of Biz Point Communications, with help from Anacortes Museum Education Curator Bret Lunsford, spent some six months crafting the 16 new interpretive signs unveiled this spring and summer. Bootlegged liquor, glacial erratics, intrepid swimmers . . . as the Trail Tales editorial team developed the interpretive sign copy and identified interpretive walks topics, we learned many fascinating stories from a wide range of sources.

Juggling chronological, factual, and cultural information with strict space limitations required difficult decisions about what to include and what, regrettably, to leave out. Now, however, through this and subsequent newsletters and updates to the Trail Tales website, we’ll be sharing many more of the stories left “on the cutting room floor.” One of the topics that begged to be examined was the connection of Anacortes’ people to their shoreline. Ultimately, we illustrated this through a focus on the city’s history of crabbing, which you can read at the Trail Tales website “To Market and Table” page.

Following is a wonderful quote that didn’t make the original cut, illustrating that today’s thriving farmers market indeed has deep roots in the community. It’s excerpted from the museum’s extensive oral history interviews that Bret is now expanding and making more accessible to the public.

"In the early days the Indians would come up in their canoes, to where the Depot is now, and they would have baskets of clams they dug, baskets of berries they picked and they would want to trade them either for pots and pans or clothes, most. So they would leave the baskets and all. I got very interested in the baskets as I grew up. We had them all over the house. Mother used them of course. I was very fascinated how they were made and the way they were constructed. That’s the reason why I collected baskets, not because I knew they would be valuable someday. There were six houses down there. In fact, that is where I was born. The Great Northern bought that area and were going to put in a new depot; they’d move the houses, so people had to move out." - Mary Babarovich Luvera, interview courtesy Anacortes Museum


Painting by Jennifer Bowman, on display at Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center