A nearly century-old warehouse on Hammer Slough collapsed Friday evening after its piling gave way, dropping the two-story structure into onto the beach. The building, owned by Arnold Enge, was not occupied.
Enge said after removing his personal property from the structure, he will raze the structure and haul the debris away. He suggested the work could be difficult because of the weight restrictions on the Birch Street roadway, limiting the use of a crane and dump trucks. “I may have to cut it up with a chainsaw and haul it out by skiff,” Enge said of the collapsed structure.
By Saturday morning Enge and friends were removing personal property from the second floor of the warehouse, which was still accessible at high tide.
Enge purchased the slough property around 1986 from the estate of Blanche Thomassen. He said he thought the structure may have been built around 1917 before the city’s townsite was platted.
Enge recalled that the previous owner had pestered the city council in the 1970s to settle a Birch Street encroachment issue with her.
After many appearances at the city council meetings, the city eventually sold the property to Thomassen for one dollar, which Egne recalled was still clipped to the paperwork provided to him when he purchased the property.
Enge said he had lived in the upstairs apartment for a brief time following his divorce and the apartment had been a, “bachelor pad” for numerous fishermen and crew members over the decades the building sat on the edge of the slough. “The rent was cheap,” Enge commented. He estimated no one had lived in the building for about the past 15 years.