Former G-P bleach plant on Bellingham waterfront knocked down

BELLINGHAM - One of the largest remaining red brick structures on the waterfront - the old Georgia-Pacific Corp. bleach plant - came crashing down Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 14 and 15, as demolition work continues on the remnants of a pulp mill that shut down in 2001.

Parberry Environmental Solutions of Ferndale is doing the job under a $500,000 contract with the Port of Bellingham.

Port Facilities Director Fred Seeger said the spectacular planned collapse of the building's walls drew a crowd to vantage points around the site. It was the culmination of a months-long process that began in November with the removal of asbestos, lead paint and other potential contaminants before the final demolition of the building.

The bleach plant building is about 93 feet tall. Two other buildings that were dismantled as part of this project were the pulp storage warehouse and the pulp screening room.

The work crew kept the debris away from the two adjacent burnt orange colored tile tanks, which are being preserved as industrial icons.

Demolition and site cleanup work is expected to be complete by the end of March, Seeger said.

An architect's 2009 study of the old G-P buildings listed the bleach plant as a good candidate for demolition, with no economically feasible new uses for it.

About 90 percent of the materials from the demolished building are being reused or recycled, Seeger said.

That includes some valves and fittings that will be sent to Bellingham Technical College for use in the school's technology training programs. Some of the equipment inside the building is being saved for possible use in a future historical exhibit about the pulp mill and its history.

The mill was built in 1937 and was a major employer in Bellingham until its shutdown.