Two years ago, we wrote that the Kalakala was living on borrowed

Two years ago, we wrote that the Kalakala was living on borrowed time, having been badly damaged by a snow and ice storm. This, most people thought at the time, was the final knockout punch that would put a merciful end to the iconic art deco vessel. But of course, killing Freddy Kruger was a breeze compared to finishing off this rusting 276-foot long hulk, which has been on life support for nearly a decade on Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway.

The ferry’s owner plans to have the 88-year-old heap cut up for scrap later this month, reports the Tacoma News Tribune.

The Kalakala was used as a Seattle ferry. Beginning in 1935, it sailed the Bremerton route for more than 30 years. It was put on the auction block in 1967. Later, it became a fish processing ship before being grounded in 1972 as a cannery. In 1998, Seattle sculptor Peter Bevis bought the ship and brought it back to Seattle, hoping it would could be preserved as a tourist attraction. But he was unable to restore it and by 2003, the Kalakala was moved out of Lake Union by Rodrigues, who took the boat to Neah Bay and then to Tacoma.

The Army Corps has called the ship an environmental hazard, and the Hylebos is one of the nation’s largest Superfund sites.

“The vessel is likely damaged and highly susceptible to further injury or deterioration with any sudden impact or severe movement,” the Corps declared in December 2011, with unsuitable mooring and severe degradation of the ship’s hull.
The Kalakala, writes C.R. Roberts, “sits today as she has for 10 years on the western shore of the Hylebos Waterway, hosted by benefactor and Tacoma industrialist Karl Anderson. Rust weeps all along the once-shining superstructure and rust carpets every deck in thick layers on rotted steel. Paint peels from every wall as cold rain and wind blow in where windows once stood.”