Bone costs top $1 million for Oak Harbor

The cost of finding Native American remains on S.E. Pioneer Way in downtown Oak Harbor has surpassed the $1 million mark.

At a special meeting last week, the city council authorized up to $150,000 in additional expenses for the project contractor, Strider Construction. It also approved a contract increase of $175,000 for the city’s hired archeological firm, SWCA Environmental Consultants.

According to project manager Larry Cort, both expenses are directly related to the inadvertent discovery of human remains between S.W. Ireland Street and Ilwaco Alley this past June.

Combined with earlier, previously approved costs, the total amount now authorized to spend  on the discovery rests at just over $1 million.

“I’ve been watching this number fairly closely,” said Cort, in a later interview.

The expenses include everything from penalties assessed by the contractor for the mobilization and remobilization of assets and loss of efficiency, to the cost of archaeological work, security, tribal monitoring, fencing and other miscellaneous needs.

Even with the latest round of increases, the project remains about $500,000 under budget. Originally approved at $8.35 million, authorized expenditures now hover at about $7.84 million.

Although Cort said some of those costs may actually be less than expected, additional archeological work at a second site on Pit Road and the purchase of land and reburial of the Native American remains has yet to be factored in.

Cort said he could not speculate on how much that might run or how long but did say that the city is in the process of selecting a firm to do the remaining archeological work. A decision is expected to be announced in a week or two, he said.


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