Coupeville Beach stairs ruled unsafe

Tim McDonald, director for Port of Coupeville, closes a Front Street public beach access. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Tim McDonald, director for Port of Coupeville, closes a Front Street public beach access.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Because of safety concerns, leaders for the Port of Coupeville have deemed unsafe a Front Street entry point to the beach.

Stairs near the port office by Coupeville Wharf were recently chained off.

People can still walk down to the beach by using the Front Street deck, located next to the Knead and Feed.

“The stairway is falling apart and it’s not safe to go down there,” said Tim McDonald, executive director for Port of Coupeville.

McDonald said parts of the concrete stairs are broken, the sand underneath is washing away and there’s nothing anchoring the stairs.

There is also a large piece of wood blocking the stairs and hampering people’s access to the shore.

Port officials said they noticed the state of the stairs last month. A chain currently blocks the entry at the top and bottom of the stairs as officials decide how to address safety concerns.

The access is just the latest maintenance problem to arise for a public entity that owns two 100-year-old facilities — the Coupeville Wharf and Greenbank Farm.

“Basically we have more maintenance than we can handle,” Port Commissioner Marshall Bronson said.

The Port of Coupeville recently received a rural development fund grant that will provide up to $70,000 to pay for new fuel floats at the Coupeville wharf.

The current concrete floats are prone to breaking away from the wharf during severe weather.

Also, the sewer system at the Greenbank Farm needs to be redesigned and officials are working to meet requirements set by the state Department of Health.

Port officials are developing an updated list of construction, repair and maintenance projects.

It will be up to the commissioners for the Port of Coupeville to come up with a priority list.

The port is budgeted to spend $70,464 on construction, repair and maintenance during 2014.

The small port district received $335,000 in Conservation Futures Funds in 2013 for a conservation easement placed on the agriculture, recreational and environmentally sensitive lands at Greenbank Farm.

Officials have yet to decide how to use that additional funding.


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