Photo provided
                                Work at Oak Harbor’s sewage treatment plant in Windjammer Park involves digging in earth where remains of Native Americans were unearthed.

Photo provided Work at Oak Harbor’s sewage treatment plant in Windjammer Park involves digging in earth where remains of Native Americans were unearthed.

Discovery of human remains doesn’t slow sewer plant project

The project engineer for the new Oak Harbor’s sewage plant project has lost count of how many times human remains have been found during construction.

The inadvertent discoveries, however, haven’t stopped the work on the large-scale project.

Brett Arvidson, project engineer, told the Oak Harbor City Council Tuesday that human remains were found at the site the week prior.

During an interview, Arvidson said such finds don’t interrupt the work, which is on schedule to be completed next year. He said he doesn’t know how many times remains were found.

Earlier in the project, for example, 28 sets of remains were unearthed in a period of a couple of weeks.

He explained that, in a memorandum of understanding between the city and six Native American tribes, a process was established for the city to follow with each discovery of remains.

The agreement is helpful in detailing the response, City Administrator Doug Merriman said, and has made everyone involved aware of the importance of cultural sensitivity with regard to the remains.

Arvidson said the first step is to summon a physical anthropologist to the site.

The police and coroner are notified so they can determine that it isn’t a crime scene.

The state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation is also notified and, ultimately, takes custody of the remains.

Arvidson said there have been as many as four archaeologists on site at one time; the city has its own archaeologist on staff.

An archaeological firm took core samples at the site and determined before digging began that the unearthing of culturally sensitive material was likely.

As a result, the city worked with the tribes to set up a process.

Photo provided
                                Work at Oak Harbor’s sewage treatment plant in Windjammer Park involves digging in earth where remains of Native Americans were unearthed.

Photo provided Work at Oak Harbor’s sewage treatment plant in Windjammer Park involves digging in earth where remains of Native Americans were unearthed.

More in News

Prosecutor declines to charge Langley police chief with crime

The Island County prosecutor won’t charge Langley Police Chief David Marks with… Continue reading

Registration open for returning students at SVC

Registration for returning students is underway for summer and fall quarters at… Continue reading

Oak Harbor FamilyCare Physical Therapy becomes NorthSound Physical Therapy.

On June 1, Oak Harbor FamilyCare Physical Therapy officially becomes “NorthSound Physical… Continue reading

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island open house

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island will host its annual open house for… Continue reading

Whidbey Nonprofit Gifts Funds to Local Volunteer Organizations and Lighthouses

The Lighthouse Environmental Programs, or LEP, nonprofit group of Whidbey continues to… Continue reading

Art school hosting presentation by National Geographic photographer

Renowned photographer Sam Abell will give a lecture and photo presentation at… Continue reading

Oak Harbor Council creates taxing district to fund roadwork

Oak Harbor City Council adopted an ordinance that should help the city… Continue reading

Bench will be dedicated to longtime Oak Harbor leader

Kiwanis Club of Oak Harbor and the Oak Harbor School District will… Continue reading

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times
                                Janelle Solomon, 12, from the Lummi Nation’s Ultimate Warrior Canoe Club carries a canoe along with Regina Miller, who is about to participate in the Woman’s Singles races. See the story on page A9 of today’s Whidbey News-Times.
Water Fest draws up to 4,000 people

Bead by bead, three-and-a-half year old Ezra Malloy strung together a colorful… Continue reading

Most Read