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

Man uninjured in rollover on icy Madrona Way

A 23-year-old man was uninjured after his Chevy pickup rolled over on… Continue reading

Class teaches disaster readiness

‘There’s no reason not to be prepared’

State lawmaker aims to improve recycling process

Many people feel a sense of accomplishment when they opt to recycle… Continue reading

Van driver accused of ramming pickup truck

The driver of a van is accused of chasing a down a… Continue reading

New building permit fees expected to reduce costs

The Board of Island County Commissioners is set to vote on building… Continue reading

Contributed photo — Erin Kelly was so appreciative of Marc Swenson’s efforts that she baked him a “Thank You” cake.
Volunteer firefighter saves neighbor’s home

A quick response by a local firefighter may have helped save a… Continue reading

Gifts from the Heart turns sweet 16

Clients at Gifts at the Heart Food Bank will be in for… Continue reading

Man arrested for pawning stolen student robotics club’s telescope

A man faces a felony charge after getting caught pawning a telescope… Continue reading

Whidbey News Group file photo
                                Blake Fountain was arrested by Island County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rob Davison after he burned down a Useless Bay Colony home and partially destroyed another in July 2017.
Man who burned down two homes pleads guilty to lesser charge

A man who started a fire that burned down two homes on… Continue reading

Most Read