Workers began to remove the ways building at the former Nichols Boat Works site, the Dalles Chronicle reported.
Last week, planners approved a 42-unit townhouse development by Naito Development at that location. Naito bought the 5.5 acre parcel from Nichols Boat Works, Inc. in January, 2007.
The building being removed was the third shop used by the boat works in its 57-year history (1940-1997). It was built in 1969 when the Port of Hood River was completing a massive dredge and fill project north of the freeway. As part of the attraction, the fill at the site was sloped properly at six percent for the ways, or skids, from which boats were launched. The ways building being removed is 150 feet long, and to the peak of the roof at the lower edge is 53 feet, or the height of a five story building. The ways themselves go out in the water about 110 feet.
Overhead, the building held four five-ton cranes used to move steel plate into position during construction.
The site was primarily known for the creation of the sternwheeler Columbia Gorge, which launched in 1983, and will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.
At its peak, Nichols Boat Works employed more than 30 welders and operated two shifts. The business specialized in work boats, including tugboats, boom boats for maneuvering log booms, and fishing boats. A wide variety of barges were constructed, including specialty barges for hauling oil, fingerling fish, grain and refrigerated rail cars. At least one barge was constructed by cutting two World War II surplus landing craft in half and welding the bow sections together. More than 350 boats and barges were constructed by the firm in its 57-year history.
Source: Dalles Chronicle