Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Sequalitchew Threatened by DuPont Warehouses

Above: DuPont Industrial Partners, LLC is proposing to build two massive warehouses near Sequalitchew Creek and the Sequalitchew Creek trail in DuPont. The peaceful trail area, abundant with wildlife, is a favorite destination for families, bird watchers, and photographers.

Public Comment Deadline is September 12

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

A developer is proposing to build two industrial warehouse buildings on a vacant 21 acre piece of land located on the west side of Sequalitchew Creek in the city of DuPont in Pierce County. 

The project applicant is Eric Cederstrand, DuPont Industrial Partners, LLC, represented by Barghausen Consulting Engineers of Kent.

According to the application submitted to the city, the proposed construction of the two buildings total approximately 258,400 square feet, or over five acres. Over 70 percent of the property is expected to become impervious surface.

The warehouse facility is expected to employ 99 people. 

Sequalitchew Creek is an environmentally sensitive area on the east side of the Nisqually Reach.

Its canyon water flow comes from a variety of sources, including Sequalitchew Lake, underground springs, and smaller seeps.

peaceful 1.5 mile walking trail follows the wooded ravine along Sequalitchew Creek. It begins at the City of DuPont’s civic center and ends at the mouth of Sequalitchew Creek and Puget Sound, just north of the Nisqually Delta. It is a favorite destination for families. 

The buffer between the proposed project and the Sequalitchew Creek trail as labeled on an attached site map is 100 feet.

The City of DuPont has reviewed the proposed project and will likely issue a Mitigated Determination of Non-significance (MDNS) for the project.

Agencies, tribes, and the public are encouraged to review and comment on the proposed project by submitting written comments to the City of DuPont by 5:00 p.m. on September 12.

Comments should be sent to Jeff Wilson, City of DuPont Community Development Director and City SEPA Official, City of DuPont, 1700 Civic Drive DuPont, WA 98327 or

Above: The beginning of the paved portion of the Sequalitchew Creek trail and a dirt road indicates the direction a new road would be constructed to access two proposed industrial warehouses in DuPont. The area is the former site of the historic Methodist Episcopal Mission.

The Sequalitchew area was the site of a year round village for the Sequalitchew-Nisqually Indians over 5,700 years ago. The name Sequalitchew is the Nisqually description of the sandy beach at the mouth of the creek and means big tide or long, run out tide. 

The land for the proposed warehouses is also the general site of the historic Methodist Episcopal Mission, the first non-permanent, Euro-American settlement on Puget Sound. Built in 1839, the Mission burned down in 1842.

In 1841, a second group of Americans arrived and anchored off the mouth of Sequalitchew Creek. Led by explorer Lt. Charles Wilkes, the general area is said to be the site of the first Fourth of July celebration north of the Columbia River.

According to the application, the proposal includes an expanded public right-of-way dedication to create a public plaza for historical markers as part of the development.

The vacant site will need all aspects of land preparation and infrastructure including grading, landscaping, water and sanitary sewer extensions, a stormwater collection and infiltration facility, dedications of public right-of-way, and an extension of Sequalitchew Drive.

Due to contamination, the property is subject to the terms of a 1991 consent decree between the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Weyerhaeuser Company and DuPont Company. 

Under the state Model Toxics Control Act, the companies agreed to implement remedial cleanup activities for the contaminated areas of the site. 

The property is part of the former DuPont Works site, a 3,000-acre parcel of land that at one time was the site of an industrial explosives production facility operated by the E.I. duPont de Nemours & Company. 

Above: A site map indicates the location of a 21 acre vacant parcel of land along Sequalitchew Creek proposed for the construction of two warehouse buildings totaling over five acres in size with related facility requirements.

Above: The nearby apartment community of Creekside Village is nestled alongside the Sequalitchew Creek trail on Sequalitchew Drive. The trail system along the creek and the historic Fort Nisqually site is a major draw for residents in DuPont.

Near the proposed warehouse site across Center Drive and the historic Fort Nisqually site, is a quiet residential neighborhood called Creekside Village. 

To access the proposed project, a cul-de-sac at the end of Sequalitchew Drive would be removed and a road would be extended through the property. Large Oregon white oak trees would also be removed.

DuPont is proud of its historic heritage and produces many events and activities around its history.

Each year in August, the City of DuPont hosts DuPont Heritage Days. On August 18-19 of this year, the DuPont Historical Society hosted reenactment activities and tours at the Fort Nisqually site.

The Hudson Bay Company arrived in 1832 on Sequalitchew Creek and built Fort Nisqually, a fur trading and agricultural settlement. The fort was later purchased by the U.S. government in 1869. 

The remaining fort structures were moved and reconstructed as a living museum in the 1930s to the Point Defiance Park in Tacoma.

Above: The city of DuPont's city hall at 1700 Civic Center Drive sits just east of Sequalitchew Creek. Access to the trailhead of the Sequalitchew Creek trail is nearby. A favorite with families, the Sequalitchew Creek Canyon features a stunning 1.5 mile walking trail that follows Sequalitchew Creek and ends at Puget Sound.