Seaside village winnows lighthouse rehab options

The Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse. Union file photo

Paul Mann
Mad River Union

TRINIDAD — The community Civic Club, owner of the Memorial Lighthouse parcel, has begun narrowing mitigation alternatives to save the obelisk from mounting landslide threats.

Readying language for an emergency permit application on Oct. 16, the club has decided to jettison two courses of action developed weeks ago by SHN Consulting Engineers of Eureka:

• Wedging piles horizontally beneath the foundation

• Moving the estimated 40-ton concrete structure laterally on giant rollers some 20 feet to the east on the 45 by 50 foot plot below Edwards Street.

Both actions would entail disturbances of the adjoining soil and vegetation on land that the Tsurai Ancestral Society considers a sacred cultural and archaeological site.   

With the pilings and lateral shift off the table, SHN Geosciences Director Gary Simpson is refining emergency permit language in partnership with Civic Club President Dana Hope and City Planner Trever Parker, who will return from overseas in three weeks.

“It is our intention to have a proposal for the emergency permit on Trever’s desk when she returns from her vacation on Monday, October the 16th,” Hope informed the city council last week on a courtesy basis.

The council is not part of the initiative to preserve the lighthouse, which is the responsibility of the civic club, an all-volunteer organization.

Hope called the preservation drive a “very challenging circumstance.” Club members ardently favor perpetuating the red-trimmed, alabaster white structure built in 1949 that sustains an august historical tradition dating to the lighthouse of Pharos in ancient Alexandria, built by Egypt’s Ptolemaic Kingdom in the third century BCE.

The club rates the lighthouse a major tourist attraction that benefits Trinidad aesthetically and financially.

However, Native Americans assert a far more ancient heritage and Civic Club leaders face adamant tribal demands of long standing for the Memorial Lighthouse to be moved elsewhere, for good.

Simpson and the Civic Club are scheduled to meet again on Oct. 5 to continue crafting the precise language required to help ensure Parker’s approval of the emergency permit application later in the month.

The city planner has said work could begin as soon as she authorizes the go-ahead, and Simpson believes it is essential that work begin as many days as possible before the rainy season starts.



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