Bridge work

Bridge work 1

Early this year floodwaters of the Dungeness River caused pileups of water and logs that undermined part of the railroad bridge across the Dungeness River at Railroad Bridge Park. The historic trestle was not damaged but the west side of the bridge partly collapsed.

Rebuilding began earlier this month. The old section which had been supported with creosote beams has been removed and will be replaced with fewer supports. The new design will have fewer impediments to water flow and salmon migration. A coalition of many groups, led by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, which owns the bridge and Railroad Bridge Park, will pay for the design, demolition, and reconstruction.

Bridge work 2

Timing of the work has been tricky as crews try to complete work without impeding salmon runs. Click here for more information about the project.

Blyn again

S'Klallam South Campus

Yesterday I showed you some of the Jamestown S’Klallam buildings on the north side of Highway 101. Here’s a building on the other side, the South Campus. Click here if you’re interested in learning more about the tribe. In addition to the Seven Cedars Casino nearby, they have a number of local businesses including a medical clinic (open to the general community), deli and gas station, and construction and excavating companies.

S'Klallam totem

This totem pole is located near the Community Center. I didn’t see that there was an information plaque on it until I downloaded this photo so I can’t tell you anything about it.


S'Klallam Library

There’s a gem of a little library located in Blyn, the tribal center of the Jamestown S’Klallam nation. The focus is on Native American culture and history and there is a wonderful selection of volumes if this is where your interests take you. Some volumes are for use only in the library but most are available for check out if you are local. I was thrilled to find two coffee table sized volumes of Edward S. Curtis photographs that are worth a return visit to linger over.

S'Klallam Community Center

The library is one of a collection of buildings that serve both the tribe and the broader community. The Jamestown S’Klallam host lectures and community events in this community center.

S'Klallam gateway totems

These totems create a beautiful gateway. In the distance is Sequim Bay.

The broken bridge

Broken bridge

Early this month flood debris damaged the western part of the Railroad Bridge, a popular link in the Olympic Discovery Trail. For a couple of weeks the entire bridge was closed, although the landmark railroad trestle portion of the bridge is intact. Then fencing was constructed at either end of the damaged span to allow viewing and walking on the eastern trestle. Vandals promptly destroyed the fencing, which was quickly replaced. Yesterday I peered through the new fencing (which now has video monitoring) to catch this shot of the broken portion of the bridge.

Debris field

Here’s the debris field just upstream of the bridge. It’s not hard to see how the bridge was undermined. This portion of the river, also, had been a secondary flow. In the course of the flooding the river channel shifted to flow more vigorously under this western side of the bridge.

The Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, which owns the bridge, plans to redesign, repair and reopen it. As you can see, they have their work cut out for them and there’s no estimate yet on how long this will take. In the meantime, trail users are detoured around this stretch of the Olympic Discovery Trail.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the undamaged portion of the bridge.

Burger fix

Every now and then I crave a good, char-broiled hamburger. I haven’t scoured Sequim for the perfect burger, but have been happy with the ones I’ve found at Stymie’s, the bar and grill at the Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course. I tried something new yesterday: this one came topped with blue cheese. And instead of the standard virtuous salad I opted for the sweet potato fries. I left happy.

Here’s the front of the building. The golf course is beyond the back and Stymie’s, at the back, looks onto the course. To the right is one of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s many totem poles. I posted other photos of this spot here, earlier this month.

Totem update – Jamestown Family Health Center

Early last month I posted pictures of this totem pole that is located at the Jamestown Family Health Center in Sequim. I didn’t know the stories associated with the pole. I heard from a local, Betty, who informed me that the waiting room at the Health Center has informational brochures about the totem and I picked one up. Thank you, Betty! Here is more information about the “Healing Arts Totem Pole” taken from the brochure provided by the Tribe.

At the bottom of this 38-foot pole is a shaman or medicine man whose traditional role is to assure the health and prosperity of the community. He is seen as an intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds and his most important role is to cure the sick. A shaman derives his healing powers from “spirit helpers,” animal spirits who possess the secrets of life and death and who share these gifts with the shaman. The shaman’s paraphernalia, a rattle and a baton, a crown of mountain goat horns, and a “soul catcher” around his neck, aid him in moving into a trance state to do his healing work. Below the shaman is Frog who lives on both land and in the water and also has the transformational power to morph from a fishlike tadpole into a four-legged frog.

Above the shaman is Sculpin, a guide to aid the shaman in returning to the physical plane. Sculpin is a fish that can also grant certain powers. Above Sculpin is Land Otter. At home on land or in the water, Land Otter is considered a powerful supernatural assistant.

Above Land Otter is Octopus. Octopus is capable of transforming his color, shape, and texture and is considered a great ally when opposing evil spirits. Second from the top is Wolf, who helps to guide the shaman back to the secular world after his spirit world travels. And at the top is Mountain Goat. Mountain Goat lives between the terrestrial world and the sky world and travels ahead of the shaman to guard him against danger.

The S’Klallam brochure does not identify the carving style used for this totem except to note that their totems “represent some aspect of Northwest Native and/or Jamestown S’Klallam life.” The Tribe’s totems at their 7 Cedars Casino are done in a variety of Northwest cultural styles. This one at the Health Center looks Tlingit to me.

Jamestown Family Health Clinic

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe opened a new family health clinic in Sequim in July 2010. It is set back off Fifth Avenue and serves both the Tribe and the broader community. If my fascination with totems hasn’t worn out your interest in them, here’s a closer shot of the totem pole in front of the health clinic.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any information about this totem. The colors and styling look Tlingit to me but this is strictly by comparison with a Tlingit totem at the 7 Cedars Casino. I’d welcome any details if there are locals who may know about its style or story.