The cultural influence of eight Coast Salish tribes with jurisdiction over Puget Sound coastal waters speaks loud and clear through the design of the new $129 million Mukilteo Ferry Terminal, expected to open in 2019. In a unique cross between a ferry terminal and a tribal longhouse building typology, the main terminal will be a steel and timber-framed post-and-beam structure, sitting lightly on the land with the potential to be operated completely off the grid. Combined with advanced energy and water conservation strategies, the facility will be capable of generating 100% of its electricity usage through a roof-mounted solar array. Additional systems, such as electric heat pumps, allow the interior to be comfortable throughout the year by heating and cooling the concrete-slab main floor. The project rehabilitates a brownfield site—demolishing a former tank farm pier dating from World War II—which will eliminate four percent of the remaining toxic creosote from Puget Sound waters. The large vehicle holding area will be pervious concrete, filtering stormwater through a layer of sand before directing it back to the sea.
Tribal craftsmanship will appear throughout the project, from the ticketing pavilion that welcomes users with the word “Mukilteo” in the Lushootseed language, to sculptural elements commissioned from tribal artists. A $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the federal government, recently announced by Senator Patty Murray, reinforces the existing commitment by the State of Washington to a sustainable facility and a strong connection with tribal cultures. Since 2009, the TIGER program has awarded $4.6 billion to 342 innovative, multimodal projects around the country, including $204 million to 13 projects in Washington State. The Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal Relocation grant is the first TIGER project awarded in Snohomish County.