One Last Look

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May 21st 2006
Published: May 22nd 2006
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Some called it history in the making, to others it was mere spectacle. But whatever your view, I must admit there is some magnetic pull toward witnessing demolition. I had mixed sentiments about the implosion of the Trojan cooling tower, which I wrote about earlier in The End of an Era.

But in the end, I had to witness it for myself. I knew the best viewing position would most likely be from the Washington side of the Columbia River. So I drove north to Woodland the evening before the event, and then woke up at 5:30 am on Sunday morning to jockey for a position at the Kalama Marina.

The press was well established along the riverfront footpath, already queuing up people with stories and perspectives to tell. I wondered what the crowd reaction would be. Would there be any clapping or cheering?

In the end, it took less than 10 seconds for over 40,000 tons of concrete to be pulverized into dust. It looked like a collapsible drinking cup--the sort you might take camping--folding in on itself. My digital photography equipment was woefully inadequate to capture the event. But that’s okay, there's plenty of good footage on the web for those who want to watch the tower fall from every angle.

My wish was simply to observe the implosion firsthand, be a part of the crowd, and take one last look. In the end, it became just a pile of rubble, and I don’t know what practical purpose the tower could have fulfilled if it had remained.

One hundred years ago, the Trojan Powder Company manufactured dynamite at that site. When PGE purchased the land, they retained the name and bestowed in upon the new nuclear plant. So to see the tower imploded by similar explosives seemed a fitting farewell to a landmark that was always visible just around the bend from home.

Additional photos below
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22nd May 2006

I have enjoyed reading your blogs as of late. Hope you get to do some more traveling, for fun!, this summer.

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