Boeing Clears The Way For Plant 2 Site Restoration


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Boeing Clears The Way For Plant 2 Site Restoration

By Daniel Baxter

September 24, 2011 - Boeing today took down the last remaining steel structures that supported Plant 2 for more than 75 years, making room for site restoration, including development of five acres of wildlife habitat. 

Most of the old empty buildings formerly known as U.S. Air Force 17—but later called Plant 2 because it was Boeing's second assembly site—were demolished this year in conjunction with Boeing's commitment to environmental improvements that are vital to the Duwamish Waterway.  

The Duwamish River is the name of the lower 12 miles (19 km) of Washington state's Green River. Its industrialized estuary is known as the Duwamish Waterway. Now a new chapter begins. 

A half mile of shoreline will be restored to its natural habitat, a resting area for migratory fish, such as salmon, will be developed, more than 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be excavated and replaced with clean material.

More than 85 percent of the building will be recycled or reused, including steel beams, copper wiring, wood, and concrete and a new stormwater treatment systems will operate at Plant 2 and North Boeing Field to prevent recontamination of the waterway.  

"We are committed to restoring habitat along the Duwamish and conducting environmental work that is vital to the ecosystem, nearby wetlands, the Puget Sound and to our community," said Mary Armstrong, Boeing vice president of Environment, Health and Safety. "This is the largest planned habitat restoration in the Duwamish Waterway, and it will provide an important ecological resource to improve Puget Sound fish runs." 

The plant was important to the war effort in the 1940s, with 30,000 people building at times up to 300 aircraft a month, including the B-17 and B-52 bombers. It was known as the birthplace of America's airpower from World War II to the Cold War, and home to Rosie the Riveter—women working then-nontraditional factory jobs. 

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed in the 1930s for the then-United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 bombers, the Boeing entry outperformed both competitors and more than met the Air Corps' expectations.


Although Boeing lost the contract because the prototype crashed, the Air Corps was so impressed with Boeing's design that they ordered 13 more B-17s for further evaluation. From its introduction in 1938, the B-17 Flying Fortress evolved through numerous design advances.

The B-17 was primarily employed by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and military targets.

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber designed and built by Boeing and operated by the United States Air Force (USAF).

Beginning with the successful contract bid on 5 June 1946, the B-52 design evolved from a straight-wing aircraft powered by six turboprop engines to the final prototype YB-52 with eight turbojet engines and swept wings. The Stratofortress took its maiden flight in April 1952.

Built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions, the B-52 Stratofortress replaced the Convair B-36. Although a veteran of a number of wars, the Stratofortress has dropped only conventional munitions in combat. The B-52 carries up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons.

Its Stratofortress name is rarely used outside of official contexts; it has been referred to by Air Force personnel as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat/Flying Fucker/Fellow). The B-52 has been in active service with the USAF since 1955.

Boeing is working with local museums including the Museum of Flight and the Museum of History and Industry to ensure its important history will always be remembered.

B-17 Flying Fortress
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

In cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology, Boeing is already working on cleaning up the site. For example, more than 8 miles worth of concrete joint compounds manufactured with PCBs have been removed, and old stormwater drainage pipes have been cleaned. Dredging and soil remediation at Plant 2 is currently expected to begin in 2012, followed by the shoreline and habitat restoration.

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