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Demolished building leaves stunning view in its wake

Fencing has been added around the site of the former Seafare restaurant. Its removal opened the view to the Columbia River as well as West Mooring Basin. Visible at left is Astoria Riverwalk Hotel and at right is the port's Pier 1 building. (Cindy Yingst)
Thursday, June 25, 2020

You could Seafare before, but now the view is great.

The Port of Astoria has completed demolition of the former Seafare waterfront restaurant, featured in a scene from the movie “Kindergarten Cop.”

“I don’t recall any discussion on what we’re going to do there,” Port Commissioner James Campbell said in a meeting Tuesday. “We need to look at putting the same thing back. It is one of the most desirable locations on the coast.”

Commissioner Frank Spence agreed. He suggested issuing a request for proposals from developers nationwide.

“If you haven’t looked at the sight line, it is spectacular,” Spence said. “There are investors out there. Astoria will continue to grow and continue to be a destination. That location cannot be matched.”

The Seafare building fell into disrepair in the early 2000s and eventually was deemed structurally unsafe.

By the end of the month, Port Operations Manager Matt McGrath said he plans to request a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replace the deck and piles. It would give any potential project a jumpstart, he said.

The port was forced to demolish the old building, even though funding is tight, Executive Director Will Isom said.

“Parts of building were starting to fall off and the thing was going to cave in at some point,” Isom said. “It’s a valuable spot … and we want to use it for the highest and best use.”

The site is included in a master plan the city of Astoria is creating for development along the Columbia River waterfront.

In other business at Tuesday’s Port Commission meeting:

** Members approved a $15.8 million budget that includes $8.64 million for capital outlay such as the acquisition and maintenance of facilities and other major assets, $3.27 million to pay for goods and services, $2.83 million for personnel and $478,000 in debt payments.

** Isom announced the return of river cruise operations, with the first ship expected to dock in Astoria on Saturday, June 20. Those plans were later thwarted by a statewide decision to ban cruise ships from docking in Oregon until there is a vaccine for COVID-19.

Port Commissioner James Campbell

Port Commissioner Frank Spence

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