WESTPORT, Grays Harbor County — The phone call Westport had been waiting on for three years finally came in November.
City administrator Kevin Goodrich, at his desk early, was the first to get the news: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is granting the coastal community’s request for $15.2 million to build a tsunami evacuation structure to protect people in its low-lying marina area.
But even though Goodrich and his colleagues had been in bureaucratic limbo since submitting the grant application in 2020, they didn’t spend much time celebrating.
“Obviously, it’s very satisfying,” Goodrich tells me a couple of weeks later. “But it’s really just business as usual for us, because we still have a lot of work before we can get anything on the ground — and then there are all the other ones.”
Other tsunami towers, he means.
Anchored on the north by Westport and on the south by Tokeland and the Shoalwater Bay Reservation, this 15-mile stretch of Pacific Coast locals call South Beach already boasts Washington’s only two tsunami escape structures. The new project, set to be completed in 2026, will make it three. And Westport is determined to keep pushing until it has at least three more — enough to guarantee the safety of most of the small town’s 2,200 residents and the thousands more who visit every year.