Washington Man Officially Owns Former State Ferry at Olympia Port


The former Washington state ferry that has been docked at the Port of Olympia for more than two years is now the official property of a Vancouver, Washington man, the port commission learned on Monday.

Port Executive Director Sam Gibboney told the commission that the bill of sale was completed Dec. 8, making the 310-foot ferry the property of Bart Lematta, who paid $290,000 for it during an auction last month in Tacoma.

Gibboney said the port's marine terminal staff and maritime attorney have come up with a service agreement that will keep the vessel at the port through Jan. 4. The port is now waiting for Lematta to sign the agreement, she said.

Gibboney also told the commission that he intends to move the ferry by the end of the service agreement.

The previous ferry owner, who paid $300,000 to the state n 2017, had planned to move the vessel months ago. Instead, the owner sometimes struggled to pay his bills to dock the ferry at the port, then stopped paying them altogether in 2020. The port later sued, the U.S. Marshals Service took custody and the ferry was finally auctioned off to the highest bidder in November.

Lematta outbid Noah Israel of Kingston, Washington. He said then that he wanted to use the ferry to explore renewable energy sources.

The former state ferry was known as the Evergreen State. At the time of the 2017 sale, it was the state's oldest ferry at 63. Built in 1954, it was powered by surplus drive motors from a Navy destroyer escort and served on several routes, including Seattle to Bainbridge Island and San Juan Islands inter-island routes, according to the state.


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