Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway will have to prepare detailed information on the Blaine train depot and the land it sits on if the railroad wants to move forward with plans to demolish it.
Though BNSF officials have submitted a completed demolition permit to the city of Blaine for the depot, Blaine community development director Michael Jones has determined the proposed demolition must go through a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process.
This will require the railroad to submit to the city a SEPA checklist, which will be a multipage document describing numerous aspects of the depot, including a summary of the depot’s physical condition and its historical significance.
Demolition permits are usually exempt from this process, but Jones said exceptions can be made for buildings that are deemed historically significant.
While the depot is not on either the federal or state register of historic places, the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation advised Jones the building does have historical importance. With this in mind, Jones decided to start the SEPA process for the depot.
On the heels of Jones’ decision, Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic sent a letter to BNSF officials informing them of the depot’s importance to the community. After speaking with BNSF communications director Gus Melonas, Tomsic said the railroad seems amenable to delaying the depot’s demolition for at least one year.