Friday, August 13, 1999
to go to
|PIGEONS ERADICATED FROM WIRTA
Pigeons check in, but they don't check out.
By Ryan Teague Beckwith - Daily World Writer
U.S. Department of Agriculture killed 193 pigeons at the long abandoned building.
The one-time pigeon eradication was actually sponsored by the State Department of Transportation, which is concerned that pigeon droppings may be ruining the nearby Wishkah River Bridge.
"Those pigeons will spend a lot of time either loafing or roosting on the bridges," said John Houben, district supervisor for the Department of Agriculture.
"Their droppings are extremely acidic and will etch the paint, causing it to chip and fall off and causing the bridge to rust."
To reduce maintenance costs, the Department of Transportation asked Houben's agency to look in the area. Agriculture agents quickly determined that it was the Wirta.
The 73-year-old building, empty since a ground-floor restaurant closed in 1986, is currently on the city's hit list of derelict structures.
After shooting the pigeons with pellet guns, Agriculture agents began collecting and bagging their bodies for disposal while wearing surgical gloves and respirators. That part of the operation is actually a bit dangerous, Houben said, because pigeons are carriers for a number of infectious diseases, including psittacosis, which has similar symptoms to pneumonia.
About 10 pigeons fell in inaccessible areas within the building, but the rest were removed between midnight and 4:30 am, Houben said. He said tearing down the long empty building would not be a bad idea.
"If the building is not removed, it will be recolonized over time by the pigeons and will continue to cause these health problems." He said.
Publisher, Ted Dixon
John Hughes: Editor
Dee Anne Shaw: Assistant City Editor
Ryan Beckwith: Reporter