The Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria is under contract for sale as the owners pursue a settlement with the state in a dispute over a crumbling dock.
The Department of State Lands filed a claim for at least $1 million from the estate of Robert "Jake" Jacob, the late developer of the boutique hotel. Pieces of a dock next to the building — part of a cannery from the 1920s — collapsed last year on a tank underneath, spilling boiler-heating oil into the Columbia River.
The Coast Guard oversaw a cleanup estimated to cost around $1 million.
An attorney for Jacob’s estate, Steven Gerttula, countered in court filings that the state’s claim over the dock is disallowed because no trespass on state land occurred, and because the state’s claim of at least $1 million is speculative. Gerttula declined to comment further.
Thane Tienson, a Portland attorney also representing the estate, said the state’s claim was a standard move to protect its interests. “We’re in active negotiations with the Department of State Lands to resolve this amicably,” he said.
The dock dates to the Union Fishermen’s Cooperative Packing Co. The Port of Astoria bought the property from Peter Pan Seafoods in 1984. Jacob bought the property from the Port in 1999 to develop the hotel.
A lot of deterioration has happened since the cannery went inactive in the 1970s, Tienson said, and the estate denies any liability for what happened prior to Jacob’s purchase.
Terry Rosenau, Jacob's friend and the largest shareholder in the hotel, said the potential buyer is interested in using the dock for an eventual expansion.
The buyer also intends to keep the staff and operations of the hotel the same, Tienson said.
The state’s claim over the dock is separate from the federal government’s efforts to recoup the costs of cleaning up the oil spill. The estate is also in negotiations with federal authorities to resolve cleanup costs, Tienson said.