Transportation Commission Office – PO Box 47308 – Olympia, WA 98504-7308 – 360-705-7070
Contact: Reema Griffith, WSTC executive director, 360-705-7070 (Olympia)
OLYMPIA – On Tuesday, Dec. 14, after months of citizen suggestions and public input, the Washington State Transportation Commission voted 7-0 to select “Wishkah” as the name for the state’s next new 144-car hybrid-electric ferry, which will be under construction in 2022.
The name honors the river flowing south from the Olympic foothills into Grays Harbor, forming a saltwater estuary for shellfish, and serving as a vital link from forest to sea for the Lower Chehalis people and the communities it flows through. Before roads were built, the region was served by the steamer, “Wishkah Chief,” which carried passengers and cargo upriver to outfit the farms and logging camps.
Additionally, Wishkah Street is a segment of US 101 in Aberdeen. The name also has a link to the legendary grunge-rock band Nirvana which made an album titled, “From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah.”
“It is a multi-faceted name that represents a geographic area in the state that does not have a ferry named for it.” said Commissioner Debbie Young, of San Juan County.
Other finalist names were:
- Stillaguamish, for the tribe that historically canoed the Stillaguamish River and Puget Sound near Camano Island, establishing a nautical culture.
- Muckleshoot, for the Native people who inhabited the Duwamish and upper Puyallup river watersheds. Elliott Bay is one of the tribe’s usual and accustomed fishing areas.
- Enie Marie, great-granddaughter of Chief Sealth, and also known as Mary Ann Talisa Seattle, who moved in both the Native and Euro-American social worlds.
- Snoqualmie, for the tribe and valley in east King County, watered by Cascade mountain snowmelt, where historically people lived in longhouses along the Snoqualmie River and tributaries.
- Stehekin, a Salish word meaning “the way through,” and a community on the north shore of Lake Chelan, accessible only by ferry or boat.
Wishkah was the most popular name in a Ferry Riders Opinion Group survey that resulted in more than 5,800 responses online, while Enie Marie ranked first among 1,784 emailed submissions to the commission. All 21 current ferries have names derived from Native American words or places.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information: Individuals requiring reasonable accommodations may request written materials in alternate formats, sign language interpreters, physical accessibility accommodations, or other reasonable accommodations by the Commission Office at 360-705-7070 or Transc@wstc.wa.gov. Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing may contact the event sponsor through the Washington Relay Service at 7-1-1.
Title VI Notice to Public
It is the Washington State Transportation Commission’s (WSTC) policy to assure that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, as provided by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise discriminated against under any of its programs and activities. Any person who believes his/her Title VI protection has been violated, may file a complaint with WSDOT’s Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). For additional information regarding Title VI complaint procedures and/or information regarding our non-discrimination obligations, please contact OEO’s Title VI Coordinator 360-705-7090.