Cannery Pier Hotel oil spill

The U.S. Department of Justice is charging the Cannery Pier Hotel and estate of late founder Robert Jacob nearly $1 million for the cleanup of an oil spill last year.

The Cannery Pier Hotel and the estate of late founder Robert “Jake” Jacob face a nearly $1 million bill for the cleanup of an oil spill last year.

A settlement agreement filed Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice requires the hotel and estate to pay $994,146 to the Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center within 30 days or face $1,000 a day in late fees.

The settlement was signed by federal prosecutors and Terry Rosenau, managing partner in the Cannery Pier and representative of Jacob’s estate. Representatives for the Cannery Pier were not immediately available for comment.

“Neither Mr. Jacob nor the hotel management was aware that there was an abandoned fish cannery oil tank concealed in the foundations beneath the old concrete dock,’’ Rosenau said in a statement to The Oregonian.

“Mr. Jacob cooperated fully with the U.S. Coast Guard in successful containment and cleanup of the spilled oil, and through this consent decree, is reimbursing the federal government for all of its response costs.”

Part of a crumbling dock next to the hotel collapsed early last year, puncturing a fuel storage tank underneath.

The Coast Guard oversaw a cleanup costing nearly $1 million, including the placement of containment booms around the spill, skimmers, vacuum trucks and the removal of the tank. The Department of State Lands has also filed a claim of at least $1 million against the hotel and estate for the cleanup of the dock.

The hotel’s management has denied any prior knowledge of the tank, installed in the 1920s for storing boiler-heating oil.

Jacob, who died last year, bought the property from the Port of Astoria in 1999 to develop the boutique hotel on the site of the former Union Fishermen’s Cooperative Packing Co. and a Bumble Bee tuna cannery. Don West, general manager of the Cannery Pier, has said knowledge of the tank was lost during the change in ownership.

The Cannery Pier is under contract to be sold to Vesta Hospitality of Vancouver, Washington. The sale depends on the hotel and estate resolving state and federal claims. Thane Tienson, an attorney for the hotel, has said it is also close to a settlement on the state claim.

Edward Stratton is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 971-704-1719 or estratton@dailyastorian.com.

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