Classic old state ferry not sold after all

Classic old state ferry not sold after all
The Washington state ferry Rhododendron is seen in a file photo.
SEATTLE (AP) - Washington State Ferries now says a classic old state ferry didn't sell at auction after all.

The 48-car ferry Rhododendron had been reported sold for $300,000 in an online auction that closed Nov. 20.

Ferry system spokeswoman Marta Coursey tells the Kitsap Sun that the buyer has withdrawn the bid. The buyer used the online handle of "kingstontown."

The spokeswoman said Friday that the would-be buyer had been in talks with another party seeking to purchase the boat, but the other party opted out - and so did the bidder. Coursey says he'll forfeit a $50 deposit.

She says the ferry system will contact some other potential buyers who had expressed interest. If that doesn't work, the vessel might be donated to a nonprofit company for training.

The ferry system originally estimated the Rhododendron's market value at $750,000.

The Rhododendron was retired from service in January after 60 years on the job in Puget Sound - banned by the Coast Guard for any trip more than a mile or so from dock.

She was one of the originals of the modern ferry system when the state bought her in 1952. The interior is classic - in generally good condition after some restorations. It carries just 48 cars.

Some lawmakers clamored to bring her back. But state Rep. Judy Clibborn, chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee, agrees with the decision to auction off the Rhody.

She says the Rhody was at the end of her life and would have been too expensive to restore to service.