Ivar's: Mystery object in tunnel may be giant fossil clam

SEATTLE - Never missing a chance to turn an oddball Seattle-centric story into a promotional opportunity, Ivar's Seafood Restaurants has issued a tongue-in-cheek news release claiming that the unknown mystery object blocking Bertha the tunnel-driller is a giant proto-clam.

"When Ivar Haglund's prized proto-clam went missing in 1937, most believed the giant shellfish escaped into the bay. But did it burrow instead?" the press release breathlessly asks, then goes on to add:
"The sudden SR99 tunnel obstruction has been causing speculation among historians, engineers and Seattleites this past week, and Ivar's representatives announced today they may have the answer: a 70-foot clamosaurus.

"Ivar's records and historical anecdotes reveal restaurant 'flounder' Ivar Haglund bred an oversized 'proto-clam.' Ivar's mysterious pet was a prized possession spotted around town until it abruptly disappeared in 1937 when Haglund moved his Seattle aquarium from Harbor Avenue in West Seattle to Pier 3 (now Pier 54). Legend has it the 70-foot shellfish creature fell off a truck bed near South Jackson Street, approximately where Bertha is currently stuck. Coincidence?"
Bob Donegan, president of Ivar's takes the story even further:

"Ivar was a great storyteller and spoke fondly about his clamosaurus. His notes say he thought it reverted to its natural instincts and burrowed for the water - or else sought safe, deep ground," says Donegan. "The evidence shows the clamosaurus could be blocking Bertha. If WSDOT or Seattle Tunnel Partners find it, we are eager to regain the clam and put it on display at Acres of Clams, which Ivar named for the clamosaurus."

Transportation crews and officials are working to identify the obstruction that has brought Bertha, the giant tunnel-drilling machine, to an abrupt halt. In the meantime, there has been plenty of speculation - some serious but some not - about what it could be.

Ivar's news release then offers this quote from Seattle historian Feliks Banel:
"The fact is Bertha can cut through dirt and debris, so whatever she's dealing with has to be significantly fossilized. I've heard the clamosaurus lore and when you look at the historical facts, maps and Ivar's notes and anecdotes, it starts to line up as a real possibility."
(Did you really say that, Feliks?)

The news release ends with an invitation to join the "What's Blocking Bertha" contest on and receive a free cup of clam chowder. The most creative submission will win free chowder for a year.