A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods

 

Seattle Times: Greenwood firefighter suing PSE over injuries from March 2016 natural gas explosion

May 16th, 2017 by Doree

The Seattle Times reports that Firefighter Jeff Markoff, one of nine firefighters injured in the massive natural gas explosion that destroyed three businesses and damaged another 50 in downtown Greenwood on March 9, 2016, is suing Puget Sound Energy for lingering health issues related to the blast.

In September, the state Utilities and Transportation Commission’s Department of Pipeline Safety released a report saying PSE’s contractor failed to properly decommission that gas line in 2004, and proposed a fine of $3.2 million.

In March, PSE and UTC proposed a settlement of $1.5 million. UTC commissioners discussed the settlement at a meeting yesterday in Olympia, but likely won’t make a decision until this summer.

PSE is now in the process of inspecting 40,000 retired natural gas service lines to make sure they were properly decommissioned.

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Seattle Times: Puget Sound Energy to pay $1.5 million fine for Greenwood gas explosion

March 29th, 2017 by Doree

The Seattle Times reports that Puget Sound Energy has settled for a $1.5 million fine with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission after last year’s devastating Greenwood gas explosion. You can read the Times’ full story here.

The UTC’s department of Pipeline Safety released a report last September saying the explosion was caused by an improperly decommissioned gas line that had been damaged by transients who used a narrow space between Neptune Coffee and Mr. Gyros to store their belongings. The UTC originally proposed a fine of $3.2 million.

The explosion happened in the middle of the night, while firefighters were on scene investigating a report of a possible natural gas leak. Nine firefighters were injured, but none seriously. Three businesses were destroyed and 50 more damaged. Adjacent G&O Family Cyclery’s building was too damaged to reopen (they’ve since reopened a block away at 8558 Greenwood Ave. N.), as was Insurrection Apparel (which works with clients by appointment elsewhere) Better Hearing Center (which moved to Oaktree Village), and Kouzina Greek restaurant, which said in January that its Zoey Catering was closing because the building was too damaged and it couldn’t find a new location. The Angry Beaver across the street was heavily damaged and took months to reopen. Dozens of other businesses’ damage ranged from a single broken window to serious structural damage.

Business owners held a press conference in January taking PSE to task for fighting the UTC’s proposed fine and claimed the company was not doing enough to help affected business owners, many of whom were having trouble getting reimbursed by their insurance companies.

Puget Sound Energy is in the process of checking that every decommissioned gas line in the state has been properly capped.

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Reminder: Greenwood Community Council meeting tonight will discuss business recovery and safety issues one year after natural gas explosion

March 21st, 2017 by Doree

Reminder: The Greenwood Community Council’s March meeting tonight will focus on reviewing the aftermath of the Greenwood natural gas explosion last year, recap the neighborhood’s recovery efforts, and discuss concerns over safety going forward.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. today (Tuesday) at Woodland Park United Methodist Church, 302 N. 78th St., in Fellowship Hall. (Note: The meeting is in a different location than usual, because the Greenwood Library is closed for renovations.)

A representative from the Phinney Neighborhood Association will talk about the results of the neighborhood’s fundraising efforts; Chaco Canyon owner Chris Maykut will discuss the ongoing recovery efforts of affected businesses; and a representative from Puget Sound Energy will discuss natural gas safety issues and whether our neighborhood is safer now.

The Council also will take nominations for its annual election of officers. The election will be at the April meeting.

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Greenwood Community Council meeting Tuesday will review safety in the wake of last year’s natural gas explosion

March 19th, 2017 by Doree

The Greenwood Community Council’s March meeting will focus on reviewing the aftermath of the Greenwood natural gas explosion last year, recap the neighborhood’s recovery efforts, and discuss concerns over safety going forward.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, at Woodland Park United Methodist Church, 302 N. 78th St., in Fellowship Hall. (Note: The meeting is in a different location than usual, because the Greenwood Library is closed for renovations.)

A representative from the Phinney Neighborhood Association will talk about the results of the neighborhood’s fundraising efforts; Chaco Canyon owner Chris Maykut will discuss the ongoing recovery efforts of affected businesses; and a representative from Puget Sound Energy will discuss natural gas safety issues and whether our neighborhood is safer now.

The Council also will take nominations for its annual election of officers. The election will be at the April meeting.

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State Rep. Frame sponsors bill to help businesses affected by future gas pipeline accidents

March 10th, 2017 by Doree

State Rep. Noel Frame, who lives in Greenwood, is sponsoring a bill that would help businesses and non-profits affected by future gas pipeline explosions.

According to the press release, House Bill 2135 would establish a mitigation fund to assist entities that suffer damages in future accidents. The House Technology and Economic Development Committee heard public testimony on the bill yesterday (the one-year anniversary of the March 9, 2016, explosion in downtown Greenwood). Scott Nolte, Producing Artistic Director of Taproot Theatre, and Kelly Kasper of HT2 Consulting Services and a Greenwood resident, testified.

You can see video of that hearing here.

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Puget Sound Energy talking natural gas safety with businesses, residents today, on 1-year anniversary of explosion

March 9th, 2017 by Doree

Two dozen Puget Sound Energy employees are talking about natural gas safety with Greenwood businesses and residents today on the one-year anniversary of the natural gas explosion that destroyed three businesses and damaged 50 more.

PSE has an information table set up inside the Greenwood Fred Meyer on NW 85th Street, and a tent in the parking lot at the corner of NW 85th Street and 1st Avenue NW, where employees are staging as they go out into the neighborhood.

PSE Vice President of Corporate Affairs Andy Wappler (in photo above, second from right) told me at 1 p.m. today that PSE employees had gone to every business within about a two-block radius of the intersection of NW 85th Street and Greenwood Avenue North.

Starting at about 2 p.m., employees planned to fan out in teams of two to knock on residents’ doors within about a four-block radius, a total of about 400 homes. Employees will be wearing bright yellow/green jackets with the PSE logo.

PSE’s website has information on what to do if you think you detect a gas leak in your home or business.

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Mr. Gyros food truck serving up favorites from former Greenwood site most evenings

June 29th, 2016 by Doree

Mr. Gyros, which lost its Greenwood restaurant in the March 9 natural gas explosion that leveled three businesses and damaged at least 50 more, is now parking its food truck in that now-empty lot at North 84th and Greenwood Avenue.

According to Mr. Gyros’ Twitter page, the truck will be open from 3:30-7:30 p.m. most days.

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Greenwood Relief Fund Updated

April 12th, 2016 by Robin Donovan

Greenwood explosion relief efforts are still underway with an updated list of businesses who have contributed to the Relief Fund. To see the complete list (which continues to grow), or to donate, please visit the Phinney Center website. The original posting with more information can be found here.

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G&O Family Cyclery moving temporarily one block north after natural gas explosion damaged their shop

April 1st, 2016 by Doree

G&O Family Cyclery is moving into temporary space one block north of their shop that was severely damaged in the March 9 natural gas explosion. The temporary space is at 8554-1/2 Greenwood Ave. N., where Conscious Care marijuana dispensary used to be.

Co-owner Davey Oil sent an email to friends and customers this morning, explaining that he and co-owner Tyler Gillies will work out of the temporary space through the spring and much of the summer. They hope to open up in the next week or two after they finish fixing up the inside. They will be able to do full-service repairs in the new space, but are not yet scheduling repair appointments until they know their opening date.

It looks like crews are almost done cleaning up the explosion site. This morning there was just one pile of debris in the back corner and some of the fencing was being removed. (G&O Family Cyclery is the brick building to the right.)

Explosion-site-4-1-16-resized

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