Rebounding from Greenwood explosion 6 months later
In Greenwood, several businesses are still trying to rebound six months after a gas explosion leveled a building there.
They are hoping a report by the state Utilities and Transportation Commission blaming Puget Sound Energy for not sealing off an abandoned gas line may help them recover.
Just dealing with insurance companies has felt like a full time job for some.
“Financially, this has been a meteor striking our business,” said Davey Oil, the owner of G&O Family Cyclery, a bike shop that was located next to the building that blew up back in March, injuring nine firefighters, and destroying several businesses. “Godzilla stepped on our business.”
Oil found a temporary location down the street, but he is still looking for a permanent place, and only survived the last six months with the help of the community, including a relief fund created by the Phinney Neighborhood Association.
“The business hit an iceberg and people threw us a Life Raft,” said Oil. “That allowed us to survive and will allow us to survive and prosper into the future.”
But recovery from the blast has been slow for lots of businesses in Greenwood.
The owner of the Angry Beaver, Seattle’s only hockey bar, planned to re-open two weeks after the blast but structural damage to his building kept it closed for months.
The neighboring “Bureau of Fearless Ideas,” a local writing and tutoring center, faced similar problems.
“The ceiling had all come down, and the front façade had been shattered,” said Louise McKay, Director of Strategic Growth at the center. “It was a lot more dramatic then we hoped.”
Workers boxed up everything and moved out, and just recently began moving back in. The center was forced to cancel summer workshops, and a fundraiser, and are still not sure who is going to pay for it all.
“We’ve had a lot of donors step forward to help us but it remains to be determined what’s going to happen, in terms of whose responsible for all the costs,” said McKay.
Despite the struggles, McKay says the explosion ultimately pulled the community closer together.
The Bureau of Fearless Ideas is now trying to raise money to help others still struggling six months after the explosion by publishing a book about Greenwood. It’s called Encyclopedia Greenwoodia, and is sold in stores all over the neighborhood and here. All proceeds go to the relief fund.