Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lessons Not Learned
After months of national publicity surrounding last summer's deadly collapse at 22nd and Market and its subsequent investigation, city agencies have streamlined the processes of interdepartmental communication and pulled out all the bells and whistles, placing police and fire officials at the site of every high profile demolition project in the city.

Does that sound right? Yes, with multiple agencies in charge of our public's safety indicated in last year's deadly collapse, that is the response we'd expect to see.

But it's not happening.

When today's demolition at the Shirt Corner got loud and dusty, we didn't see a streamlined response. We saw finger pointing, slum-shaming, and the same pass-the-buck rhetoric we saw last summer.

Luckily after today's unplanned collapse at 257-259 Market Street, the fallout was more hype than substance. It seems the media is the only organization that learned anything from the collapse at 22nd and Market.

Alterra Property Group claims it has the proper permits and that precautions were in place in case of an accidental collapse, but that didn't stop city agencies from stepping out in front of the debris to excuse themselves of any responsibility.

Most notably a policeman on the scene told reporters that the Police and Fire Departments were not informed of the planned demolition, but isn't informing the Police and Fire Departments one of the steps L&I takes when granting a demolition permit? Either L&I skipped that step of the Police and Fire Departments didn't file and schedule the permit properly on their end.

It sounds like every department in the city needs some basic training in communication and project management, or simply put, this city needs to get its ass in gear.

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