Metro bus stuck in Seattle building removed, a week later

Feb 1, 2024, 4:09 PM | Updated: 4:17 pm

A King County Metro bus lodged halfway inside an indoor skate park in Seattle’s Central District neighborhood has finally been removed Thursday, more than a week after it crashed into the building.

“It looked like something from a movie set,” Matt Mohr, who co-owns the building, told KIRO Newsradio.

The bus crashed into a warehouse on the 1600 block of South Jackson Street around 6 p.m. on Jan. 24. According to a Metro spokesperson, another car cut off the bus and forced the operator to swerve, slamming into the building. The space is currently being leased by Skate Like a Girl, a community organization.

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“I don’t know the exact number. But there were 20-plus kids in there skating when the crash happened,” Mohr said.

No one was hurt in the crash, including the young skaters, the bus operator and 25 riders.

Bus becomes a spectacle

The bus became something of a spectacle on the street during the week it stayed lodged in Central District architecture. A stream of drivers and pedestrians stopped to take selfies or videos as it became a target for graffiti artists, with several tags appearing on the bus’s side as the days stretched on.

“It’s been a bit of a long process between engineers, and King County and lawyers and insurance companies,” Mohr said in response to why the bus was not removed faster.

Mohr stated there’s been a lot of back and forth about who will be taking responsibility for the crash and the cost of the damage. The discussions with Metro did not go well at first, according to Mohr, as a spokesperson told him because another driver caused the bus to swerve, Metro was not at fault.

“Basically, they said it was my problem,” Mohr said. “And my line was, ‘Well, it’s your bus in my warehouse.”

“Metro has been in frequent contact with the building’s owner and Skate Like a Girl,” Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer said in response. “Metro has been communicating with the building’s owner to coordinate the safe removal of our bus from the scene of the collision.”

Negotiations lead to positive results

After several days of negotiations, Mohr confirmed the situation improved dramatically.

“I think we’re basically coming to an agreement, which is good,” he added.

Mohr couldn’t say who will be footing the bill, but estimated the total cost would be upwards of $200,000.

Metro declined to comment on whether it will be shouldering any of those costs. It did, however, pay for the removal of the bus and for temporary repairs. Mohr said the extraction process could last up to 10 hours. It officially kicked off early Thursday afternoon with plans in place to ensure the building will not collapse as the bus is pulled out — including an assessment from county engineers.

But Mohr said he won’t know the full extent of the damage until the building is bus free.

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“The passenger side front wheel is over the foundation,” Mohr said. “So, as we pull the bus, we have some concern that it might drag it further along the building and basically do more damage to the building. It’s not as simple as hooking it up and dragging it out of there.”

Mohr also said he doesn’t have many leads on the other vehicle driver, who did not stop after the crash.

“I’ve got an incident report from King County. That’s all I have,” Mohr said. “And I’ve seen bits of plastic on this side of the road.”

According to Metro, even before the crash the building’s tenants — including Skate Like a Girl — were set to vacate in three months as the property is slated to be redeveloped. It’s not clear if the structure will be usable as an indoor skate park through the end of the lease in May. Metro and King County staff members said they are talking with Skate Like a Girl and exploring whether they can help meet their near-term and long-term need for a new place to call home.

You can read more of Kate Stone’s stories here. Follow Kate on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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