Building tenants oppose Seattle tunnel

Jan 25, 2011, 2:30 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

If walls could talk, the building at 619 Western Avenue in Seattle would also be singing “don’t bring me down.”

Of the 169 buildings that could potentially be impacted by the tunnel project that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Ron Paananen with the state DOT tells me 619 Western is the only one they’re concerned about because of its age and deteriorated condition.

007Engineers decided the building isn’t stable enough to withstand the tunneling underneath. They explain their concerns about the building in detail on the state Department of Transportation website.

What they describe as “severe structural distress” – large, floor to ceiling cracks on the interior walls, significant settlement, floors that slope up to five percent, and timber floors separating from the concrete walls – tenants called “artistic inspiration.”

Artist Marie Gagnon describes her art space at 619 Western this way:

The studio has been a holding tank for creativity and for intimacy. Powerful moments and conversations have taken place not only at art walk but in private studio visits. It’s been a safe space that offered healing. I’ve witnessed joy. I’ve witnessed tears. I’ve watched bodies melt as aspects of shame fell away while viewing work.

In some of my most grief-stricken moments, the space would call to me. I’d lay out large white pages on the floor, get on my hands and knees and as tears fell, filled the sheets with big black charcoal marks.

Artists paying tribute to the building, or trying to rally support to save it, started a Facebook page Six Nineteen Western after they heard rumors about plans to have the building red tagged.

A person behind the Facebook effort admits it’s “very sad looking from the outside,” but says working in the building is “wonderful.”

“As an artist it’s energizing to hear and feel the energy of your fellow artists working – hammering sounds, music, laughter. It’s a real community that feels very much like a family. It’s not just the building at risk,” the tenant writes. “The culture the artists have created over the last 30 years is also at stake.”

005Last week Publicola was the first to report that the federal government is concerned the tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct might damage the historic Federal Office Building at 909 First Avenue. That’s a block or so north of the 619 Western building.

The Feds haven’t given permission to tunnel under their location. While the General Services Administration believes tunneling could affect the integrity of the 1932 building at First and Marion, the state DOT is confident it can overcome any objections with the deep-bore project.

The Art Deco building itself is interesting. Some say it’s located at the site where A.A. Denny, William Bell, and C.D. Boren docked their boat after making initial surveys of Puget Sound and its harbors in 1851. also says the Great Seattle fire, which destroyed more than 64 acres, started in a cabinet shop at that site.

The News Chick Blog

The wife of Seattle attorney Danford Grant moved his car away from one of the alleged crime scenes ...
No Author

Equal justice for Seattle lawyer accused of several rapes?

Has accused serial rapist Danford Grant gotten preferential treatment because both he and his wife are Seattle attorneys?
10 years ago
The Seattle-based I Can Has Cheezburger network now includes 60 humor sites. Many of their 90 emplo...
No Author

Seattle humor network, built with funny cat pictures, becomes a reality TV show

A small Internet empire with a funny name has billions of page views on its network of 60 humor websites based in Seattle. Now, I Can Has Cheezburger has a reality TV show too.
10 years ago
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent a combined $30.33 every second this election cycle. Wa...
No Author

Democracy and dollar signs – 2012 campaign spending

Washington initiative campaigns spent $34 million trying to win your vote, while President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent a combined $30.33 every second this election cycle.
10 years ago
Chef Tom Douglas says Seattle’s restaurants are ‘a little homemade’ compared with...
No Author

Chef Tom Douglas says ‘Seattle is a funny restaurant town’

Chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas, with 13 Seattle restaurants and more on the way, says Seattle is a "funny restaurant town."
10 years ago
Investigation continues into why a commander of the Bremerton-based Stennis carrier group was remov...
No Author

New ‘crazy’ conspiracy theory on Stennis Rear Admiral

The Pentagon shoots down theories about why the commander of the USS Stennis Carrier Group was removed from duty and sent back to the homeport in Bremerton.
10 years ago
Seattle photographer Paul Souders captures an adult polar bear up close in Hudson Bay in Churchill,...
No Author

Seattle photographer comes face to face with a polar bear

A wildlife photographer, who lives in Ballard, has taken thousands of stunning shots. None put him on "a razor's edge" more than a series of photos swimming with a polar bear.
10 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Building tenants oppose Seattle tunnel