By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Bill Crawford admits he’s “bored to death.”
The store he and wife Kathy Crawford have run for almost three decades, Roxbury Auto Parts, is closed, and the Crawfords don’t know yet when they’ll be able to reopen.
The closure wasn’t voluntary; several readers tipped us to the situation. It’s been more than a week since the King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review “red-tagged” the building at 2839 SW Roxbury (which is just outside the city limits):
The notation in the county’s online files says:
Hazard: Dangerous building (entire back wall of the building has failed and is in danger of collapse; the CMU block appears to be unreinforce, non-grouted, and is actively failing and breaking apart – the flat roof joists bear on this wall.)
Crawford tells WSB that they were aware of damage to a “corner” of the building but “nobody goes back there” and so they weren’t aware of other damage. According to Chris Ricketts, building official and fire marshal with DPER, “We were alerted of the damaged building by Ray Pettigrew of King County Fire District #2 on Friday 9/28. Our Department dispatched Joan Hermle, King County building inspector, to the site to investigate.” What she found led her to “red-tag” the building as unsafe to occupy, and that’s what has Roxbury Auto Parts shut down for now.
So what happens next? Ricketts replied in our e-mail exchange:
We notified the building owners/manager that they needed to obtain the services of a Wa. State Licensed engineer for an assessment of the structure, to determine appropriate repairs and advise on future use of building. We have since been contacted by an engineer who has visited the site and asked for additional direction to complete their report and repair design. The County is prepared to promptly respond to any repair proposals. While we want to minimize impacts to the business and community, it is also our goal to ensure that life safety issues are addressed for the owners, customers, and first responders.
And in fact, when we spoke with Crawford by phone earlier in the day, he said structural engineers called in by their insurance company are evaluating the building.
The twist: Not only did King County shut down the store, King County is responsible for the damage, he says, done during last year’s sidewalk project, when work crews were “storing stuff on the back lot.” Asked about that, DPER’s Ricketts replied, “As to the cause of damage, that is not an evaluation we would conduct as part of an immediate building safety assessment. The private engineer may be able to provide some insight in their report.”
Meantime, Crawford is concerned about his customers, saying that if anyone has warranty issues or needs other help while Roxbury Auto Parts is closed, they’re an independent member of the nationwide Auto Value group, which has other stores in Washington that could help. They were also so concerned about Mocha Mojo, the drive-up coffee hut that shared their lot – and utilities – that Kathy Crawford suggested approaching the 76 station next door, where it relocated over the weekend.
The auto-parts store can’t just pick up and move like that, though. So its third-generation owners wait. They promise to update us – and you.