Walla Walla working on solutions to fix deteriorating downtown s - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Walla Walla working on solutions to fix deteriorating downtown structures around channel

Posted: Updated:

WALLA WALLA, WA. -- The City of Walla Walla is facing a tough challenge, fixing some damaged property downtown that could end up costing millions. You can't see the damage because it's lurking beneath the ground.

The City of Walla Walla has a problem that's decades in the making. When you walk around some parts of downtown Walla Walla, you're not just walking on pavement and dirt. It's what's beneath this ground that's causing a major issue and right now the city doesn't know when they're going to be able to fix it.

Downtown Walla Walla has a problem lurking below the surface. In 1941, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a canal to stop devastating flooding from continuously destroying downtown. About 5 city blocks of that canal is completely underground.

"It's actually a bunch of independent structures even though from the surface it may look seamless," Monte Puymon, City of Walla Walla Transportation Engineer said. "They're a bunch of independent structures that span that creek."

Those structures holding up the ground around around the channel are getting older. 

"Infrastructure degrades over time," Puymon said. "It's not like it was terrible today and it was fine last week. It was just a gradual disintegration."

Last week, the city blocked off two public areas of downtown, restricting cars and trucks from putting more pressure on the deteriorating areas.

There are two options right now for a permanent fix, replacing the structures entirely, which could be very expensive, or an idea from some WSU students, removing all the concrete and creating another opening for the canal. 

"Bringing that tourist aspect, lots of landscaping and pedestrian access," Puymon said. "Of course the counter balance to that is that we'd be losing a lot of the parking."

That loss of parking is a big issue for Valley Vision. Business Manager Brent Dunn says they desperately need those spots for their business.

"We do get a lot of complaints about lack of parking downtown and to lose 5 more stalls plus an additional 20 we lost 10 years ago," Dunn said. "Or probably more than that. It really affects our business."

The city says they understand Dunn's complaints about parking, but their number one concern is safety. 

"We're always going to chose safety first," Puymon said. "And so this is for the safety of our citizens and our visitors and we want to keep them safe. We want them to have a good experience. And I can't imagine a worse one than falling through a structure into Mill Creek Channel. So the primary role that we're taking is a safety one."

There are actually three spots identified as deteriorating in the inspection. The third is on private property right nearby Rose Street and 3rd Avenue. The good news is the city doesn't expect any imminent failures or collapses in the structures.

If you have any ideas you want to share, you can interact with the city by clicking here.

http://www.wallawallawa.gov/city/opencityhall?pd_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.peakdemocracy.com%2Fportals%2F161%2FForum_457%2FIssue_3322#peak_democracy

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Tri-CitiesTri-Cities NewsMore>>

  • Two people hit by trains in Toppenish over the weekend

    Two people hit by trains in Toppenish over the weekend

    Monday, June 18 2018 1:04 AM EDT2018-06-18 05:04:43 GMT
    Hermiston Police say this investigation is, "still very much active and contrary to all the information on social media (some of which is not accurate) we will not be releasing additional information until we are able to locate the appropriate family membHermiston Police say this investigation is, "still very much active and contrary to all the information on social media (some of which is not accurate) we will not be releasing additional information until we are able to locate the appropriate family memb
    Hermiston Police say this investigation is, "still very much active and contrary to all the information on social media (some of which is not accurate) we will not be releasing additional information until we are able to locate the appropriate family membHermiston Police say this investigation is, "still very much active and contrary to all the information on social media (some of which is not accurate) we will not be releasing additional information until we are able to locate the appropriate family memb
    TOPPENISH- Two people have been hit by trains over the weekend.  At 10:48 Sunday morning, Topenish Police received a call of a train vs. pedestrian in between Buena Way and South Toppenish Ave. Traffic has been blocked off and diverted on Buena Way at South Elm St. as well as Buena Way at Asotin Ave. TPD said the woman is in her 40s and was transported to a hospital nearby in critical condition. Since she was enrolled, Tribal PD will be handling the investigation. Saturday:...More >>
    TOPPENISH- Two people have been hit by trains over the weekend.  At 10:48 Sunday morning, Topenish Police received a call of a train vs. pedestrian in between Buena Way and South Toppenish Ave. Traffic has been blocked off and diverted on Buena Way at South Elm St. as well as Buena Way at Asotin Ave. TPD said the woman is in her 40s and was transported to a hospital nearby in critical condition. Since she was enrolled, Tribal PD will be handling the investigation. Saturday:...More >>
  • Pasco couple combines their passions through a School of Ballet and Capoeira

    Pasco couple combines their passions through a School of Ballet and Capoeira

    Sunday, June 17 2018 4:52 PM EDT2018-06-17 20:52:03 GMT
    A Pasco couple is helping people find their center- through fitness. Kate and Deshawn Robins started a school of Capoeira and Ballet in January called "Find Your Center." If you aren't familiar with Capoeira, it's otherwise known as a form of martial arts. Kate and Deshawn decided to combine both in one studio. Their motivation in doing so- "Both of these art forms are complicated and they both have a lot of history. We both had experiences tha...More >>
    A Pasco couple is helping people find their center- through fitness. Kate and Deshawn Robins started a school of Capoeira and Ballet in January called "Find Your Center." If you aren't familiar with Capoeira, it's otherwise known as a form of martial arts. Kate and Deshawn decided to combine both in one studio. Their motivation in doing so- "Both of these art forms are complicated and they both have a lot of history. We both had experiences tha...More >>
  • Teen hit and killed by train in Toppenish

    Teen hit and killed by train in Toppenish

    Saturday, June 16 2018 7:25 PM EDT2018-06-16 23:25:24 GMT
    At this point, officers do not know there conditions. Police do have a 34-year-old man in custody. We are expecting an update Monday afternoon on this case.At this point, officers do not know there conditions. Police do have a 34-year-old man in custody.At this point, officers do not know there conditions. Police do have a 34-year-old man in custody. We are expecting an update Monday afternoon on this case.At this point, officers do not know there conditions. Police do have a 34-year-old man in custody.
    At this point, officers do not know there conditions. Police do have a 34-year-old man in custody. We are expecting an update Monday afternoon on this case.At this point, officers do not know there conditions. Police do have a 34-year-old man in custody.At this point, officers do not know there conditions. Police do have a 34-year-old man in custody. We are expecting an update Monday afternoon on this case.At this point, officers do not know there conditions. Police do have a 34-year-old man in custody.
    TOPPENISH, Wash.- A railroad official says one of its trains struck and killed a 17-year-old boy.    BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas says the collision occurred at about 8 a.m. Saturday in Toppenish in south-central Washington.    Melonas says the eastbound train with empty grain cars was traveling 47 mph when the crew saw the boy between the rails on the tracks.    He says the crew applied the emergency braking system but failed to stop in time. The b...More >>
    TOPPENISH, Wash.- A railroad official says one of its trains struck and killed a 17-year-old boy.    BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas says the collision occurred at about 8 a.m. Saturday in Toppenish in south-central Washington.    Melonas says the eastbound train with empty grain cars was traveling 47 mph when the crew saw the boy between the rails on the tracks.    He says the crew applied the emergency braking system but failed to stop in time. The b...More >>