Window damaged at historic Polson Building during viaduct demolition

SEATTLE - It’s been almost three weeks since crews began demolishing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and some businesses near the demolition are noticing an impact. We revisited one business to see how the demolition impacts their daily routine.

We first visited LaDonna Schuh just before the viaduct demolition began, and her excitement then is about the same as the excitement now.

“You can tell we’re slowly getting more daylight into this building and it’s fantastic,” said Schuh.

Schuh works for a company called Suji’s Korean Cuisine inside Seattle’s historic Polson Building. The building dates back to 1905, so sensitivity to the building during the demolition is important.

“They can’t get everything, and so little pings flying, stuff like that. I think overall, they did a really good job,” said Schuh.

But for LaDonna, who has a sensitivity to dust, unfortunately some of it has creeped into the building. She's now forced to wear a mask.

“So yes the dust has affected me, it has come into the building. Our building here, ramped up the air filters,” she said. “But I’ve had to wear a bit of a face mask. And I’ve had to experiment with allergy medications just to get by.”

And on the outside, for Polson Building superintendent Stephen Elder, his job is to keep an eye on the building every day.

“I make sure all the windows are intact, nothing's getting trashed too badly,” said Elder.

According to Elder, there has been some minor damage to the building since the demolition.

“Well so far, we’ve had a window broken, rock chip. We’ve had several impacts on the building where the rocks have hit and not yet gone through,” said Elder.

Despite WSDOT and contractor crews constantly watering down dust and mitigating debris as best they can, Elder's concern is that somebody could get hurt.

“If you’re here with your son or daughter, this may have been on them instead of the window,” he said.

According to WSDOT, this marks the first complaint construction contractor Kiewit has received since the demolition began. According to Elder, he met with WSDOT and the contractor last week when the window broke.

In a statement WSDOT said:

“The contractor and WSDOT are working with properties located near the viaduct to be as responsive as possible to their concerns. In the case of the Polson building, the contractor met with building representatives last Thursday to document a cracked window for repair at no cost to the building. The building representative was also assured that during the time the roadway deck is under demolition, netting will be set up to reduce the risk of debris reaching the building.”

Despite that, for LaDonna, she said crews have done a great job.

“They’ve actually been very careful in what they’re doing and how they do it,” said Schuh. “It’s a historical building. It’s over a hundred years old. So it’s just real important that we take good care of it.