The closure of Dayton's Main Street to traffic due to the fire at the Eagle's building appears to be causing confusion amongst visitors and residents. After speaking with several direct sources, here is the most accurate, up-to-date information I can share. Please note that this is not an official report - just the best information I can gather:
- Due to fire damage, the top portion of the concrete block building front is considered unsafe for pedestrians in the immediate area and for cars passing through. That is why the highway is closed downtown and why a portion of the sidewalk is taped off.
- The Washington State Department of Transportation wants Highway 12 to be reopened as soon as possible and is providing support for that to happen.
- An insurance adjuster is there today assessing the building so they can hopefully find a quick solution.
- A representative of the Eagle's said the most likely scenario is that the top of the building front will be pushed inside the damaged building, removing the risk to Main Street and allowing the highway to reopen. The debris can then be removed safely and on a timeframe that works for everyone involved.
- While a full assessment is still underway, it looks like the two adjacent buildings (Woody's and Noble Hunt buildings) have only suffered smoke and potentially some water damage. Both were vacant.
In the meantime, our Main Street businesses are open! The only portion of the street that is closed to pedestrians is the area directly in front of the three buildings that were involved. The Northwest Grain Growers office, which is adjacent to Woody's, is open to pedestrian traffic, as are the Weinhard Cafe and other businesses on the east end of that block. The entire block on the south side between State Farm and Bank of Eastern Washington is accessible from the sidewalk. It may look like the tape blocks it off, but it doesn't - there is a way to walk the entire block. There is ample parking in the city lot behind Dingle's and on side streets. You would likely only have to walk a block or two to reach any business in the downtown core.
All Wheels Weekend is still happening! We have a plan B in case we have to move a portion of the show off of that downtown block, but at this point we are moving forward with the assumption that a resolution to this situation will be found before the event.
Kudos to the firefighters who did such a magnificent job containing the fire and keeping damage to adjacent buildings to a minimum. This community should be proud that we stepped up and voted for the EMS Levy that helps fund our local emergency responders, and that our department has mutual aid agreements with our neighbors for times like these. This was a perfect example of why they needed our support.
Thanks to Belinda at the Chamber for the photos showing downtown Dayton today!