Church fixes wall above shopping center

       A 12-foot-high, 70-foot-long concrete retaining wall had to be replaced at the west end of the Calvary Worship Center parking lot last week. The project required the services of a large concrete pumping truck, which could be readily seen from nearby 30th and King streets.

During the recent project to address the deterioration of a major retaining wall at the west end of the Calvary Worship Center parking lot above the 30th Street shopping center near King Street, a concrete pumper (right) uses a long extension to send concrete into a new retaining wall (left).
Westside Pioneer photos

       The wall reinforces the lot above the shopping center along 30th Street south of King.
       According to John VanDerWege, assistant pastor of administration and finance. The problem stemmed from the way the wall had been originally constructed in the 1950s. Calvary, which bought the 5.4-acre site (a former Safeway store) 10 years ago, discovered recently that the builders "pushed rubble down there and built the wall on it, so it wasn't very stable," VanDerWege said.
       The first indications of a problem were when the church found that the southwest part of the parking lot had sunk about six inches; it was also discovered that the wall itself was "pushing out," he said.
       After clearing material from behind the worst part of the old wall and removing it, the first part of the remedial work was to install piers going through the old rubble and down to bedrock. Another 40 feet of the wall that wasn't quite as bad (at its north end) was fixed by installing steel strapping to provide reinforcement.
       "It's been a precarious thing," VanDerWege said. "We feel we've got it stable now."
       He estimated that, in all, more than 2,000 square feet of the parking lot has been unusable in recent weeks because of the structural problem.
       To allow the freshly poured concrete to "cure," the church has to wait two weeks (from Nov. 13) before the space behind the 70-foot new wall can be backfilled and the parking lot restored.
       Calvary just last year had completed the construction of a new, 27,000-square-foot building on the site, which required a considerable amount of fundraising and borrowing.
       The wall repair "is a big project. We weren't really looking to do it," VanDerWege conceded, but noted gratefully that attendance has increased 20 percent in the past year at the church, which helps the financial situation.

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