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  1. TopTop #1
    ChefJayTay's Avatar
    ChefJayTay
     

    The Barlow FAILED to protect its tenants during flood.

    https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9...lide=5&sba=AAS

    The city required them to have flood protection. The pictures show just how poorly it was implemented.
    I feel horrid for those business owners (several of which just recently opened) who now have to deal with flood insurance and ruined work because of poor management.

    This is the Barlow's management's fault.
    They should be held accountable.
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  3. TopTop #2
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect its tenants during flood.

    Many of us informed the Barlow owners and the City Council well in advance that the Laguna would flood. That whole development should never have been built. Let this be a warning to other developers not to build in inappropriate places.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-05-2019 at 01:05 PM.
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  4. TopTop #3
    SonomaPatientsCoop's Avatar
    SonomaPatientsCoop
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    I thouroughly agree that the Barlow failed miserably on this.. and will hopefully be held responsible by both the city and the tenants. (and the community).

    As to building in the flood plain, I have mixed feelings. The grange, the community center, the skatepark, the chevron and a couple automitive repair shops andcountless homes...etc are all within the flood plain. Much more within the floodplains of a 100 year flood. And of course- pretty much all of guerneville, rio-nido, much of monte rio, many of the businesses in jenner.

    Never mind that I really can't think of much space in CA that is not prome to flooding, mudslides, fires, rising seas, earthquakes, etc... and this is true of pretty much everywhere humanity lives...

    And unlike many other flood prone areas in our nation, the floods here are relatively rare. And this was a situation that could...and should... have been preventable. As per the Barlows deal with the city they built these buildings with the infrastructure for floodgates. They simply failed to act soon enough or provide the manpower and equipment to get it done in time.
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  5. TopTop #4
    ChefJayTay's Avatar
    ChefJayTay
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

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  7. TopTop #5
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.


    Tenants of Sebastopol’s Barlow district pin flooding problems on owner
    ALEXANDRIA BORDAS
    THE PRESS DEMOCRAT February 28, 2019, 11:45PM

    excerpt:
    ...
    A city-approved flood preparedness program crafted by Aldridge and his advisers that took six years to develop was supposed to prevent this type of extensive damage from happening if implemented correctly, Sebastopol City Manager Larry McLaughlin said.

    Two weeks leading up to the storm, there were concerns at the city that parts of Sebastopol could flood if heavy rains continued, McLaughlin said, but they had no real concerns about The Barlow, despite it being located in a flood zone.

    “The management side at The Barlow assured us they were ready to go and ready to institute a flood plan, and so we had no reason to doubt them otherwise,” McLaughlin said. “All the work we did to ensure that couldn’t happen and I am now saddened.”

    Aldridge declined to discuss what happened in the hours leading up to the flooding at The Barlow and instead focused on the steps being taken to support the tenants and reopen stores as soon as possible.

    “I wasn’t there when my team started following the flood plan, but all the flood logs were deployed,” Aldridge said Thursday, referring to the barriers meant to protect tenants’ stores when installed. “Getting these businesses to get reopened, that is our main priority.”

    A flood advisory was issued for Sonoma County early Tuesday. Protocol states that when a flood advisory is in effect for Sebastopol, The Barlow managers must issue an internal flood warning to tenants urging them to prepare for possible flooding, according to the flood preparedness plan. If waters from the Laguna de Santa Rosa continue to rise, The Barlow must install flood barriers up to 10 feet in front of businesses, addressing those shops under imminent threat first, according to the plan.

    When it was first approved by the city, the plan was tested from start to finish, taking 50 employees 12 hours to install all the barriers, said Glenn Schainblatt, the city’s flood plan manager.

    It’s unclear whether all the barriers were installed Wednesday.
    ...

    See full article here

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  9. TopTop #6
    David Gado Gado
     

    Re: Hard to expect the Barlow buildings to behave like boats

    I agree with Shepherd - unless the Barlow buildings were built above historic flood levels, it is challenging to rely upon this technology and a rapid response team to keep out that much water. We've been told that the interlocking metal panels had been tested, although it's hard to imagine how a combination of those and the steel and glass buildings could keep out several feet of ponded water for any significant period of time (unless the buildings were designed to behave like boats). How were the flood panels tested?

    As our climate continues to change, we may expect that even more frequent such floods will occur. State-mandated flow levels in the Russian River watershed may have to be changed to address more frequent flooding events, especially after droughts, when the Laguna de Santa Rosa and surrounding areas cannot rapidly absorb large volumes of rainwater. The Sonoma County Water agency is responsible for flood protection and stream maintenance in the Laguna, and different adaptation alternatives need to be considered including designing flood retention systems that capture floodwater and debris, reducing sedimentation, and capturing water for aquifer recharge.

    I remember the protracted fight to prevent CVS from being built (too much traffic! they said), but don't recall hearing any serious objections to the Barlow being built below well-established flood water levels.

    Quote Shepherd wrote: View Post
    Many of us informed the Barlow owners and the City Council well in advance that the Laguna would flood. That whole development should never have been built. Let this be a warning to other developers not to build in inappropriate places.
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  11. TopTop #7
    geomancer's Avatar
    geomancer
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    In the late 1990's, flood waters entered the the intersection of Highway 12 and Petaluma Ave. (almost got to Mimi's ice cream), considerably higher than the recent flood. Sure the powers that be must have known about this, right? God help the Barlow tenants when (not if) we get another one like that.
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  13. TopTop #8
    rossmen
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    Unfortunately, as a 20 year owner of the worst flooding property in gurneville (there are others in that area who would argue with me but they are wrong), not only do I have a big mess to clean up (not a problem, I have plenty of experience), I know what happened at the barlow. Even if they got the planned flood doors up in time, shit came up through the toilets.

    What we do as humans is hope that a predictable tragedy is preventable, so when it happens we can blame somebody.

    Last edited by Barry; 03-02-2019 at 11:16 AM.
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  15. TopTop #9
    ChefJayTay's Avatar
    ChefJayTay
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    While I'm sure many businesses in the Barlow have drains, they also have shared bathrooms.
    If this was a sewage pressure difference issue, I doubt we would have seen as much in damages.
    They just didn't get the flood walls up in time.
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  17. TopTop #10
    O.W.'s Avatar
    O.W.
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    When this project was first proposed Sebastopol Water Information Group (SWiG), went to the city meeting and told and showed with maps that Zimpher Creek had been buried underneath the Barlow. While it did not cause all the problems, it certainly did make it worse. The City was so anxious to get the area cleaned up and have more revenue, that this creek under the center was ignored. Zimpher's blocked drainage undoubtedly added to flood levels, as predicted.

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  19. TopTop #11
    caromia333's Avatar
    caromia333
     

    Re: Hard to expect the Barlow buildings to behave like boats

    This is such an intelligent and brilliant summary / comment / response.
    The questions asked and the issues complexity outlined ...
    My environmental science teacher said,
    "Most environmental problems are caused by simplistic thinking in a complex, cyclic world."

    Thank YOU so much!

    Quote David Gado Gado wrote: View Post
    I agree with Shepherd - unless the Barlow buildings were built above historic flood levels, it is challenging to rely upon this technology and a rapid response team to keep out that much water. We've been told that the interlocking metal panels had been tested, although it's hard to imagine how a combination of those and the steel and glass buildings could keep out several feet of ponded water for any significant period of time (unless the buildings were designed to behave like boats). How were the flood panels tested?

    As our climate continues to change, we may expect that even more frequent such floods will occur. State-mandated flow levels in the Russian River watershed may have to be changed to address more frequent flooding events, especially after droughts, when the Laguna de Santa Rosa and surrounding areas cannot rapidly absorb large volumes of rainwater. The Sonoma County Water agency is responsible for flood protection and stream maintenance in the Laguna, and different adaptation alternatives need to be considered including designing flood retention systems that capture floodwater and debris, reducing sedimentation, and capturing water for aquifer recharge.

    I remember the protracted fight to prevent CVS from being built (too much traffic! they said), but don't recall hearing any serious objections to the Barlow being built below well-established flood water levels.
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  21. TopTop #12
    tommy's Avatar
    tommy
    Supporting member

    Re: Hard to expect the Barlow buildings to behave like boats

    The idea of the flood gates seems ridiculous to me. With so many buildings, streets and alleys through the Barlow, how could flood gates be set up that would be effective in holding back the water?

    I note that some of the buildings are raised a few feet, and did not flood...such as Taylor Maid Coffee, Woodfour, The Fern Bar, & Elsie Green. The Village Bakery, Crooked Goat Brewery, and the small retail shops across from Woodfour are not raised and flooded. My recollection of the Northeast Plan for housing there, was that the buildings would be raised.

    When the Barlow is rebuilt, it'd be great if they could add housing (on stilts). This whole fiasco with the flood points to the foresight of the Northeast Plan with elevated housing.
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  23. TopTop #13
    farmerdan's Avatar
    farmerdan
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    At the risk of 'wading' into a 'flood' of comments;

    When I first heard that the city was considering building in the Barlow, I assumed that they would build on pilings with parking underneath and lots of landscaping; wrong. When I heard that they were building at ground level, I assumed that they had an automated flood barrier system; wrong. When I researched the flood barrier system the city approved, I could not find a similar installation in the US. (There are small projects with minimal openings but nothing as exensive.) When I heard that it took 50 people 12 hours to implement at the Barlow on a sunny day with planning and training, it was obvious what would happen when there was a real flood, which by the way at least one city staff member agreed with.

    When this flood happened, there was ample warning to install flood barriers since the Sonoma County Water Agency accurately predicted the flood on Monday. Joan went door to door on Tuesday morning trying to warn people but everyone thought the owner was going to manage things. A friend also went to one of the shops with a trailer and offerred to move their merchandise but was turned away.

    Even the half hearted attempt to put up the barriers had no supervision since these need to have downward pressure to seal properly, not just be stacked up like Lincoln logs.

    I heard today that Villiage Bakery is not going to reopen, which is sad and a loss for the city and the Barlow. I would expect the same of other tenants who are not able to sustain the loss they have just had and I doubt anyone is going to run in and take their place, haing seen what can happen. There will likely be well deserved lawsuits involving the owners and the city that will drag on for years. This will leave the entire project at risk.

    So the question we should all ask is what happens next? While I hate to propose it, I think the city is going to get stuck with having to come up with a solution (and will likely be the only entity capable of one because it will take a lot of money and a lot of cutting of red tape and a dollap of courage, all of which are in short supply.)

    I am reminded of a city in Japan where, after many years of work, and being villified, the mayor talked the city into investing in the highest tsunami wall anywhere. This was the only city that was spared in the last tsunami but unfortunatley the mayor passed away before he could see that he had saved his city.

    Is there are floodwall in our future?

    Dan
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  25. TopTop #14

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    You got to be joking. The plan was to amass a work force of 50, erect aluminum barriers around all the buildings, very possibly at night in driving wind and rain with folks most of which have never done it before. Then run pumps behind them while the toilets become gushers.

    Good Lord
    What could possibly go wrong?

    But they are saying it would have worked. No, most of the time it's not going to work. There are too many flaws in the plan.
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  27. TopTop #15
    farmerdan's Avatar
    farmerdan
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    As the intercom on the first pilotless commercial flight said: 'This is a fully automated flight and we would like to assure you that nothing can go wrong, can go wrong, can go wrong, can go wrong...

    Here is something that works: https://www.floodmitigation.com/glass-flood-doors.html

    With the doors always in place, there is nothing to do when it floods, just close the door.
    If it floods in the middle of the night, you have already closed the door!
    They need to be checked a few times a year for gasket wear but otherwise are just like any commercial door.
    (Avialable with panic hardware, closures, etc.) Doors like this can hold up to 98" of water (the ones here are for 60"). For bigger openings, custom doors would need to be made.

    You can have one way drains to stop the toilet geysers but I am not sure they did this and these would need to be tested regularly as they are prone to get stuck. This is especially a problem in restaurants, which have to have floor drains under sinks. When we had a restaurant in Berkeley, the kitchen got filled with sewage once when the main sewer line plugged. Not a lot of fun...

    While the stackable 'logs' can be made to work (I guess), they require proper installation which includes downward pressure. This is tricky because to do it you need to put all of the logs in place and mount top brackets that have a clamp that puts downward pressure. It seems no one knew this...

    Dan
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  29. TopTop #16

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    My feelings about building on this particular flood plain are unmixed.

    The Laguna de Santa Rosa is an internationally recognized wetland, although it's a ghost of its pre-European invasion self. It's a treasure, and the only development that should be allowed are ways to enjoy and learn from it as it does its rhythmic flooding and receding.

    Consider that there used to be herds of pronghorn antelope grazing here. That's some development I could really get behind.
    Quote SonomaPatientsCoop wrote: View Post
    ...As to building in the flood plain, I have mixed feelings. The grange, the community center, the skatepark, the chevron and a couple automitive repair shops and countless homes...etc are all within the flood plain. Much more within the floodplains of a 100 year flood. And of course- pretty much all of guerneville, rio-nido, much of monte rio, many of the businesses in jenner.
    ...
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  30. TopTop #17
    farmerdan's Avatar
    farmerdan
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    Well said.

    A plug for the Laguna De Santa Rosa foundation that has done so much to preserve and restore portions of the Laguna and serves as an important resource for education and preservation. An amazing organization that I had the privilege of helping a little in the past. So many people have made this a vibrant resource for the world, not just us. May the antelope run free some day...
    Quote sandoak wrote: View Post
    My feelings about building on this particular flood plain are unmixed....
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  32. TopTop #18
    caromia333's Avatar
    caromia333
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    I so appreciate and value this post and thoughts... thank YOU so much.

    In this world, where we our sacred connection to nature has been broken, it's nearly impossible
    to see the larger picture of what is happening and how out of it we truly are.

    Given the recent and alarming United Nations IPCC report on climate change. I am wondering
    where our focus needs to be at this critical time? So many things distract us from this gigantic
    and fast approaching problem. To understand more you can access the report here https://www.ipcc.ch
    Quote sandoak wrote: View Post
    My feelings about building on this particular flood plain are unmixed....
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  34. TopTop #19
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    Here's a 2012 video that shows the "flood logs" used by The Barlow


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  36. TopTop #20
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    You can see The Barlow's Flood Plans here.

    Note the comment at the bottom of the plans:

    Quote Tenant Flood Preparedness Program wrote:
    Note: we remind you that landlord has no liability to tenant whatsoever for any damage or injury to persons or property, or to tenant’s business, from any cause directly or indirectly related to flooding or the collateral effects of flooding. Landlord carries no flood insurance for tenant’s benefit. Tenant is recommended to carry flood insurance to protect their personal property.

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  38. TopTop #21
    vailetti
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    Flood Logs are quite an interesting concept, however has anyone thought about what happens with the sewer and drainage system(s) that are built in the buildings? They are most certainly fed by gravity, with the main sewer line running down the middle of Morris St. to the pumping station. When water accumulates above the level of the drains and toilets, it naturally flows back and overflows inside the building. Maybe they are using one-way check-valves before connecting to the main, but those tend to fail once in a while, especially if any debris is caught in the flapper.

    Some might say, an electric sump pump inside the building will take care of pumping out any small seepage from the flood logs, and from any floor drain, but what happens when the electric service fails? Power was lost from 9:30 AM on Wednesday 2/27 and was not restored until around 9:30 AM on Saturday morning, some 72 hours without power.

    Gasoline powered pumps, or even generators would be the alternative, but how do you get into the building without dismantling some of the flood logs, not a very practical solution. Not to mention the risk of carbon monoxide accumulation inside the building from the engines combustion. Anyone ever thought about that? Everyone needs to thank Murphy and his law, "whenever something can go wrong, it will".
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  40. TopTop #22
    farmerdan's Avatar
    farmerdan
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    Barry,

    I'm not an attorney but think it will be hard to argue that they did not have an obligation to make a reasonable effort to put up the barriers that they bragged so much about in the video, especially since they assured everyone that they would. I tried to go by today but the streets are blocked off. What a mess!!!

    Tom Barlow had the good sense to prepare for floods, which he knew would happen on a regular basis.
    We miss him and the other old timers who knew that its not nice to ignore mother nature.
    Quote Barlow Flood Preparedness Plans wrote: View Post
    Note: we remind you that landlord has no liability to tenant whatsoever for any damage or injury to persons or property, or to tenant’s business, from any cause directly or indirectly related to flooding or the collateral effects of flooding. Landlord carries no flood insurance for tenant’s benefit. Tenant is recommended to carry flood insurance to protect their personal property.
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  42. TopTop #23
    geomancer's Avatar
    geomancer
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    A colleague of mine just returned after inspecting flood damage to one of the restaurants at the Barlow. He reported that the flood barriers were installed inside out by a poorly trained skeleton crew that started the job long after it was obvious that a flood was imminent. No inspector was there to monitor their work.

    Also, the flood waters were contaminated by fecal coliform bacteria. Something to think about when sloshing in the water.

    Richard
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  44. TopTop #24
    geomancer's Avatar
    geomancer
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    Quote farmerdan wrote: View Post
    At the risk of 'wading' into a 'flood' of comments;

    I am reminded of a city in Japan where, after many years of work, and being villified, the mayor talked the city into investing in the highest tsunami wall anywhere. This was the only city that was spared in the last tsunami but unfortunatley the mayor passed away before he could see that he had saved his city.

    Is there are floodwall in our future?

    Dan
    Here is an article on the Japanese seawall:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...d-tsunami.html
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  46. TopTop #25
    farmerdan's Avatar
    farmerdan
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    Your analysis is as usual accurate.

    Everyone should be aware that when the flood stages reach the 40s, the sewer treatment plant on Llano road is often underwater. This means that raw sewage is joining the water in the Laguna and flowing toward the river. Also, the sewers can get backed up from inflows when they are under water and run backwards. The sewage treatment plant has to report spills so info is available on this.

    While I am not a germ-phobe, I would recommend caution in working with this water and cleanup. As one of the 3 rules of plumbing says; 'don't put your fingers in your mouth.' (The other 2 are 'payday is on Friday' and 'Shit will not run uphill.')

    I believe people warned the city that Barney's plan was flawed because the city official I spoke with at the time agreed that it would not work for all the reasons we have seen. But they were enamored with Barney, the money and the chic project so this was overlooked. Now, the piper will have to be paid.

    Quote geomancer wrote: View Post
    A colleague of mine just returned after inspecting flood damage to one of the restaurants at the Barlow. He reported that the flood barriers were installed inside out by a poorly trained skeleton crew that started the job long after it was obvious that a flood was imminent. No inspector was there to monitor their work.

    Also, the flood waters were contaminated by fecal coliform bacteria. Something to think about when sloshing in the water.

    Richard
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  48. TopTop #26
    ChefJayTay's Avatar
    ChefJayTay
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    https://abc7news.com/week-after-heavy-rain-and-flooding-clean-up-continues-in-north-bay/5178399/

    Excerpts:

    "Every single opening has at least ten beams. And there are 15 openings on my building, and they are all different measurements," she said. "It was an awful situation. It didn't work and there was no labor, here. Nobody was trained."

    "Those beams weigh at least 100 pounds each," added Melissa Minton.

    "We understood the complex would have 50 men to install them," continued Estes.

    "How many did you see?" we asked.

    "Six."
    ...

    Property owner and manager Barney Aldridge declined to answer questions about the beams. He says The Barlow is doing its best to get the businesses going again.

    "It will be a positive story in a couple of weeks," he said.

    "We are all waiting to see what the landlord does," said Estes. "We need him to work with us. We hope that he will."
    Last edited by Barry; 03-09-2019 at 08:01 PM.
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  50. TopTop #27

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    The river folk are giving us a model of resilience, stop whining.

    Quote ChefJayTay wrote: View Post
    https://abc7news.com/week-after-heavy-rain-and-flooding-clean-up-continues-in-north-bay/5178399/

    Excerpts:

    "Every single opening has at least ten beams. And there are 15 openings on my building, and they are all different measurements," she said. "It was an awful situation. It didn't work and there was no labor, here. Nobody was trained."

    "Those beams weigh at least 100 pounds each," added Melissa Minton.

    "We understood the complex would have 50 men to install them," continued Estes.

    "How many did you see?" we asked.

    "Six."
    ...

    Property owner and manager Barney Aldridge declined to answer questions about the beams. He says The Barlow is doing its best to get the businesses going again.

    "It will be a positive story in a couple of weeks," he said.

    "We are all waiting to see what the landlord does," said Estes. "We need him to work with us. We hope that he will."
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  51. TopTop #28
    geomancer's Avatar
    geomancer
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    Quote Dorothy Friberg wrote: View Post
    The river folk are giving us a model of resilience, stop whining.
    Ahem, stop judging
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  53. TopTop #29

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    My comment was to the Sebastopol folks who seem to endlessly complain about every detail of a problem. Perhaps privilege plays a part in this but many folks I know in these environs seem to take winter, with both it's blessings and problems, in stride. Yes,the flooding of Barlow presented problems, but I'm wondering if said business owners were not heeding the forecasts of heavy rain in a short period and the possible consequences.
    Quote geomancer wrote: View Post
    Ahem, stop judging
    Last edited by Barry; 03-13-2019 at 07:41 PM.
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  54. TopTop #30
    geomancer's Avatar
    geomancer
     

    Re: The Barlow FAILED to protect it's tennants during flood.

    Quote Dorothy Friberg wrote: View Post
    My comment was to the Sebastopol folks who seem to endlessly complain about every detail of a problem. ...
    The Barlow had a flood protection plan that was supposed to be automatically engaged when flooding was likely. The planned crew of 25+ turned out to be 5 or 6 poorly trained men who started working far too late to be effective. Some of the barrier components were installed inside out and thus did not work. If you scroll up through this thread you will see a video Barry posted showing how the barriers were supposed to work. Shop owners leased their sites with the understanding that flood protection would be implemented.
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