Monday, November 29, 2010

Broken Water Pipes Temporarily Close Historic Building

 by Nicole Milbradt, Sr. Marketing Associate & Events Manager

The historic Betye Martin Baker Human Service Center building at 1501 Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma, owned by United Way of Pierce County and home to several other nonprofits, is temporarily closed due to substantial damage caused by a series of broken pipes following last week’s winter storm. While the building is closed until further notice, United Way and the South Sound 2-1-1 hotline will continue to serve the community through remote operations. A few unaffected offices operated by other nonprofits will continue work at the building site, as the structure itself is sound.

Late Thanksgiving night, pipes burst in the building as frozen water began to thaw, causing damage throughout the four-story site. Flooding on the top floor also damaged interior walls and some offices below. The Human Service Center was one of many buildings in downtown Tacoma that suffered damage as a result of last week’s snow and frigid temperatures. Despite the damage, United Way of Pierce County and fellow human service providers located in the building are committed to continuing service for those in need.

“At United Way, we operate by the motto of LIVE UNITED,” said Rick Allen, President of United Way of Pierce County. “The same is true in this situation. We have problems of our own that we are dealing with but our number one priority remains, and always will be, to help those in our community who need it most. We will do whatever it takes to make sure that continues.”

South Sound 2-1-1 is a call center that provides non-emergency resources to the community. The Monday after Thanksgiving is usually the highest call volume day of the entire year for people seeking human service assistance. Call center hours will remain the same and staff is available by simply dialing 2-1-1. Over 75,000 calls for help came to the local call center in the last year.

Updated information on the building closure will be available at 253-272-4263.