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Cold snap bursts pipes across West Linn

Three businesses experience flooding and wall damage


Three businesses at the Robinwood Center were damaged by burst water pipes resulting from the snap of cold weather this week.

Premier Martial Arts, Curves women’s workout club and Ace Computer Repair each experienced pipe bursts and flooding at around 11 a.m. Monday. Curves escaped with minimal damage, according to owner Ramona Register, while Ace Computer Repair saw about a dozen computers damaged and Premier Martial Arts sustained extensive flooding.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The damage at Premier Martial Arts was extensive, 'like a hurricane went through,' according to Amanda Stein.

“It looks like a hurricane went through,” said Amanda Stein, whose husband, Scott, owns the martial arts studio. “The pipes were in the ceiling, so we had standing water on the ground and it affected the electrical — everything.”

The original storefront, which opened nearly 10 years ago, will have to be completely redone, according to Stein. In the meantime, Retail Opportunity Investments Corporation, which owns the Robinwood Center, will allow the martial arts studio to move into a vacant room across the parking lot.

“I just hope people don’t think we’re closing,” Stein said.

Curves, meanwhile, did not suffer extensive damage and re-opened Wednesday.

“We had water coming from the ceiling,” Register said. “There was some flooding, but Curve members got buckets and took care of a lot of it. We had a lot of help.”

The pipe burst at Ace Computer Repair occurred while workers attempted to turn the water off at Curves. According to employee Sean Andersson, the showering lasted for about an hour and a half and damaged about 12 computers, as well as two vintage radios.

“It’s our front rack and two of these old radios,” Andersson said. “And then the carpet, and the bathroom got it pretty bad too because that’s where it leaked from Curves.”

As of Tuesday, Andersson said he was still trying to assess the damage, but the computer shop remained open for business.

As a result of the pipe breaks Monday the Robinwood Center property manager shut off the water supply for every business in the complex, including Walmart, Healthy Pet and Robinwood Cleaners. The water was turned back on later that same day after the pipes were fixed.

The city of West Linn Public Works Department also responded to a number of weather-related pipe issues at local homes, with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue chipping in as well.

“There are a few frozen private pipes where we have been called to follow up,” Public Works Director Lance Calvert said. “We are also following up on any potential leak calls. I would suspect more will show up in the city system when the weather turns and begins to thaw again.”

Over the course of three hours on Dec. 8, crews from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue responded to 26 water problems mostly caused by frozen pipes.

In extreme cold weather, TVF&R suggested a number of precautions, including:

  • Shutting off the water to your home and unhooking outside hoses from faucets.
  • Placing foam covers over outside faucets and crawl space openings.
  • Leaving a trickle of water running from a faucet farthest away from the water meter.
  • Wrapping insulating material or electrical wire heating wrap around the pipes.
  • Never using a propane torch or an open flame to thaw a pipe due to the risk of igniting wood beams, flooring and other combustible materials around pipes.
  • Patrick Malee can be reached at pmalee@westlinntidings.com and 503-636-1281, ext. 106. Follow him on Twitter, @pmalee_wl

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