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Wake of the Flood: Roof replacement delayed, Boys and Girls Club hopes to weather the storm 

Boys and Girls Club still waiting for its historic building's new roof.

Walking through the downtown branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Bend, you wouldn't immediately know that less than two months ago rainwater flooded the floors, walls and ceilings. But something is clearly missing.

There's still no sign of kids or kid's programs and many of the club's staff members have moved their desks out of their offices and into what were common rooms or storage areas. To facilitate drying in the prominent downtown fixture (built in 1918, it originally served as the Athletic Club of Bend), the bottom two feet of the inside walls around the perimeter of the building have been removed. The kitchen has been completely vacated and many of the larger rooms now serve as storage for ping-pong tables, chairs, couches and book shelves. Though there is now no mold in the building, plastic sheets hang over work areas that expose the innards of the building.

The damage done by the Aug. 4 rain and hail storm, which flooded downtown and westside streets and forced Munch and Music to cancel and sent its patrons running for cover, nearly ruined the historic building. As has been reported, much of the damage, which has been estimated at $300,000, was due to the fact that roofing contractors working on the building left the roof uncovered that night.

"It was a disaster," says Lisa Burbidge, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Central Oregon.

The roof repair has left the children who rely on the Boys and Girls Club and its services displaced, and the work has deteriorated into delays, finger pointing and a costly temporary relocation of the club's programming, which has the otganization paying $3,000 a month in rent versus a basically rent-free arrangement with the park district. And with winter fast approaching, staff members, including Burbidge, are wondering whether the roof work will be finished in time to avoid another disaster.

At this point the club hopes to be back in its home by Thanksgiving, nearly four months after the rainstorm flood. And while it took several days to assess the full extent of the damage, it took several months before the district and its contractor resumed work on the roof.

Aside from the usual bureaucratic red tape there are a number of other factors that have contributed to the delay. Coordinating operations between the contractor, subcontractor, architect, roof consultant, city building managers, as well as the landlord of the 22,000-square-foot building, the Bend Park and Recreation District, which leases the space to the Boys & Girls Club for $1 per year, is no easy task.

What's clear now is that the problems began long before the August deluge. According to a roofing specialist hired by the city, the issues can be traced back to 1997 when the roof was first reconstructed.

"It was not as thorough as it should be," says Keith Schaber, owner of Schaber Roof Consulting Inc., the West Linn consulting firm hired by Bend Park and Recreation to assist with the project.

A roof should last 25-30 years, Schaber says. This one held up for less than half of that.

"We've had problems all the time," says Burbidge, who cites leaks and missing shingles as the biggest issues.

Schaber, who has been in the roofing business since 1970, says he found some "well-hidden problems" with the roof when he inspected the bits of the roof that were removed after the flood. Schaber literally returned to the drawing board to come up with a working redesign, a process that took almost six weeks to complete.

"It's not like putting up a pup tent in the backyard. It takes time to do that," says Schaber.

Given the parapet walls (a wall-like barrier at the edge of the roof) and other complex features on the nearly 100-year-old historical building, the plans demanded plenty of extra time.

"It's an unusual and intricate design," says Heidi Slaybaugh, the project manager at Pinnacle Architecture who worked with Schaber and others to draft a workable plan.

Schaber added a venting option for the roof, one that would tack on an additional $15,000 to the project, but Bend parks managers opted not to follow the consultant's recommendation. Schaber then had to alter his plans once again.

"[It's been] a comedy of errors," says Schaber.

The building's historic status only served to further delay the start of construction after the flood.

"Everything that happens on this, being historical, has to go through certain channels," says subcontractor Doug Witt of Lawless Roofing.

"We've been held up by seven weeks," says Witt. "It's not good when you've got that much money and materials tied up in a project. It's a real hair-puller."

Lacking a permanent roof, the building remains partially exposed to the elements and has suffered further from recent October rains. Spectrum Building and Restoration, a disaster relief company, has returned with their blowers on more than one occasion, often working through the night to mitigate water damage from passing storms. The current covering is little more than some plywood with a few layers of felt.

For the time being, the beleaguered club continues to improvise, operating out of the First United Methodist Church. It's a precarious position for the nonprofit organization. Two Eugene-area Boys & Girls Clubs operating under less trying conditions were recently forced to temporarily close their doors because of a lack of money.

"It's just been hard," says Burbidge, who's quick to clarify that the club has been fortunate based on the amount of support it's received from the church and the community at large.

Now, more than two months after the flood damage, the plan redesigns and the permitting, work has resumed on the roof. Burbidge has word from the crews that the Boys & Girls Club will be operational by Thanksgiving, but that means another month that the building will remain partially exposed.


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