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Partial downtown Stanfield building collapse closes restaurant, forces out tenants

Moisture from snow and ice may have weakened building structure

By Jayati Ramakrishnan

East Oregonian

Published on February 14, 2017 4:44PM

Last changed on February 14, 2017 9:25PM

The roof on the back half of the Pupuseria Blanquita lies in ruins on Tuesday in Stanfield.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

The roof on the back half of the Pupuseria Blanquita lies in ruins on Tuesday in Stanfield.

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A sign warning about the structural instability of the building is hung on the door of the Pupuseria Blanquita on Tuesday in Stanfield.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

A sign warning about the structural instability of the building is hung on the door of the Pupuseria Blanquita on Tuesday in Stanfield.

Buy this photo

Part of a downtown Stanfield building collapsed Friday afternoon, forcing a restaurant and several tenants out indefinitely.

The building, at 110 N. Main St., is home to the Blanquita Restaurant and Pupuseria, serving Salvadorian food, as well as four upstairs apartments.

Stanfield City Manager Blair Larsen said Stanfield police and Umatilla County Fire District 1 responded to the call and found the entire back side of the building had collapsed.

The back area is used for parties and special events but is not occupied full-time. No one was in that area at the time of collapse.

Larsen said an inspection has not been conducted yet, but the fire department suspects the collapse was caused by ice and snow on top of the building that started to melt and leaked into the structure.

“The moisture may have weakened the beams,” Larsen said.

Larsen said the city has attempted to contact the owners, Antonio and Filberto Chavez, but has not yet heard back from them. The building has been shut down and a dangerous building ordinance has been placed on the structure barring entry. In order to lift that ban, Larsen said the building must be repaired and has to pass another safety inspection.

The restaurant’s operators, Moises Torres and Blanca Orellano, could not be reached for comment by press time, and the number of people living in the building was not known.



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