Too dangerous: Authorities shut down Allied Arts building

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A major arts outreach program here in Yakima needs to find a new home. Yakima authorities shut down the Allied Arts building at Gilbert Park because it's too dangerous.

A sinking roof and a buckling wall could be ingredients for disaster. It's why Yakima Code Enforcement officers closed the doors to Allied Arts' headquarters at Gilbert Park.

"I was surprised we've been asked to seal off the building," said Rob Wasielewski, Allied Arts Executive Director.

Signs are now posted on the 81-year-old building. Warnings that it is dangerous to enter.

It's been nearly 15 years since the building's last renovation. Allied Arts' executive director told KIMA several neighbors pointed out the wall was bowing. That prompted him to call code enforcement.

"If we have an opportunity, we would like to have part of the building be used if that's affordable with the damage in the building," said Yakima Codes Manager Joe Caruso.

Any decision to keep part of the building open would be made by the building examiner after evaluating the extent of the damage. Until then, Allied Arts has to find another place to run its operation.

The closure also hurts its tenant, the Warehouse Theatre Company. The theatre was forced it to suspend its production of "A Christmas Carol."

"It's more than just a building and we're working with our tenants," said Wasielewski. "Folks like Warehouse Theatre to try and ease the situation for them because I know it's an extremely difficult time."

A statement from The Warehouse Theatre Board president indicates the organization is in the process of finding a new place so the show can go on. For now, the stage will be dark.

Code enforcement officers said volunteers were scared to hold events in the back of the building because of the damage.

It's not clear when the building will be safe to reopen.