After explosion, life returns to Portland’s NW 23rd

Hip Hound, about a block away from the blast site, shook when the explosion happened

Hip Hound's marketing specialist Ari Ambrutis, October 22, 2016 (KOIN)
Hip Hound's marketing specialist Ari Ambrutis, October 22, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Days after the gas explosion demolished a building at NW 23rd and Glisan, sidewalks remain closed as glass and debris are still strewn about.

Hip Hound on NW 23rd is open days after an explosion about a block away, October 22, 2016 (KOIN)
Hip Hound on NW 23rd is open days after an explosion about a block away, October 22, 2016 (KOIN)

The people at Hip Hound, about a block away from the blast site, said their building shook when the explosion happened. They’re pleasantly surprised the street is back open. Hip Hound’s marketing specialist Ari Ambrutis said crews had to clear a block’s worth of damage to make it happen.

“I think a lot of people are really surprised that 23rd is open today because of the amount of damage,” she told KOIN 6 News.

Donna Joy Taber, who lives nearby, said, “It’s really nice because the other day I tried to get my car through here and I got blocked every which way and I was trying to get to work really fast and it was really really difficult.”

Michael Breda agreed. “It’s remarkable that the street is open and they’ve contained the gas leak and it’s safe for people to be here.”

Hip Hound’s owner Jennifer Heckman will allow her employees to help other businesses clean up their stores when they’re ready to re-open. Heckman has also spearheaded some fundraising efforts inside the store: for $1 you can buy a star to contribute to a fund for employees who are now out of work. Among others, the staffs at Pizzacato and FedEx are still not able to work.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.