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City To Be Fined For Rockslide Injury At Park State Investigators Say Plywood Retaining Wall Not Adequately Shored Up

The city of Spokane expects to be fined about $3,500 for improperly shoring up a rock retaining wall at Riverfront Park.

The wall collapsed last month during a trench-digging project, injuring a worker.

In the future, city employees with expertise on trenches and support structures will be called in to assist on such projects, said Ange Taylor, city parks director.

The state Department of Labor and Industries will be announcing the fine soon.

Spokesman Bill Ripple said investigators are wrapping up their inquiry into the Aug. 5 accident.

The wall’s collapse pinned Ginni Blackhart, a 19-year-old city seasonal worker, in a ditch for nearly an hour.

She suffered a broken right upper leg.

Co-worker J.R. Gifford pulled her out of the path of a half-ton rock that could have crushed her.

They were digging a trench with three other park employees when part of the wall of rocks and boulders gave way.

A supervisor had the wall shored up with plywood, but the supports gave way when the trench was being dug, Taylor said.

Blackhart is “doing fine,” Taylor said. “We’re thankful for that.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo