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Crane contractor, state settle dispute

Sun., Oct. 12, 2008

A state agency and a contractor have settled a dispute over a crane collapse that killed a Microsoft Corp. lawyer in Bellevue.

Under a deal announced Friday by the Department of Labor & Industries, Lease Crutcher Lewis agreed not to appeal a $9,200 fine. The agency, in turn, agreed to modify a safety violation finding.

An engineering firm, Magnusson Klemencic, was fined $5,600. That company’s appeal is pending, state officials said.

The case involves the collapse of a 210-foot tower crane Nov. 15, 2006, in downtown Bellevue. The crash killed 31-year-old Matthew Ammon and left three buildings severely damaged.

Lease Crutcher Lewis originally was accused of failing to ensure that the crane was adequately inspected and maintained. In the settlement, the company was cited for failing to obtain third-party oversight in designing a nonstandard base for the crane. The fine was unchanged.

Earlier in October, relatives of Ammon filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court against the Lease Crutcher Lewis and Magnusson Klemencic.


Some UW police sue the university

Six current and former employees of the University of Washington’s police department say they faced a hostile work environment, including racial and sexual discrimination.

The group, which includes four police officers, filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court last week. They say there was a black voodoo doll with a noose around its neck found in the department of the records coordinator, who is a black woman, and a Jewish officer was told he couldn’t really be Jewish because he had no number tattooed on his arm.

According to the lawsuit, university officials did nothing about the work environment. As a result, some of the employees have left and others have suffered depression, humiliation and emotional problems.

University spokesman Norm Arkans says officials believe the claims have no merit.


Oregon native to return to space

An astronaut from Oregon has been scheduled to make his second trip into space.

Don Pettit, a native of Silverton, will be aboard the next space shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

The shuttle Endeavour is set to launch Nov. 14 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission will deliver equipment and supplies needed to double the station crew size from three to six in May 2009.

From Nov. 23, 2002, to May 3, 2003, Pettit logged 161 days at the space station.

He graduated from Silverton Union High School and earned a degree in chemical engineering at Oregon State University.

From wire reports


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