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Howard Terminal Designer’s Safety Warning Ignored By Port, City and Mayor: Part 1

THE OAKLAND POST — “Think about human error in bringing a ship of that size into the Port, and the potential with the turning basin located at the Howard Terminal, it just might bump into the Quay wall. The structural integrity of the Quay wall could be compromised. My concern is if the Quay wall fails, upon which the Howard Terminal is built, with three stories of bleachers built on top of it, say that container ship doesn’t stop in time and hits that Quay wall, we will have gantry cranes and possibly people in the water. If anything happens, I’m liable. You never do a project like that without bringing on the original designer. They didn’t do that.”

By Tanya Dennis, The Oakland Post

Fred Jordan
Fred Jordan, president of FE Jordan Associates

The original designer of the Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland says that for nearly a year, city officials have ignored his concerns about the potential impact the ballpark poses to residents and baseball fans.

On June 24, 2021, the Warren Law Firm sent a letter to Andreas Cluver, president of the Port of Oakland Commissioners, and David Kaval, president of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, regarding safety concerns the Howard Terminal original designers have regarding the proposed waterfront ballpark and apartment project.

F.E. Jordan Associates, Inc. (FEJA) is the prestigious design and civil/structural engineering firm that designed the Howard Terminal has regarding the Waterfront Ballpark project.

Copies of the letter were sent to Oakland City Council, Mayor Schaaf and Barbara J. Parker, Oakland’s City Attorney, and members of the City Council.

Neither Fred Jordan, president of FEJA, nor his counsel have yet to receive a response from Cluver, Kaval, Schaaf or the City Council.

Jordan, who holds three California state appointments including overseeing the nation’s largest project, the $105 billion California High Speed Rail Project, is not surprised. “This is pretty much status quo, they’re pushing it through, and politics are heavy! Everybody thinks it’s a good idea. I believe it’s more important to get these big ships in here to keep the supply chain for our country moving, and the integrity and future growth of the Port maintained. That’s more important than a ballpark.”

Howard Terminal as the potential site for the $12 billion project continues to go through the approval process, despite a change in the economic structure of the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which created supply shortages worldwide.

Currently, ships are waiting for weeks to unload their cargo in Los Angeles, which could very well be the future of Oakland if the Waterfront Ballpark is built at Howard Terminal

Jordan has reached out to Port commissioners and the Oakland A’s three times requesting his firm be consulted or added as part of the evaluation team to assess the potential liability of building a ballpark on the structure his office designed, as his safety concerns are many.

“It’s common courtesy in the industry that the designer be consulted anytime structural changes to the original design are considered,” Jordan said. “The Port and Oakland A’s need to hear more intricacies about putting that ballpark on a container terminal. To ignore that could be disastrous in the future and could also lead to very high risk for any design professional and contractor associated with that terminal no matter how far they go back.”

When asked about his specific concerns, Jordan responded, “Think about an Empire-State- building-long container ship coming into the Port with four or five stories of containers stacked up.

“Think about human error in bringing a ship of that size into the Port, and the potential with the turning basin located at the Howard Terminal, it just might bump into the Quay wall. The structural integrity of the Quay wall could be compromised. My concern is if the Quay wall fails, upon which the Howard Terminal is built, with three stories of bleachers built on top of it, say that container ship doesn’t stop in time and hits that Quay wall, we will have gantry cranes and possibly people in the water. If anything happens, I’m liable. You never do a project like that without bringing on the original designer. They didn’t do that.”

Jordan’s second concern is the environmental impact the park will have not only on the Port but the community as well.

“The Environmental Impact Report is a huge issue and has to do with how the ballpark will socially, economically, and environmentally impact the health of Black folks with trucks lined up in their neighborhoods waiting to unload because of the park and access to the railroad.

“Many huge projects attempted in the past were thwarted because these very issues were not taken into consideration. Environmental reports consider the public trust and social impact of a project. I don’t trust the project because no one will talk to me about the structural integrity of what they’re planning, as our design was not a typical design,” he continued.

In his letter, Jordan has informed all concerned that the Waterfront draft EIR does not address the “structural engineering aspects” of locating a multi-story concrete stadium structure in proximity of the quay wall.

The quay wall is a 1,000-foot wharf structure supporting gantry cranes, the largest and tallest in the world. Jordan is also concerned about the soil surcharge, or whether the stadium structure will be on bedrock, friction piles or regular footings. Jordan needs answers, and more importantly, the people deserve the truth.

Next week: Part 2. Oakland Athletics Ballpark Project: “A Cautionary Tale: Developers, Environmental Impact Reports & the Howard Terminal.”

The post Howard Terminal Designer’s Safety Warning Ignored By Port, City and Mayor: Part 1 first appeared on Post News Group

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