Back-to-back spills of liquid substances in an alleyway in Uptown Village recently left some neighborhood businesses fuming.
Bryan Shull, owner of Trap Door Brewing, called it a “nightmare” when, in November, a sheen of oil coursed across the floor of his newly built grilled cheese sandwich food cart connected to his brewery at 2315 Main St.
A jug of oil, believed to be cooking oil, was run over by a passing vehicle near 25th Street, according to an incident report from the City of Vancouver Water Resources Protection Program, a division of the Public Works Department.
The oil in the alleyway, which runs from 22nd to 25th streets behind a block of businesses that includes Bleu Door Bakery and Arnada Naturals, reportedly started spreading on the wet road conditions that day.
Shull said it was smeared further by unwitting passing cars and tracked into businesses on the shoes of people.
“It was all over back here,” Shull said in the alley. “Cars were pulling up, driving and taking it down all down Broadway and all up Fourth Plain, and it just spread.”
Shull, a former engineer for a renewably energy company, and some other employees in the area started to try and clean it up themselves, but weren’t much help, he said. A crew from the city arrived to clean it up as best as they could, but the damage was done, Shull said.
“It’s a slip hazard, for starters. It was more slippery than snot,” Shull said. “Then I have to steam clean my floors — it’s expensive. A little bit of oil goes a long way. It was just unending, it took hours.”
Less than two weeks later, on Dec. 13, another substance started wending through the alleyway. The milky liquid turned out to be at least a half gallon of white paint that had been dumped out and sprayed with water, according to another incident report.
Like the cooking oil earlier, the paint spilled down the alleyway and past businesses. The path once again carried under the food carts and through the patio of Trap Door Brewing. Randy Larson, owner of Salmon Creek Outfitters nearby, said a neighbor had been hosing the paint with water, which carried it.