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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 9:17 am | Fair 50º


Los Padres’ Goleta Office Closed After Flooding

Last Friday morning, Andrew Madsen arrived at work to find half of his Goleta office building under water.

Madsen, who is the public information officer for the Los Padres National Forest, arrived at his Hollister Avenue office around 7:15 a.m. last Friday to find that the previous night's storms had flooded much of the office. The storm dropped 2 inches of water in an hour in some places in the county, and flooding became a problem at the office building, which  is located at 6755 Hollister Ave., Suite 150, east of Kmart and owned by Flir.

Contract crews are now working to repair extensive damage since water and mud breached a large part of the office building, which was filled with brackish water.

Since there was concern mold could develop, the office was vacated. 

The Forest Service office sits on the first floor, and the next-door offices were vacant, so it was the only one affected. Employees have been able to move most of their furniture into the vacant offices while the office is repaired.

"It impacted about half of our floor space," Madsen said. The property management company determined that the building was unsafe, and "we're moving everybody so we can expedite the process."

Crews had ripped up the building's carpet and torn out about 6 inches of the drywall as of Tuesday, Madsen said, and the office is in the process of figuring out where each of the 30 employees who worked in the building can work while repairs are ongoing, Madsen said.

Some are being moved to the Los Prietos office, Santa Maria and other stations, and others are working remotely.

The office was home to the Visitor Information Center, where employees helped anyone who walked in and had questions about camping or trails, Madsen said.

The Los Padres Association also has offices there, where volunteers coordinate for trail work, and the building hosts administrative offices for the department.

Madsen expects the office to be back in working order in six to eight weeks, and updates on the office's progress will be available by clicking here.

While the office is being repaired, Madsen encouraged those in need of forest information to call the Santa Lucia Ranger District at 805.925.9538 or the Santa Barbara Ranger District at 805.967.3481.

In the meantime, Adventure Passes are sold at Big 5 Sporting Goods, 3935 State St., and interagency senior, access and annual passes are sold at the Los Prietos Ranger Station, the Santa Lucia RD Office in Santa Maria or Channel Islands NP Visitor Center in Ventura. Passes can also be purchased online by clicking here.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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