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CULVER CITY : Earthquake Damage Reaches $7 Million

January 23, 1994

The earthquake last week severely damaged 33 buildings, with repair costs estimated at $7 million, city officials said.

Jody Hall-Esser, the city's chief administrative officer, said further inspections will determine if any buildings need to be demolished. Most of the damage was to commercial and industrial properties. Only six residents called the city to report severe damage to their homes.

There were no injuries or deaths reported in the city, she said.

Hall-Esser also said she will ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency if federal loan papers can be distributed from City Hall for the convenience of residents. A federal assistance office has been set up in Santa Monica.

The quake has cost the city at least $500,000 due to damage at the interim city hall (a new city hall has been under construction since last year) and overtime, finance director Bob Norquist said. Federal and state assistance will help offset that cost, he added.

In all, 360 buildings had some structural damage. Of the 33 that received the greatest damage, four were landmarks, including the Metropolitan Community Church, which is in a 70-year-old building, and Belepasta restaurant, a 69-year-old building that was the site of the city's first hospital, Hall-Esser said.

Traffic on Washington Boulevard near La Cienega Boulevard, less than a mile from a collapsed Santa Monica Freeway overpass, has been at a crawl during rush hours because of commuters using surface streets as alternate routes. City traffic engineer Ken Johnson said a second left-turn lane on La Cienega was added Thursday so more cars could turn east on Washington.

Next week, the city will add a northbound left turn lane on La Cienega at Washington and a third eastbound lane on Washington between La Cienega and the Santa Monica Freeway, to help commuters get to the eastbound Santa Monica Freeway.

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