King moved to Arlington from Miami shortly after his Larry King Show picked up national syndication from the Arlington-based Mutual Broadcasting System in 1978.
King’s show was produced in the Mutual Broadcasting studio at the top floor of the office building at 251 18th Street S., next to the Crystal City Metro station. Back then, the building’s street address was known as 1755 South Jefferson Davis Highway, the Crystal City Underground shopping plaza had recently opened, and the neighborhood was only beginning to emerge as a major commercial center.
“Mutual radio moved to Crystal City when no one was there and nothing was there — there were four buildings and the Crystal underground,” recalls Tammy Haddad, King’s radio producer in the early 1980s and later the founding Executive Producer of his CNN show.
It was from that studio that the late-night Larry King Show was broadcast across the country until it went off the air in 1994. Initially, it aired from midnight to 5:30 a.m., though the hours shifted over the years. The radio show featured an extended interview followed by live listener call-ins, and eventually aired on more than 500 radio stations nationwide.
The quirky program was a hit: King’s following grew so quickly — with millions of listeners staying up into the wee hours — that the open call-in portion of the show would crash the circuits of the entire 703 area code, at least according to King.
When Larry King Live launched in primetime on CNN in 1985, King would drive from the CNN studios in D.C. to Crystal City to host the radio show. Famous for his work ethic, King kept that grueling schedule up for years.
While working out of Crystal City, King lived in the Rosslyn area. For a couple of years he lived in The Virginian apartment building, before moving to the nearby Prospect House condo building, famous for its monumental view of D.C. and the Iwo Jima memorial.
King later briefly moved to McLean before decamping for Los Angeles, according to Patrick Piper, who produced King’s radio show after Haddad. (An Associated Press article from 1991 noted that King was arguing to have one of his divorces heard in Arlington “where he lives and works,” instead of Philadelphia where his estranged wife still maintained a residence.)
Stories from King’s radio days abound.
For one, King was cast as himself in the 1984 comedy classic Ghostbusters.
“The people filming the movie Ghostbusters called and asked me to play myself in the movie,” he wrote in his autobiography. “They shot me, cigarette in hand, behind the mike.”
While the setting depicted in the film was definitely the Crystal City studio, Piper wasn’t sure whether it was actually shot in Arlington or on a soundstage. It did look like one of the secondary studios in the office, he said.
Getting to the studio late at night was not easy for the in-studio guests, Haddad remembers.
“The guests used to have to enter the Crystal underground entrance, which was unmarked, it never said Larry King radio show, it never said Mutual radio… and then they’d have to go to the building and [get] let up,” she said. “So you have to really want to be a guest on Larry King to get there.”
Many celebrities arrived via humble Arlington taxis
“We used to send the guests on Red Top Cabs,” Haddad said. “So we pick up Mel Brooks, Danny Kaye, you know, all these guys.”
One regular on-air guest was then-Congressman Al Gore, who lived five minutes away in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood and would drive himself over to the studio late at night.
“Al Gore and Larry had a special relationship,” Haddad said.
Crystal City might not have been as centrally located as downtown D.C., but King wrote that it helped him stay much more plugged in to national news and media than staying in Miami.
After nearly 60 years, The Inn of Rosslyn is permanently closed.
The Green family, which owned The Inn of Rosslyn and the Americana Hotel in Crystal City — the sale of which was previously reported — has sold both hotels to developer JBG Smith before the new year, according to one family member. The family also sold two apartment buildings: Fern Gardens and Williamsburg Apartments.
“The whole COVID-19 thing has basically bankrupted our businesses,” Katherine Green, whose father built the hotel in 1957, told ARLnow. “There was no other option. There was no end in sight.”
Business looked good, pre-coronavirus. The hotels were generating income, and the general manager of The Americana told Washington Business Journal that 2017 was its best year. But when the economy crashed, Green said she had no income from April 1 until mid-December. (The County records the sales on Dec. 18.) She said a small business loan covered payroll for a few months, but the siblings still emptied their bank accounts to keep the hotels open for a paltry 10% occupancy.
“We were hemorrhaging money,” said Green, who is 60.
A spokesperson for JBG Smith confirmed the purchase of the 38-key Rosslyn hotel and the two apartment buildings, but declined to comment further. The company has been on something of a buying spree in Arlington; an affiliated nonprofit just bought the Crystal House apartment complex with funding from Amazon, as part of a $2 billion commitment by the tech giant to support affordable housing in Arlington, Nashville and the Seattle area.
The Inn of Rosslyn is assessed at $5,070,900, and the two apartment buildings are together worth $8.7 million, according to county records.
Prior to these sales, JBG Smith’s Arlington properties were cumulatively valued this summer at nearly $4.5 billion, according to Arlington County.
“This is an end of an era,” Green said of her family’s business. “It’s hard for the employees. Some have worked for us for 20-odd years. Many were housed in family property and we don’t know if they’ll find jobs.”
The coronavirus was not Green’s only worry. Some of her siblings are too old to be involved, or have died recently, leaving only Green and her sister, Carole Newman, poised to keep the doors open.
The Green’s story is playing out statewide. COVID-19 has crippled the hotel industry statewide, with hotel revenues down 51% from 2019, and the percentage of rooms booked down 33 percentage points, Virginia Business reports.
Still, Green considers herself lucky.
“My father built his businesses in an area that is so valuable that we could sell,” she said.
William Green Sr. quit his electrical engineering job with General Electric to build the hotels.
“He didn’t want to work for a big corporation — he wanted to give his family financial independence, and give them freedom,” she said.
And her father, a child of the Great Depression, chose the D.C. area, she said.
“He knew that if the economy crashed again, D.C. would be more insulated than anywhere else,” she said. “Arlington is really the center of the universe in some ways.”
Today, Green lives on more than one hundred acres in eastern Oregon, and even mulled investing in hotels two years ago — but is glad she did not.
“What is going down is a travesty unlike anything in my lifetime,” she said.
A U.S. Postal Inspector was seen inspecting the drop-off mailboxes outside of the N. George Mason Drive Post Office Tuesday, as resident complaints about missing and stolen mail continue.
The mailboxes were reportedly taped off after the inspector’s visit Tuesday morning, which was witnessed by an ARLnow editor. A sign said the mailboxes were “out of order.”
A Nextdoor post about it quickly garnered numerous replies.
“Too many problems with mail being stolen!” said one reply. “This has been going on for years, and I’m glad they’ve finally closed the boxes.”
“NEVER use the George Mason Post Office,” said another. “They’ve been riddled with problems for a long time.”
“As others have said, there has been mail theft there (particularly with the drop box) for nearly a year,” said yet another. “I am happy they finally closed off the box because I still see reports here about mail theft 9 months after our outgoing mail was stolen.”
Other complaints about the post office in the thread — and in dozens of replies to a similar Nextdoor post from July — include missing and undelivered mail.
ARLnow is aware of at least three reports of mail stolen from the boxes outside the post office at 2200 N. George Mason Drive, which serves the 22207 zip code, over the past year or so.
In one case, a tipster said he or she had a thief attempt to cash or deposit more than $35,000 in checks from a business account, though the fraud was caught by the bank before losses were incurred. The incident happened after business mail was dropped off at one of the mailboxes outside.
On Nextdoor, another resident said a thief “took $5,000 out of my IRA account” by altering a $100 check written to a charity, which was deposited “in one of the two drive-by mailboxes outside the post office on George Mason Drive.”
Yet another Nextdoor poster said he also had a check “diverted from this post office… that someone forged and attempted to cash.”
Other residents complained about a lack of information about what’s going on, despite numerous complaints filed with the U.S. Postal Service and Arlington County.
“As far as I know, there has been no communication to the public, which I personally find ethically negligent,” said one resident.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service did not respond to an inquiry from ARLnow in January. Contacted again this week for more information, a spokesman would only confirm that ARLnow’s photo depicted a postal inspection officer at work.
“I can confirm the individual in the photograph is a US Postal Inspector, working hard to ensure the safety of the US Mail,” Michael Martel, Public Information Officer for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, wrote. “Postal Inspectors have access to USPS infrastructure for a variety of reasons including preventative security measures and during the course of an investigation.”
“If anyone suspects their mail has been stolen, or see suspicious activity near a Post Office or blue collection box, they can report it to Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455,” Martel added.
A flyer with mail security tips, provided by Martel, advises postal customers to “use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier,” and to “pick up your mail promptly after delivery… don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight.”
Residents on Nextdoor said even employees of the post office appeared to be in the dark this week.
“When I went in to ask what’s going on, my favorite clerk… was very frustrated and said they were not getting answers themselves,” said one resident.
“Something’s rotten in Denmark at the George Mason Post Office,” said another.
Amid a national protest movement calling for police reform, the Arlington County Police Department launched an effort to consider ways to further restrict public access to law enforcement radio communications.
Unlike D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, which encrypts all but one channel, Arlington’s police channels have been mostly open to public monitoring — by those with scanners or smartphone apps — with the exception of some devoted to sensitive operations. That may be about to change.
“A radio workgroup has been established to review our current practices to ensure they are aligned with procedures that protect the privacy of involved parties, ensure the integrity of operations and investigations, and reduce the unintentional disclosure of tactical information,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. The workgroup started its work in June.
“We regularly review our technology needs and the workgroup has been reviewing radio practices for about a month,” she said last week.
The workgroup’s existence had not been previously reported. The revelation comes after ARLnow — which monitors police and fire department frequencies — noticed several weeks ago that we were no longer able to hear radio traffic on ACPD 1B, a commonly-used channel.
Savage said that 1B has been encrypted “for years,” so it’s not clear how ARLnow had been previously able to monitor it with consumer radio equipment. Typical communications on the channel included brief updates on minor police incidents from officers in the field to supervisors.
ACPD 1A, the main police dispatch channel, is unencrypted, as is 1C, a channel typically used by officers to communicate with one another during more significant incidents.
In a statement sent to ARLnow, County Manager Mark Schwartz said that 1A will likely to remain open, but said “no final decisions have been made” about secondary channels.
We encrypt some secondary public safety radio communications to maintain the integrity of the investigation, ensure we don’t unintentionally share tactical information, and safeguard the privacy of those involved (including name, social security number, birth date, etc.). We regularly review our technology needs and practices to align with best practices. There is a regional plan to encrypt public safety (police, fire, EMS) operating channels. Several agencies in the region have already implemented encryption and everyone is moving in that direction. This review is unrelated to any current events involving law enforcement.
There is no plan to limit public access to the Police Department’s primary radio channel, 1A, where calls for service are dispatched to officers. Our Police Department remains committed to transparency and shares information related to criminal incidents through the Daily Crime Report, Online Crime Map, Open Data Portal and press releases. We also use Arlington Alert to provide emergency notifications in the event of a public safety threat to the community. The work group is evaluating which, if any, additional secondary channels may be encrypted; however, no final decisions have been made.
Late last year, Arlington County started disabling public traffic camera feeds during routine crashes and other incidents, similarly citing privacy concerns.
Scanners are mostly used by media outlets and hobbyists. While dispatch channels are useful for alerting media to significant incidents, it’s harder to suss out the routine incidents that may have news value without hearing updates from officers on scene via secondary channels. Also lost are things like road closures and small details that can be a jumping off point for other reporting.
ARLnow broke the story of ACPD officers assisting Park Police near the White House, for instance, in part because of scanner activity.
Concerns about operational security and personal privacy due to open police channels are addressed, at least in part, by current practices. ACPD currently has secure channels that cannot be monitored, private messages are often sent via the mobile computer system in every police cruiser, and officers will routinely arrange cell phone calls to relay sensitive information that is best not transmitted over the public airwaves.
ARLnow is not aware of any incident over the past 10 years in which a police operation in Arlington was disrupted as a result of someone using a police scanner.
Most people arrested in Arlington are Black and most do not reside in Arlington.
That’s according to 2019 arrest data shared by the Arlington County Police Department, at the request of ARLnow and a local community group. Its release follows calls for police reform and nationwide protests over the deaths of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement.
ACPD officers arrested 3,613 people in 2019, according to the data, and just over half were Black. Only 35.8% of those arrested live in Arlington.
The data provided says 45% of arrestees were white, but that includes those most of the 19.6% of arrestees identified as Latino. (Latino is considered an ethnicity while Black, white, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaskan Native are classified as races in the ACPD data.)
According to the latest Census estimates, 61.4% of Arlington’s population is non-Hispanic white, 15.6% is Hispanic/Latino, 11.1% is Asian/Pacific Islander, 9.7% is Black, just under 3.6% is multiracial and 0.6% is Indigenous.
More on the ACPD arrest data, from a report that accompanied it:
Of the 3,613 arrestees, 1,830 were identified as Black (50.7%) and 1,625 (45.0%) were identified as White. Those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islanders 118 arrests (3.3%), American Indian/Alaskan Native 3 arrests (0.1%) and Other/Unknown/Blank Race 37 arrests (1.0%) made up the remainder. Ethnicity of persons are recorded separately from race. Arrestees identified as Hispanic/Latino ethnicity accounted for 708 arrests, 19.6% of total arrests.
Most arrestees (64.2%) did not identify Arlington as their residence. There was some disparity in the Arlington-resident status of arrestees across racial groups. American Indian/Alaskan Natives individuals (66.7%) were the most likely to be an Arlington resident, then Asian individual arrestees (52.5%), followed by White individuals (43.8%), then Black individuals (27.2%). Unknown race individuals were listed as Arlington residents 56.8% of the time. […]
Most arrestees were either 18-25 years old (26.7%) or 26-35 years old (31.4%). The remaining arrestee age cohorts of 36-45 (16.0%) , 46-55 (10.0%), 12-17 (8.3%) and 56+ years old (7.5%) combined for fewer than 50% of total arrestees. When age cohorts were grouped by race, they tended to closely resemble overall racial arrest distribution, with the exception of juvenile arrests. Of total arrested individuals ages 12-17, 61.0% were Black individuals and 36.7% were White individuals, compared to 50.7% and 45.0% across all ages
In a recent Williamsburg Yorktown Daily article about the disproportionate number of Black arrestees in that part of Virginia, a director of the state chapter of the ACLU quotes an unnamed former Arlington commonwealth’s attorney in explaining the county’s disproportionate arrest statistics as largely a function of the residency of those arrested.
Jenny Glass, director of advocacy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia… said the previous commonwealth’s attorney in Arlington County gave a similar explanation when Glass noticed 60 percent of the arrests were black people even though they made up around 10 percent of the population.
“I was looking into if there was any validity why the jail in Arlington County had such a disparate [number] of Black people in it,” Glass said.
“It’s because we arrest a lot of people in D.C.,” Glass said was what the former commonwealth’s attorney told her.
The ACPD report similarly suggests that when residency is separated out, the racial disparities are not as stark. However, even among Arlington residents, the proportion of Black arrestees is still about four times higher than that of the population.
“A comparison of Arlington arrest data to Arlington demographic data is problematic because Arlington-residents only made up 35.8% of ACPD arrests in 2019,” the report says. “If we only examine Arlington-resident arrests – 55% were White individuals, 38.5% were Black individuals, 4.8% were identified as Asian/Pacific Islander, 1.6% were identified as Other/Unknown/Blank race, and 0.2% were American Indian/Alaskan Native individuals.”
Meanwhile, Arlington officers wrote 38,766 non-parking citations in 2019 and the demographics of those receiving citations is more in line with the county’s population.
“Total traffic citations and warnings given to Arlington residents (28.5% of total citations/warnings) closely resemble the racial demography of Arlington,” the ACPD report says. “76.2% of traffic summons/warnings were issued to White residents, 14.2% to Black residents, 5.9% to Asian residents, 3.6% to Other/Unknown residents, and 0.1% to American Indian/Alaskan Native residents.”
The report adds that white and non-white drivers were equally likely to get off on just a warning during a traffic stop.
“Residents were slightly more likely to get a Traffic VUS Warning citation (23.0%) than non-residents (20.4%),” the report said. “Individuals identified as White and individuals identified as non-White received warning citations at virtually the same rate – 21.1% for drivers identified as White, 21.2% for drivers identified as non-White.”
Local criminal justice reform advocates have called for Arlington Police Chief M. Jay Farr, who is retiring at the end of the year, to be replaced by a new chief “who is committed to justice system transformation, eliminating bias, and implementing new methods of policing.”
Farr wrote a letter to the Arlington community to accompany the release of the arrest data. The full letter is below.
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey says he should have, upon reflection, informed the community about his personal bankruptcy filing before November’s election.
The Post reported in November that Dorsey, 48, “filed for bankruptcy last month after falling behind on his mortgage and accruing tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.” The paper noted that the bankruptcy filing came as Dorsey’s South Arlington home was facing possible foreclosure and as his wife dealt with health problems.
Questions have arose in the wake of the bankruptcy revelation. For one, given that the filing was made on Oct. 16, should voters have been informed prior to the Nov. 5 election?
Dorsey tells ARLnow that he now regrets not letting people know despite how personal the issue is for him and his family.
“In retrospect, I should have had a conversation with the community, no matter how difficult, when I filed for bankruptcy in mid-October,” Dorsey said via email Thursday evening. “I do believe, however, that I will demonstrate over the next four years that those who voted for me did not make a mistake.”
Dorsey was also asked about an assertion made by the bankruptcy trustee that he had not submitted his previous year’s state income tax return. Dorsey contended that he did, in fact, file his state taxes.
“I filed, yet I discovered at my bankruptcy hearing that the Commonwealth has no record,” he said. “I have resubmitted my 2017 filing.”
(By law, Virginia’s state tax office is prohibited “from providing information or commenting on specific taxpayer situations,” a spokeswoman said.)
Court documents show that Dorsey expects $5,000/mo in “other income” besides his annual County Board salary of just over $60,000. The bankruptcy trustee objected to that, writing that the $5,000/mo figure “has not been documented or verified.” Dorsey says that income comes from consulting work.
“I do policy and communications consulting,” he said. “I am not comfortable talking about my clients within the context of your article, but attest that they are exclusively 501(c)3 non-profits, political non-profits, philanthropic foundations and universities.”
“None are foreign entities,” Dorsey added. “None do business with Arlington County. None have given to my political campaigns.”
Dorsey’s most recent conflict of interest form filed with the Clerk of the County Board discloses outside work with a pair of firms that paid him more than $5,000 annually: KNP Communications and Upswing Strategies, both in D.C.
Though serving on the Arlington County Board is ostensibly a part-time job, Dorsey’s work for Arlington extends beyond the County Board dais to representation on a number of regional bodies. Dorsey serves on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board, is a commissioner on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) and represents Arlington on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG).
Developer JBG Smith may be planning to let people sip alcohol as they browse shops and sit outdoors in shopping areas near Amazon’s future headquarters in Pentagon City and Crystal City.
State records with the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Authority Control Authority indicate that the developer applied for a “Commercial Lifestyle Center” license this week. The special license is part of a 2018 law allowing shoppers to bring alcoholic beverages into shops or outdoor plazas to encourage consumers to stay longer and attend outdoor events.
Under the new law, shopping centers can apply for a license provided they have at least 100,000 square feet of retail space and demonstrate they can police the area, as reported by the Washington Business Journal. The law also requires the application come from an association of businesses in a shopping area, not a single business on its own.
JBG Smith applied for the license via a newly-created organization called National Landing Business Owners Association Inc., which listed a phone number in the application matching JBG Smith’s Chevy Chase office.
A spokeswoman for the developer declined to comment when reached yesterday (Tuesday.)
The Association was formed in June by an attorney from the Arlington-based law firm Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, which represents JBG Smith on several projects, including the two towers they’re building at Amazon’s Metropolitan Park headquarters.
One place in the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard area — dubbed “National Landing” — at which the developer could use the license would be its Crystal Square project. The project aims to redevelop the block of Crystal Drive into a “retail hub” between 15th Street S. and 18th Street S.
JBG Smith has called for adding new retailers like an Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, a grocery store, and an outdoor dining area to the block near the Crystal City Metro station.
Image via Gensler
There are 234 students in Arlington Public Schools who have been granted an exemption from the state’s vaccine requirements for schools, according to APS officials.
“We would need more time to investigate this thoroughly, however I believe it’s best attributed to the increase in student enrollment and how we’re capturing the data,” said Catherine Ashby, the Director of Communications for APS, in an email to ARLnow.
According to Virginia law, a family can request their child skip mandated vaccinations for valid medical or religious reasons.
“We are constantly communicating with APS so they can communicate with families,” said School Health Bureau (SHB) Chief Sarah N. Bell in a press release for the new school year. “What we don’t want is for any child to be excluded on the first day of school.”
The bureau collaborated with APS officials to check whether students are up to date on their vaccinations by the start of the school year.
This school year, Ashby said APS had 100% compliance for TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccines by the first day of school among the families who did not request an exemption. This is an improvement from the group of around 30 students who did not have their TDAP vaccinations up to date by the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.
Debates around childhood vaccination exemptions came into the spotlight this year due to the onslaught of measles outbreaks. From January to September 5 the CDC confirmed 1,241 individual cases of measles, a disease once considered eradicated, across 31 states.
A July investigation from ABC 7 revealed 8,000 students who live and go to school in D.C. — whether public, private, charter, or parochial — do not meet proper vaccination requirements.
In Maryland, the rate of unvaccinated kindergarteners has nearly doubled over the last decade.
Arlington’s one-time Congressional candidate Gwendolyn Beck reportedly flew on notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s private jets, and was photographed partying with him and Prince Andrew.
Two British newspapers reported on the revelations last week, focusing on the prince’s association but also mentioning Beck. The 2014 independent candidate for Virginia’s 8th Congressional district told ARLnow today that her name is being “dragged into this” despite not doing anything wrong.
The Guardian reported last week that new flight logs indicate that Andrew flew on Epstein’s private jet with Beck in 1999, around the time Beck has said she managed about $65 million of the billionaire’s investment funds for Morgan Stanley. Beck flew with Epstein on his jet multiple times in the late nineties, logs show, including with former Treasury secretary and Harvard president Larry Summers.
Women have accused Epstein of using his Boeing 727 — nicknamed the “Lolita Express” — to traffic underage girls in New York, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Investigators recently subpoenaed his personal pilots to in connection to the accusations.
Logs have shown passengers over the years included world leaders like President Trump and Bill Clinton, but have not indicated passengers took part in the crimes with which Epstein was charged. Epstein died in a Manhattan jail cell last month; his death was ruled a suicide.
Beck was also captured in a photo from 2000 shared by the Daily Mirror, which was taken at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida; it shows Beck smiling standing in a circle with Epstein, Andrew, and now-First Lady Melania Trump (then Melania Knauss).
Beck reiterated the prince’s public denials of wrongdoing in Epstein’s company.
“Prince Andrew has a delightful personality and is a total gentleman,” she told ARLnow in a brief phone interview Tuesday morning. “I firmly agree with the statements he has made publicly.”
Beck was listed in Epstein’s “black book” under a “Massage — Florida” heading, as reported by The Smoking Gun in 2015. The book also contained the contact information for wealthy businessmen and underage victims who said they were forced to provide naked massages for Epstein and his friends.
Beck told the Smoking Gun at the time that she had received “a couple of massages” at Epstein’s home from a masseuse, but had never given any herself or spotted underage girls.
“I’m just sorry that I got dragged into all this,” Beck told ARLnow today of her association with Epstein, adding that she was “at a lack of words.”
In addition to being a VIP at his home and on his private jet, Beck was also the first candidate to accept political contributions from Epstein — as reported by ARLnow in 2015 — after he was forced to register as a sex offender in 2008 for soliciting sex from a minor.
Epstein donated a total of $12,600 to help Beck’s 2014 campaign. The money made up about half of her eventual warchest against incumbent Rep. Don Beyer who won the November general election that year with 63% of the vote compared to Beck’s 2.7% of the vote.
“I thought that Jeffrey was healed, I don’t know,” Beck told ARLnow today.
(Updated at 2 p.m.) Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is assessing damage to two dozen different buildings on the base caused by last month’s disastrous flooding, per a spokesperson.
“The base is still assessing the damage sustained during the flooding and is working on a report to be forwarded to our higher headquarters at the Army’s Installation Management Command,” said JBMHH Spokeswoman Leah Rubalcaba.
“There were a total of 26 facilities across our three bases of Fort Myer, Henderson Hall and Fort McNair that sustained water damage,” Rubalcaba told ARLnow in an email yesterday (Thursday.) “Military organizations do not have insurance, but are allotted an annual budget for operations and maintenance. Then, based on the final assessment and funding availability, additional funds will be forwarded to JBM-HH for repairs.”
She said the base has had to move events, like a recent job fair, into the basketball court because the community center is currently unusable.
“Somehow water got under the flooring and the floor buckled so nobody can walk on it,” she said.
Additionally, one bus from Marine Corps Base Quantico was parked in the lower lot by Henderson Hall — part of the headquarters of the U.S. Marine Corps — when rain flooded the area, damaging the bus along with four cars and a forklift.
The Henderson Hall parking lot, dubbed the “lower flood lot,” is prone to flooding because of the landscape’s natural drainage. But in her 15 years of working on the base, Rubalcaba said she’s never seen flooding as high as during the storm on July 8.
“We know we’re going to get a little bit of rain there. But usually like an inch,” she said. “That’s why we don’t build anything there. People know that’s what happens and they stay away from it.”
The unusually strong storm last month dumped 3-4 inches of water in an hour on Arlington. Roads, businesses and homes across the county were inundated with water and sewage with one stream swallowed whole by a broken pipe.
Countywide, the storm wrought an estimated $4 million in damages to publicly-owned property alone.
“We’re hoping to get some extra funding just to get everything repaired,” said Rubalcaba.