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6 months after explosion, Greenwood marks bittersweet milestone

Crews respond to explosion in Greenwood neighborhood (KOMO Photo)

SEATTLE -- The Phinney Neighborhood Association planned a party for the people of Greenwood Friday, marking six months since an explosion leveled three businesses and damaged 50 others in the heart of the neighborhood.

Meanwhile several businesses are still shut down, and others are just getting back up and running.

"It's great to be home," said Teri Hein. Just this week, Hein reopened her tutoring center, the Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas, as well as their gift shop, the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co.

"There have been some pretty wonderful things that have happened," Hein said, referring to the support from community members as they relocated and rebuilt. Finally they are back in their original home on Greenwood Ave, just in time for school.

Several businesses are still shut down or temporarily relocated. Insurrection, located next to the now empty lot where the explosion started, still hasn't reopened. Their staff tells KOMO they're operating online as they figure out the next step. Some businesses are still working with insurance companies and haven't finalized a timeline for a return.

Meanwhile, the Phinney Neighborhood Association has spearheaded a fund-raising campaign during the past six months, raising $327,900 as of Friday. They recognize those funds are a drop in the bucket given the early estimate of $3 million of damage caused by the blast.

Their "Phoenix Party" Friday was not intended to be a fundraiser, but rather a celebration of the effort from community members during the past six months.

"Everyone has realized that our resiliency isn't based off your own inherent talent or wealth but the connections you have with the people around you," Phinney Neighborhood Association Development Director Jeff Cornejo said.

There's a long way to go, but several businesses have made gestures showing their desire to serve the community in this tough time. Early this summer, Mr. Gyros began parking a food truck in the lot where their storefront was leveled by the blast.

They say they hope to return in full one day, but for now they're happy to feed Greenwood in whatever way possible.

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