SEATTLE – Two raccoons climbed 150 feet up a tower crane in Ballard, creating a home behind the crane’s cab and temporarily bringing the giant machine to a halt.
The crane is being used to build a 304-unit apartment complex at 24th and Market. The building is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014.
A crane operator spotted the raccoons while ascending the tower early Wednesday. The general contractor, Rafn Company, quickly called experts, who unsuccessfully tried to catch the raccoons.
At one point a raccoon ran out on the jib, said Trent Kristjanson, who works at neighboring Limback Lumber Company.
“It was definitely big,” he said. “The thing was like a dog.”
Experts set humane traps with food to try to catch the raccoons. For now, the crane sits quietly, but other work continues on the construction site.
“This is the first time I’ve seen a raccoon in a tower crane,” said project superintendent John Kellberg.
Neighbors said large raccoons are a common sight in Ballard. Tanya Agha, who works at Western Fire and Safety, said she recently had a run-in with one raccoon in an alley outside of her work.
“It had me cornered in there for about three hours and I was too afraid to come out of there,” she said.
The Rafn Company hopes to catch the raccoons quickly and humanely, then resume using the crane. They said the project is already a few days ahead of schedule, so the delay should not set them back.