David Rosen
The Chinn Construction crane currently working on the LA Fitness/Apartment site in West Seattle is decorated for the holidays and affords an amazing view of West Seattle and beyond.

SLIDESHOW: The view from the top: Chinn Construction crane is decorated and provides a West Seattle vantage point

The 150 foot tall construction crane currently in place at the site of the construction of the L.A. Fitness and apartment building at the intersection of 39th S.W. Alaska Street S.W. and Fauntleroy Way S.W. is now decorated for the holidays. But it's also a remarkable vantage point to see around the area from a unique perspective.

The crane now sports two 16 foot tall "trees" of lights, a 7 foot in diameter Christmas wreath and two 12th Man LED signs for the Seahawks that are about 4 feet to a side.

Chinn Construction LLC, using lulls in the construction process, decorated the crane in stages finally completing the lighting process this week. James Casal, Superintendent of Chinn Construction LLC said, "The supplier of the operator and what we call a 'bell man' on the ground supplied by Garner Construction stepped up, supplied, and installed with our help all the Christmas lights, the wreath and the 12th man lit sign boards. There's another hoist on the crane that we use to haul the lunch up or a backpack with gear or we hook on to the crane itself with a long rope on it and he pulls it up. Then we take the lights and from the top, dangle them down the side. A guy then just works his way down attaching them to the tower. The boom has a catwalk on it and they walk along it with safety harnesses clipped on to a cable and install the white lights that go out the boom's edge. It's taken them a few days and we've got to keep running too."

The holiday lighting will stay up through new year's eve but the 12th man signboard will likely stay up much longer though, "everyone on the crew is after me to let them take it down and put it up at their house," he said laughing.

The construction project is expected to be complete by February, 2015 and will have 500 parking spaces, and 240 apartments in two buildings plus the L.A. Fitness Center.

By David Rosen

I was invited by Mr. Casal, to climb up to the top of the crane around 7am. I made sure I had my steel toe shoes on and a good pair of work gloves as well as a safety hard hat. I signed a waiver and then once on the crane, I slowly began my climb up a caged metal ladder straight up to 150+ feet. It was a good climb up and I stopped at every platform to check out the scenery for a brief moment but once I reached the very top platform where the crane's cab was, I was blown away by the spectacular view of West Seattle.

I have never done this before and to get this great opportunity was awesome. The crane operator named Vance Allred was super nice and had a lot of stories to tell me about his past projects he had worked on. I also can't forget Rich Olson who is a great and funny guy who helped hang the lights up on the crane. Overall I had the time of my life and I loved the views and photos that I got to take when I got up there. The morning started out cold and foggy but started to warm up and the fog started to clear by the late morning. You defintely get a good workout that's for sure, though it only took about 5 minutes in total to climb.

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