The Pinewood Stairs Pintrest Fail

Readers here will be familiar with the Pine Wood… excuse me, the Exercise Stairs, that were thrown up at Hillcrest Park recently for the low-low price of over $1.6Million.

Let us take a tour of these stairs:

After walking the stairs here’s the first thing that came to mind:

This is one of those “Know Your Memes” moments. The above example is a famous photo from a typical type of #Fail knows as “Nailed It” where you try to do something that a professional clearly did right and just, well, fail.

That’s what must have happened with the Pine Wood Stairs. I can come up with no better explanation.

The worst part of the tragic fail that is the “Exercise Stairs” is that we paid professionals for this atrocity. At least normal “Nailed It” fails are done by amateurs aspiring to mimic the awesome that is clearly professional. Here we paid self-professed professionals in the city to allow self-professed professionals in design and construction to build us something of such quality that an amateur should be ashamed.

Allow me to demonstrate how bad this #FAIL really is with photos considering that these stairs are open to the public and are being ever so slightly used.

First let’s look at the safety up top:

Why is there a gap between the stairs and the fencing to keep people from falling down the hill? Each set of stairs up top has this gap on one side and zero fencing on the opposite side for no apparent reason. Why does this fence not run the whole length of the edge of this particular hill? Is it only okay if people fall in a specific area? Does the gap make the fall safer?

The fencing isn’t exactly a model of proper safety itself:

Why are these cables just exposed for people to run their hands along and into?

The same type of cabling runs down every set of stairs and if we follow the cabling down the stairs we can see more of this sort of shoddy work. In about 6 different areas by my quick count (only using 2 of the 4 staircases to nowhere) I found uncapped ends of wires protruding through the wood.

Unfinished because?

Those two examples are not alone as there are several more like them. This is what we paid “professionals” to complete and what the city apparently signed off on as being A-Okay and good enough for government work.

When the cables ARE capped properly this is how they look in several sections:

Some are flush, some are rushed. I guess measuring things properly would have pushed this project over budget? What possible excuse is there for this level of shoddy?

One good thing is that the contractor used quality wood:

Okay, so the wood isn’t of high quality and is chipping and cracking in several areas literally 3 days after the “Grand Opening”. But hey at least it’s treated properly so it won’t immediately start to mold and rot:

Alright, so some it might already have some mold growing on it. It’s not all over… yet. That’s good I suppose.

I tried to find some positive with the construction of this project and I think I figured it out.

I’m positive the city knew that tagging would happen so they’d put up cameras or at least know to use material that would be resistant to tagging. Seriously the benches and tables at the top of these stairs are ALWAYS tagged so the city wouldn’t be so stupid as to leave these unmonitored and thus an easy target:


Well then. I suppose those warning signs about police watching the park aren’t exactly… accurate.

There was zero chance these stairs wouldn’t be tagged immediately. Zero. As I mentioned the benches at the top of these stairs are ALWAYS tagged and this is a go-to-place for illegal drinking and drug use. There are countless beer bottle caps on the ground littering this area which goes to show how well this area is cleaned and maintained.

Speaking of cleaning and maintenance I would like to show the care with which the contractor and city took to dispose of the refuse from the project:

This pile of garbage is just sitting in the park between stair levels. How do I know it’s from this construction? Because those pipes are stamped with the exact same “Made in Korea Hyundai” marks as are on the railings on all of the stairs. See the metal brackets on the top left? Same as the supports holding the railing to the steps.

Who knows. Maybe the city/contractor left this pile of rubbish so the city would know where to put the rest of the stairs in short order.

The more one looks at this project the more it just looks like a DIY project gone wrong and hence the “Nailed It” meme up above.

An important thing to remember is that the only net positive that we Fullertonians get from all of the High-Density developments around town is what’s called the “Park Dwelling Fee”. That’s a fee that developers pay per unit to build here. That money is earmarked essentially for Parks and THIS is how the city is spending it. On DIY-Quality projects that are falling apart within days of being opened.

Don’t like all of the high-density? Add this insult to that injury.

46 Replies to “The Pinewood Stairs Pintrest Fail”

  1. I do like the idea of improving the park, especially one with high viability. Many moons ago Hillcrest Park is where our Indian Guide experience started. So for a lot of us we understand the value and potential use of this park. However, everything that’s been pointed out in this msg and a previous one is VERY sad. Unfortunately, the work is just plain sloppy….and as pointed out, has real safety issues. Where the heck was the supervision on this project? If there was any supervision and inspections, this wouldn’t have happened. I’d be ok with the money being spent if it was built with integrity. But I’m afraid the blatant areas that have been pointed out, show that we got screwed by the contractor. What a shame. The City needs to demand these areas are rectified before we get hit with another lawsuit.

    1. Sloopy? Yes, that’s a given. The City can’t build anything right. Even worse, Griffin Structures, a big donor to Fitzgerald, actually got paid to manage this pile of rotting wood.

      Worse still is the fact that this money might have gone to re-forestation immediately. It’s a complete waste.

      1. Griffin Structures needs to post their name on the crappy fence/stairs so it may serve as a warning not to hire these crappy arse contractors.
        Poor craftsmanship
        Poor quality lumber (cracked unusable except to sell to idiots so they could recoup donations )
        Poor quality inspector ( must be part time or a paper inspector )
        Aluminum post to narrow and low and close to edge, should have been offset 3 feet from edge lest it sloughs off by erosion etc.
        Fitzgerald should be accountable along with inspectors etc. who allowed this trash to pass, in fact those nimrods should make a fund for future litigation safety hazards/ accident. Instead of taxpayers paying for their fiscal irresponsibility (fkups) they need to place their own pay, homes, businesses etc. to offset cost.

  2. This project is no different than the ongoing work on State College Blvd where there is absolutely NO oversight by the city and the slipshod work by the contractors goes unchecked.
    All you need to do is drive in that area to see that no one is inspecting the “patch work” on the street surfaces.
    Where are the inspectors ?

  3. “A mother in a stroller, a dad with his daughter, kids running through the park, people exercising – all those people, just by being there, will discourage any illicit activity.”
    -Hugo Curiel

    I guess not.

  4. Hello, I am starting a movement to restore the beloved Hillcrest Park exercise stairs, which have fallen into disrepair over the past few weeks. The community must come together to save this valuable community resource and return the stairs to their former glory. Please visit our Facebook page to contribute.

    1. Perhaps we can recruit the services of former Councilwoman Jan Flory who approved these stairs all those long, long months ago.

      She would be more than happy to start a fundraising campaign with Gretch and SparkyFitz to restore this essential and historic part of Hillcrest park.

      1. You guys are ridiculous, these stairs are beyond help. Only new, identical stairs built right next to the existing ones will suffice.

  5. Bad design, bad workmanship. What else could one expect when you start out with a bad idea to begin with?

    Nice video work and narration. Thank you for posting this.

  6. As a machinist myself, I would get terminated in a heart beat if I were to turn in a job that looked like that. I think I’m going to show Fitzgerald pics of the poor ass craftsmanship our tax payer money paid for at this Saturday’s baseball game. Want to see what she tells me. I will report back

      1. Didn’t see her cause game today got canceled, but I will ask her. Her daughter plays t-ball with my nephew and her son played with my boy last yr.

  7. Notice that none of the support posts are centered on the concrete caissons? Griffin Structures just phoned it in.

  8. P.S. Those gaps between the cable fence on top of the shoring and the stair landings are extremely dangerous. That is a lawsuit just waiting to happen. How this escaped anybody’s notice is way, way beyond me.

  9. Wow. Your city council sure doesn’t act like the leaders of a town only a few years away from insolvency.

  10. Check their pockets…Felz..Fitz..Flory and whomever else might have had their slice of this pie?
    I am guessing that if asked..Fitz will say something like “if you don’t like the stairs..don’t use them”.

    1. Can I not pay for them, too?

      Don’t worry. The budget is balanced. The stairs are great. I can’t wait to award more contacts.

  11. I too think this project was a waste of money, but I found it interesting that so many people were using the stairs for exercise during the filming of your video.

      1. I’ve been to the stairs 3 times since it opened this past weekend and there are many people using them. Today around 6pm, there were at least 25 people including children exercising. It’s a great addition to the park.

        1. For me, the issue isn’t the use; it’s a pretty cool idea. It’s the shoddy construction, poor quality of materials, many safety issues. That’s the issue for me. It clearly lacked supervision or inspector oversight. I have hard time understanding that. I want peoplr to enjoy it…but at what risk?

          1. “it’s a pretty cool idea.”

            No, actually it reveals a complete lack of judgments and priorities by Felz and Fitzgerald. These stairs weren’t even a priority in Hillcrest, let alone for the whole city.

    1. So many? Three people total… I am not sure what your concept of “many” is. But for those that want to use the stairs should they not at least be… safe?

  12. But wait!…There’s more!! the bridge over the barranca from Harbor Blvd into the park…a bridge from nowhere…
    Can’t wait to see what a boondoggle that will be.

    1. speaking of bridges…. “Bridges of Kramer Place” shelter that Fullerton put money into, is now open for the homeless in Anaheim. Or is it a shelter? The idea behind “bridges” is more like a transition center and not a replacement for Fullerton’s Armory emergency shelter program. With the chain link fence on the inside it appears more like a processing center at a jail.

      1. It is a good idea for most homeless do not want to stay in a shelter and why have them go directly to a home if they will flake out. Make sure they clean up their bodies help them redirect or metal health care.

  13. Speaking of Bridges.. “Bridges at Kramer Place ” shelter is now open for the homeless in Anaheim which Fullerton payed into .They have a pickup location in Fullerton. Its more like transition center to house homeless but looks more like a processing center in a jail . I don’t understand all the chainlink fencing on the inside.

    1. I think it is a safety thing. Electrical panels, and enclosure because most of the people fear theft etc.
      they may also want to separate women and children from loonies.

  14. Notice the galvanized brackets that support the 4×4 s on the landing sections. On the first photo the 4×4’s hang from the brackets and are exposed. On the last photo of a landing section the 4×4’s are supported by the brackets going under the 4×4 and supporting it, not exposed. So??????? What’s going to happen when those 4×4’s embedded in the concrete get wet and swell? They are going to blow the side out of the cassions since there is only about an inch and a half of concrete holding them. (My prediction) How long will it take for those bolts to work loose with people running up and down the thing all day? Who’s cousin who had never built anything like this before actually did the work. Did he used to have a business renting big heavy bicycles that no one wanted to ride?

    1. “How long will it take for those bolts to work loose with people running up and down the thing all day?”

      Ha, trick question. There won’t be people running up and down this thing all day, but it will still fail prematurely, and by prematurely I mean not nearly soon enough.

  15. I dropped by today to take a look, and honestly, I kept thinking that if I had hired a contractor to build stairs for me, the workmanship would be unacceptable, I’d be hauling their keysters back to fix it or file a lawsuit. Seriously, if you haven’t seen them in person yet, you need to pay a visit and ask yourself if you would be happy with those results on your own property. When Joshua says that it looks like a do-it-yourself project, he hit the nail right on the head, which is something I doubt the builders of these stairs could do.

    1. “he hit the nail right on the head, which is something I doubt the builders of these stairs could do.”

      LOL, yes. The hammer missed the nail and hit SparkyFitz on the snout.

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