Skip to main content

Sound / Loma Prieta Oral History of Ken Hallis

Have a question about this item?

Item information. View source record on contributor's website.

Loma Prieta Oral History of Ken Hallis
Alternative Title
Caltrans Earthquake History of Ken Hallis
Loma Prieta Oral History Project
Morton, Charles Ingalls III
Hallis, Ken
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
California Revealed from California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
Rights Information
Copyrighted. Rights are owned by California Department of Transportation. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Rights Holder and Contact
California Department of Transportation
Date of Copyright
In the wake of the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, Caltrans commissioned an oral history project to document the personal and professional experiences of Caltrans employees who worked to restore the State's damaged transportation system. At the time of the earthquake Ken Hallis, was an Associate Bridge Engineer at Richmond, CA. He was on loan from Caltrans District 2 in Redding and had little experience with the Bay Area. When the earthquake happened he still was at work, at his desk on the computer and he looked out the window and noticed a Pacific Bell telephone truck with its wheels off the ground and that’s when he told his coworkers to get underneath their desks as he watched the floor of their building move. After the shaking stopped, Hallis went to Safeway to grab a sandwich, because his office didn’t have a radio. While he was at Safeway, he heard about the Bay Bridge collapse and he saw smoke in the Oakland area. He then arrived back at the office and heard about the 880 collapse and used his radio to contact Sacramento Structures Maintenance, to offer his assistance. After the conversation, Hallis and Rob Salaber went an inspected the Carquinez and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridges that night. On the eighteenth, he came to work, reported what he had seen and then was asked to go to the Cypress structure and erect shoring. Hallis had to design the shoring and supervise the crews. Hallis describes what it was like to work with the contractors, media, and first responders at the Cypress. His crews used hoe-rams to remove the railings on the lower deck of the Cypress structure so the army could inspect to see if there were any vehicles. He describes the earthquake damage that he saw at the Cypress as well.
California Audiovisual Preservation Project
Audio cassette
Oral histories
1 Tape of 1
Earthquakes--California--Loma Prieta
Loma Prieta Earthquake, Calif., 1989
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
California Revealed is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

About the collections in Calisphere

Learn more about the collections in Calisphere. View our statement on digital primary resources.

Copyright, permissions, and use

If you're wondering about permissions and what you can do with this item, a good starting point is the "rights information" on this page. See our terms of use for more tips.

Share your story

Has Calisphere helped you advance your research, complete a project, or find something meaningful? We'd love to hear about it; please send us a message.

Explore related content on Calisphere: