Pigeon problem returns to offices | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Pigeon problem returns to offices

Geoff Dornan
Tribune Capitol Bureau

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Lingering health complaints by employees have again forced the governor’s office to shut down the Insurance Division offices on Fairview.

The problem first surfaced more than a month ago when pigeons were discovered in the building’s ventilation system. But the chemical sprayed in the vents to drive the pigeons out only aggravated the problem, causing many of the 75 plus division employees to suffer respiratory problems.

Since then, the owner and contractors have installed new ductwork and an air handler and tried their best to clean any lingering irritants out of the building. The offices were closed for several days two weeks ago. But all those efforts met with limited success.

“We were continuing to get complaints from employees so, after talking to a doctor, reading reports from (employee) doctors and a hygienist, we just closed down the building,” said Robin Reedy, chief of staff to Gov. Jim Gibbons.

She said some employees were moved to other offices and the others are on paid administrative leave while new work space is found for them.

“I expect that within three weeks, everyone will be up and functioning,” she said.

Recommended Stories For You

She said the decision to close down again was made because, “we were losing work time.”

“People weren’t being as effective for good reason,” she said.

“We pulled out core people and put them in places where they can still function,” she said. “We’ve pretty much found a building. It’s just getting it ready for people to come in.”

She said completely emptying the Fairview building will also enable the owners to get it completely cleaned up and usable again.

Despite the complaints about chemicals and cleaners used, she said, the problem goes back to the birds.

“The hygienist seems to think it’s really more of the pigeon poop problem than what they used to get rid of the pigeons,” she said.

Reedy compared the problem to going up into an attic that hasn’t been used 20 years and stirring up a lot of dirt and dust cleaning it saying owners need the building completely empty – including employee personal items – to clean everything and fix the problem.