Localized landslide raising concerns

January 12, 2009

By David Hayes

Patches of hillside above Southeast Black Nugget Road show pronounced signs of slippage Jan. 9 above the Fred Meyer store. To the right are the Hamptons Pointe Townhomes in the Issaquah Ridge neighborhood.By Greg FarrarPatches of hillside above Southeast Black Nugget Road show pronounced signs of slippage Jan. 9 above the Fred Meyer store. To the right are the Hamptons Pointe Townhomes in the Issaquah Ridge neighborhood. By Greg Farrar

Residents have expressed their concern about a section of hill that seems to be sliding down toward Black Nugget Road above the Fred Meyer department store.

Sheldon Lynne, deputy director of the city’s Public Works Engineering Department, said city officials have had their eye on the land for more than a year.

“It is basically a localized, small-scale landslide,” he said. “It started in January of 2008 and has been doing what we’ve anticipated — moving here and there based on the weather.

“We don’t expect an event where it all comes crashing down,” he added.

The land is private property owned by the nonprofit group Way Back Inn, which provides housing for homeless families with children. Officials with Way Back Inn could not be reached for comment for this story.

Lynne said city officials contacted the group last year about the encroaching hillside, saying anything that needs to be done to shore it up is Way Back Inn’s responsibility. The retaining wall and the roadway below belong to the city. 

Lynne said in the unlikely event that should the landslide snowball and spill over the retaining wall and into the roadway, city workers would respond to the immediate incident.

“We’d make sure the retaining wall was safe and the road was safe to use again,” he said. “Then, we’d have discussions with Way Back Inn about their responsibilities for reimbursing the city.”

Lynne said to ensure that scenario doesn’t happen, it’s Way Back Inn’s responsibility to contact private structural engineers to see if there is anything that needs to be done.

The section of hillside experiencing the landslide is far enough north so as not to have any affect on the nearby condominiums at Hampton’s Point on Issaquah Ridge.

Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext 237, or dhayes@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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