Thursday, October 9, 2008

Portland Landslide Splinters Home and Endangers Neighborhood

On October 8, 2008 a fast-moving landslide destroyed a home and severely damaged several others in a southwest Portland West Hills neighborhood.

Bill Burns, an engineering geologist for the state, said that the Burlingame slide was likely caused by a combination of water in the soil, unstable ground, and the steep slope the house was erected on. " Geologists say home slide caused by multiple factors"

On October 10 Portland's Bureau of Development Services sent notices to neighborhood residents stating that they had one week to stabilize the hillside, install temporary erosion and sediment control measures, and obtain demolition/repair permits or face a fine of $1,000 a day, plus fees. "SW Portland neighbors still shaken, stewing over landslide"

When this information was made public the city decided to assume responsibility for emergency repairs. "Crews cover SW Portland house slide lot just in time"

History of Portland Landslides

In early February 1996 the Portland metropolitan area was devastated by landslides after a combination of snow-rain events. Geologists found that the West Hills Soil Province suffered hundreds of slope failures. The soil sediments, which cover the area, are stable when dry but are dangerous when saturated.

After the 1996 disasters the state acted to publicize unsafe residential areas. The West Hills home on 6438 SW Burlingame Place is classified at risk of landslides, wildfires, and earthquakes.

Western North Carolina Mountain Real Estate: No Fair Warning of Landslides and Unstable Soils

In September 2004 storm remnants blanketed the mountain slopes of Western North Carolina. The rain-precipitated landslides caused loss of life in the Peeks Creek avalanche and extensive property damage in a 15 county area. Today state and local governments neglect to warn residents and prospective buyers of the region's significant land risks.

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