Authorities keep watch on unstable Whidbey Island bluff near homes [**GALLERY**]

  • By Doug Esser The Associated Press
  • Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:01am
  • News
The scene

The scene

By Doug Esser

The Associated Press

COUPEVILLE — Residents of a hillside overlooking Admiralty Inlet heard the thunder of a landslide that knocked one home off its foundation and isolated or threatened more than two dozen others on Whidbey Island early Wednesday.

At least 22 homes have been evacuated and more are threatened, Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said, adding that the soil in the area still appeared unstable as dusk fell Wednesday.

A man who escaped from the damaged home was evacuated by rescuers in an all-terrain vehicle, Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Ed Hartin said.

Many of the homes — located directly across the Inlet from Fort Flagler State Park on Marrowstone Island — are summer cabins or weekend getaways and were unoccupied.

Eleven people from 16 homes along a road close to the water were evacuated by boat because the road was blocked by the landslide, he said.

An additional 20 to 25 people were evacuated from 17 homes along a road higher up the hill that is being undermined by the slide.

Land is falling away just 10 feet from one home.

No one was injured when the slide broke loose about 4 a.m. in the Ledgewood community just south of the Keystone dock for the ferry from Port Townsend.

One person was taken to a hospital with a condition unrelated to the slide.

The cause of the slide is unknown.

Residents who heard the slide described it as sounding like thunder.

“It was a mix of rumbling and snapping trees,” Hartin said. “We were hearing the same thing when we arrived.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the slide still showed signs of movement, Hartin said.

“It’s possible more homes could be lost. We’re trying to ensure the safety and awareness of people,” Hartin said.

“There’s not anything we can do to stop the movement of the ground.”

The slide area extends about 400 to 500 yards across the hillside and down 600 or 700 yards to the water, Hartin said.

A geotechnical expert was being brought in to assess the slide and the danger to homes.

If the bluff stabilizes, some people might be allowed to return. But others have homes that are now unreachable.

________

KOMO News, the PDN’s Seattle news partner, contributed to this report.

More in News

Volunteers work to construct the main play structure of the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles on Sunday, the last day of a five-day community build to replace play equipment destroyed by arson in December. The playground, built entirely with donated labor, will be substantially complete with primarily detail work and play surface installation still to come. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Finishing touches

Volunteers work to construct the main play structure of the Dream Playground… Continue reading

Seabrook CEO Casey Roloff talks with community members about a planned 500- to 600-home development near Sequim Bay on April 23 at John Wayne Marina. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Sequim site could include 600 homes

Developer eyeing property near John Wayne Marina

Wait times at Olympic Medical Center emergency department improving, board told

Hospital aims to see patients within 30 minutes of arrival

Clallam to develop Salt Creek campsites for trail

Estimated development cost is $15,000 with annual maintenance at $1,500

Sarge’s Veteran Support house managers, from left, Danny Deckert, David Durnford and Steve Elmelund welcome attendees to the organization’s first fundraiser at the Dungeness River Nature Center on April 27. The event raised nearly $50,000. (Sarge’s Veteran Support)
Sarge’s Veterans Support gets nearly $49K in first fundraiser

More than 100 attend event at Dungeness River Nature Center

Sequim schools looking at options with budget struggles

District freezes most hiring, aims to cut at least $2.5 million

Gary Reidel, representing Wilder Toyota, plucks the winning duck from a truck. Wilder sponsored the winners prize of a 2024 Toyota Corolla. And the winner is Sarah Aten of Port Angeles. Her response was, “That’s amazing, that’s amazing.” There was 28,764 ducks sold this year as of race day. The all-time high was back in 2008 when over 36,000 were sold. (Dave Logan/For Peninsula Daily News)
Thirty-five winners announced in Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Pluck

Fundraising record set for Olympic Medical Center Foundation

Sewer project starting in west Port Angeles

Work crews from Scarsella Brothers, Inc., will resume construction… Continue reading

Port Angeles City Council to conduct special meeting

The Port Angeles city council will conduct a workshop… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

Port Angeles Fire Department community paramedic Brian Gerdes flips pancakes during Saturday’s annual breakfast on Saturday at the fire hall. The event, hosted by the fire department and auxiliary, was a fundraiser for department scholarships and relief baskets. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Pancake fundraiser in Port Angeles

Port Angeles Fire Department community paramedic Brian Gerdes flips pancakes during Saturday’s… Continue reading

Work begins on sewer project

Intermittent closures planned in Port Hadlock