ANACORTES, Wash. – The waterfront view Graham and Margaret Read were expecting when they bought their Anacortes home wasn't supposed to be in the backyard, but their backyard is now a bog.
The couple said for the past two years, the hillside between State Route 20 and their home has been sliding – to the point that it is now right up against their garage.
"Our home is essentially holding the highway up," said Graham.
They've actually dug out the space twice to keep the sliding earth from creeping onto the roof of their garage.
The couple believes SR 20 is failing and sending water flowing onto their property. They have photos of large cracks in the road and video of water gushing through their garage.
The Reads wonder whether the whole hillside could come down.
"We're very worried," said Margaret. "It's scary."
The couple hired a geo-tech firm to survey their land. It concluded "water is saturating the slope behind the house," but the Reads say the State Department of Transportation won't allow the surveyor onto state property to find out more.
The Reads also claim WSDOT refuses to release certain documents to their lawyer.
"There are 100 pages that they won't show us," said Margaret. "It tells me they're hiding something."
The couple states WSDOT initially told them the water was what's legally known as a "common enemy" and that it wasn't the agency's problem.
Contacted for comment this week, a Department of Transportation spokesperson would only say that the matter has now been referred to the Attorney General's office and that the department could not make any further comment.
With another wet winter looming on the horizon, the Reads worry how much more water their land can take.
"All it takes is one crack and there could be a catastrophic event," said Graham. "It could all come down."
"Or if the road gives way,” Margaret added, “one of those big trucks going back and forth to the refinery could end up in our backyard.”