When families in Everett’s Valley View neighborhood first started hearing their homes creak in the middle of the night, they thought it would be temporary.
But four years later, one home is completely destroyed, two others are crumbling and others may be next. They’ve now decided to take the city to court.
“You can’t just ignore it,” said Jay Himmelman. His home is feet away from what’s become a 10-foot cliff in his back yard. “I've turned the corner and I'm going after the city in what I think is a right and wrong issue.”
Damages are not only financial, he says, but emotional too.
“We are thinking of walking away from our home,” Himmelman said.
Himmelman and others hired private engineers to examine the ravine below their homes in an effort to prove the sliding is not natural. They are convinced the city is funneling more storm water into the ravine than it can handle, causing the deep-seated shift in the hillside.
According to Everett spokesperson Kate Reardon, there is nothing to show the slide is anything but a naturally occurring event. She said the city is very concerned about the safety of the neighborhood and engineers have kept a close watch on it for years.
The problem area, located in a culdesac on Burl Place off Panaview Boulevard, is blocked off to prevent anyone from getting close to the slide.
Rob and Margaret Lund have had to abandon the home they finished making payments on just five years ago.
“We are in a new place now with a new 30-year mortgage,” Rob said. “To be honest, we’re not losing as much sleep as we used to. Our biggest concern is our neighbors.”