Seattle engineers warn of landslide danger


by MIMI JUNG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @MimiJungKING5

Posted on October 27, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 27 at 5:56 PM

SEATTLE - With the rainy season about to begin, the City of Seattle is warning homeowners about the threat of landslides.

And they're using Ann De Lancey and Nelson Fausto's Sunset Hill home as an example of preventative measures that can be taken.

The couple lives on a hillside above Golden Gardens Park.  After a landslide in 1996 wiped out their neighbor's yard, they began investing tens of thousands of dollars into supporting the home's foundation and stabilizing the hillside by installing retaining walls.

They also check their pipes for good drainage twice a year.

"Nelson turns on the water up here and it runs down the hill and when it finally reaches the railroad tracks I now cell phone him, I used to whistle when the water would hit the bottom," said De Lancey.

Geotechnical engineers with the city are urging homeowners to take steps now to protect their property.

"Property owners can go out and monitor their slopes. They can look to see if there are signs of cracking, if material is appearing to go down slope," said Rob McIntosh, landslide expert for the city of Seattle.

Residents are also advised to clear drains and take other simple measures, such as checking downspouts to make sure they are functioning and routed to a safe location and keeping yard waste off slopes.

The City of Seattle has set up two free public landslide awareness meetings to answer homeowners' questions.  The first meeting will be held at South Seattle Community College on Nov. 7 and at Northgate Community Center on Nov. 21.