Landslide Video featured, March 23rd Annual Meeting

Landslide Video featured, March 23rd Annual Meeting

This week marks the second anniversary of the massive landslide in Oso, WA., which sent muddy debris spilling across the Stillaguamish River and tragically led to the deaths of 43 Washingtonians. That powerful mudslide, March 22, 2014, is thought to be the deadliest single landslide event in U.S. history.

The families of the victims and those who lost homes need no reminder of this devastating tragedy, but it’s become a continuing lesson for everyone living in the Puget Sound, where extraordinary rainfall, saturated ground, and downed trees can erode soil and hillsides especially. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, earlier this month, in fact, introduced a national bill to fund more federal research into landslides, arguing that these hazards receive too little attention relative to other hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes (view article here).

Holmes Point Overlay Landslide

Holmes Point Drive Mudslide

Finn Hill’s residents are among thousands at risk for future landslides in the Puget Sound. However, since half of Finn Hill lies within King County’s ‘slide zone,’ it’s of particular interest here on our steep shoreline slopes.

* In the wake of the Oso disaster, the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance in June 2014 sponsored a well-attended public event on the hazards of local landslides, which drew more than 120 people — and videotaped the presentation.

* We now have a short video focused on landslide hazards in our area to present to you. It addresses the potential risks of mudslides and landslides here on Finn Hill, drawing on that public program and more.

Oso mud slide

Oso mud slide

Why is this of significance to Finn Hill? In the two years since the tragedy, experts still argue about all the factors that led to the Oso landslide– be they past logging, extraordinary rainfall, relative erosion and steepness of slopes, natural geology and geological history. But no one can argue with the powerful damage landslides, big and small, can do.

The fact is, as University of Washington geologist Kathy Troost told our group a year and a half ago, much of the same geology exists here with potential dangers of unstable soil and landslides, though on a much smaller scale. “This isn’t some pointy-headed academic exercise but has real meaning here,” she said.

A history of local landslides here on Finn Hill prompted King County to enact the special Holmes Point Overlay ordinance in the 1990s, restricting development, to reduce erosion, after many slides had closed roads in the past. This winter, again, as has often happened, Holmes Point Drive was closed, due to downed trees and an unstable cliffside. A landslide, imperiling homes on Goat Hill in Juanita and its steep access road, closed Juanita Drive in 2010. That year, too, a mudslide broke out behind a home for sale on Holmes Point Drive.

Finn Hill shoreline areas are prone to flooding (photo by Alison Blanc Bard)

Finn Hill shoreline areas are prone to flooding (photo by Alison Blanc Bard)

The sobering anniversary of Oso is a reminder to all of us how important it is to learn about landslides and how we can prevent and minimize the dangers around us. This video, funded by 4Culture, King County’s arts & culture agency, and produced by FHNA with local video editor Barbara Travers, can hopefully help us all do that.

Finn Hill NA Landslide Video 12/29 from Barbara Travers YOLO Video, LLC on Vimeo.

2 Responses to “Landslide Video featured, March 23rd Annual Meeting”

  1. Nancy Rind says:

    62nd Ave NE in Kirkland has a road that is sinking just north of house number 13649. The City of Kirkland repeatedly refuses to repair or address. I am concerned that this is a potential indicator of slide sensitivity and don’t know how to get the city to act!

  2. Robin Rogers says:

    The Holmes Point Drive Mudslide photo shows the POTENTIAL lurking danger realized. After a big rain, the home at 13730 Holmes Point Drive (north end) was narrowly missed by the mudslide. The slide had originated west of 137th Street where it terminates well above the home on Holmes Point Drive. I lived at 13608 62nd Avenue NE at the time and shot that photo – not long after a “for sale” sign had been placed at the home. It presents a cautionary tale for any home that has building ABOVE it. Best to look UP to see the conditions above your home are in keeping with the recommendations in the video. Good job on the video!