New cracks in ground spotted on hill where slide damaged private road Feb. 6
MONROE – Snohomish County officials decided to err on the side of caution Thursday, determining that for now, at least one home may be unsafe to occupy near the scene of a landslide that severely damaged a private road Feb. 6.
The home is located at the base of a hill near the 26000 block of Ben Howard Road, east of Monroe. A slide on that hill last week damaged the lone private road that provides access to Skyview Estates, a neighborhood that is home to more than 100 people.
New cracks in the ground were spotted Wednesday on a separate area of the hillside. County building inspectors on Thursday afternoon determined that one home along Ben Howard Road may be unsafe to occupy until more is known about the hillside’s stability. The home has not been evacuated, but entry is limited and at the owner’s risk.
A county official inspected the hillside Thursday afternoon. Heavy recent rainfall has increased landslide risk in much of Western Washington. More rain is forecast in the days ahead.
The county’s Department of Emergency Management is working closely with its partners at the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Snohomish County Fire District 7 to keep neighbors safe and informed. Representatives from the fire district and sheriff’s office have been meeting regularly with residents near the slide to insure access to emergency services is not affected.
The county’s departments of Public Works and Planning and Development Services also are working with neighbors.
“We encourage all people living near the slide to be vigilant,” said Jason Biermann, the county’s emergency management director.
If they see a slide in progress or begin to hear the sound of breaking wood or other disturbance, they should leave the area and call 911, Biermann said.