Feb 04, 2007
A huge landslide in the Columbia River Gorge has forced a family to abandon its hillside home, while as many as 30 more families, who live in the valley below the slide, are on standby awaiting possible evacuation orders. The slide happened in the hills just above Stevenson, Washington, across the Columbia River from Cascade Locks. There are huge cracks, trees down under the weight of the soil, and there's mud everywhere. Most of the hillside has slid at least 20 to 30 feet in just the last few days. In January 2006, when the hill began to slide, the family moved the whole house about 50 feet away. They thought they had found a safe, flat spot for the home, away from the area of the hill that was sliding. And it was a good spot, until the recent two-week dry spell. The dry weather caused the earth to move again, this time with much more force. "The ground was just so saturated that it finally saturated down to that shelf and then it slid out." The family spent so much money to move the house last year, they said they will probably have to file for bankruptcy. There is a creek at the bottom of the hill. If the entire hillside slides down into the creek, it could block the stream. If that happens and the creek breaks through, another 30-homes could be washed away.