Heavy rain causes landslide in Forest Park

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by Keely Chalmers, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 17 at 12:19 PM

PORTLAND --  Crews with the Portland Parks and Recreation Bureau were forced to close down the popular Lower Macleay Trail in Forest Park due to a landslide on Monday.

The soil holding a huge root ball gave way sending the stump and the saturated soil around it sliding down the hillside and over the trail.

The slide is about a half mile from Lower Macleay Park.

“Usually we wouldn’t see something like this until later in the winter… January or December storms are when we usually get most of our damage,” said Greg Hawley with the Portland Parks and Recreation Department.

Experts say all the rain after such a long period of dry weather may be causing the ground to be unusually unstable in some areas.

“A lot the moisture, or the rain probably hasn't been able to soak through the soils thoroughly, so it’s running through in patches… that’s why you’re getting mudslides and that kind of jazz,” said Damien Carre with Oregon Tree Care.

And if that unstable ground happens to be holding a tree, that tree could come crashing down, especially when the wind picks up.

Carre says even though the ground may be getting saturated, the trees themselves are still pretty dry.

“As we’ve all seen around town… trees are breaking and snapping in unusual places because they’re not able to flow with the wind,” he said.

Carre also points out that many trees still have a lot of leaves on them.

Those leaves get rain soaked and heavy and they can also cause limbs to break.

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