Ancient landslide comes to life, 2 Portland homes evacuated

Two NW Portland homes evacuated due to slide

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The city has tagged two Northwest Portland homes as too dangerous to occupy.

The homes sit on an ancient landslide that the city says has been reactivated.

The problems started with a small crack last month. Over the last several weeks that crack along Northwest Thurman has grown as the edge of the road sinks.

Neighbor Frank Binnendyk has been monitoring the slide. He has watched the curb slowly slide down the hill.

"It's gone down about three feet or so," he said.

And it continues to slide every day.

"It's been falling about an inch per day," he said. "An inch or two."

More: Rain not the only trigger for landslides

Binnendyk's home is not at risk, but his next door neighbor's is. Fred Devlin has owned that home for nine years.

The home is slowly cracking apart.

"Ours, unfortunately, is essentially breaking in half," Devlin said.

Adding insult to injury, Devlin and his neighbor will have to cover all the costs of repairing the damage, including stabilizing the slope because the damage is the result of a landslide.

"Both of these houses were built on an old landslide and what has happened is that it has reactivated," explained Portland State University professor Scott Burns.

Burns says the slide was likely reactivated by the heavy rain, another underground water source, or a combination of the two.

The problem: homeowners insurance does not cover landslides.

And while the city of Portland will pay to repair to the road, it will be up to Devlin and his neighbor to repair their property.

"It is the property owner's responsibility to insure that the property and structure on there are safe," said Ross Caron with the Bureau of Development Services.

So for now, Devlin says all he can do is watch and wait to find out if he can even afford to salvage his home.
He says at least it's just property.

"That's the bottom line," he said. "Everybody is okay."

Devlin had been renting out the home. He's happy his tenants were able to get out safely.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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