Local News

Landslide closes road, impacts homes

ASTORIA, Ore. — A shallow, slow-moving landslide impacted seven houses in Astoria’s Uppertown neighborhood over the weekend. 

As of Sunday evening, five houses have been “red tagged,” meaning they are unsafe to occupy at this time, according to Jeff Harrington, public works director for Astoria.

City Manager Scott Spence says the area moving near 27th Street and Grand Avenue is estimated at under five acres. Natural gas and water have been turned off to the area. 

“Our primary concern is to keep people safe,” Spence said on Sunday. “This almost could be characterized as a rolling emergency. We’re actually seeing land movement affect people and property so we’re just doing the best we can to respond to the situation and make sure people are not in harm’s way.”

A portion of 27th Street has buckled and cracked and residents report that at least one house has moved several inches. They told KMUN on Sunday that they are beginning to see other signs of damage and movement throughout the area.

A drop in rainfall Sunday evening was a hopeful sign.

“The best thing for the landslide right now is for it to dry out,” Spence said.

Attorney Josh Stellmon and his wife decided to leave their house and stay in hotel downtown on Saturday night. When Stellmon checked in on things Sunday, he could hear trees cracking and falling in the distance. At his house, he saw what he believes are new cracks in the foundation along with other, more minor issues.

But, he said, “We’re lucky. And I mean that. I really feel for our neighbors.”

The home above his contains four apartment units and seems to be the most impacted by the sliding so far. Stellmon isn’t sure how many people live there, but he worries they will be completely displaced.

The 27th Street area — like many spots around Astoria — is historically prone sliding.

City staff are continuing to monitor the landslide and 27th Street remains closed. The city has asked people who are not residents to stay away from the area, and from Grand Avenue down below.