Beach Drive slide zone: Permits granted for slope work to start

January 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

(WSB photo taken this morning, looking southeast at the slide zone)
Five months after the city announced a settlement in the legal fight over the Beach Drive slide zone, there’s finally a sign that slope-stabilization work will start soon. As reported here in August of last year, mediation led to an agreement for “insurance monies and private funds” to pay for retaining walls and a drainage system to stabilize the slope below the 6000 block of Atlas (map), site of repeated slides, including this one in 2010:

Homeowners below the slope had sued the city and Atlas homeowner Peter Saladino, who, for agreeing to build the walls and drainage, would be spared “the majority of fines” the city could have levied (they had sued him too). Browsing the city Department of Planning and Development site last night, we discovered permits had been issued for at least some of the work, so we followed up today with DPD spokesperson Bryan Stevens, who explains:

Permit #6239617 includes 6067 Atlas, 6053 Atlas, and 6049 Atlas. This permit covers the construction of two retaining walls (one upper, one lower along Beach Drive), installation of subsurface drainage and revegetation of the hillside across the three properties.

Work can begin on the lower wall, as we have conditionally granted their request to work in this area during the wet season. The upper wall is in a more sensitive location and will have to wait until after April 1st, when conditions are typically dryer.

This work is of interest not just to those who live in the area, but also to those who use that much-rutted stretch of Beach Drive – once the slope work is done, the road can be fixed. (After last year’s agreement was announced, the city repaved a nearby section of Beach Drive that wasn’t directly beneath the unstable slope.) The whole mess even came before the City Council Transportation Committee two years ago this month. We don’t know yet exactly when the first phase of work will start, but we’ll update whenever we find out.

5 Comments

  1. VERY GOOD! About time! I half thought there would be an earthquake that took down the rest of that hill in a landslide long before anything was done to stabilize the area.

    Comment by Noelle — 4:44 pm January 22, 2013 #

  2. The whole greenbelt along Beach Drive is essentially soil on top of clay, lubricated by underground springs. Soil just right off the hard clay, like someone going down a waterslide.

    It’s isn’t called Spring Hill Tracts for nothing ;)

    Comment by G — 5:46 pm January 22, 2013 #

  3. @ G and Noelle- Interesting you say that. As a resident of Seaview and regular dog walker up and down the local green belts and ravines I can’t but help notice how many of the main arterial streets, e.g. 48th , have extended fractures running from bottom to top. Where did you get your geologic info on this area?

    Comment by Tony — 6:34 pm January 22, 2013 #

  4. Tony, I grew up in West Seattle, in the greebelt on Jacobsen. Lots of small springs oozing out of the ground. Slides are prevalent around the the entire peninsula, development can worsen it though if trees are removed. You can find the plat descriptions through the King County.

    Comment by G — 7:11 pm January 22, 2013 #

  5. I am not a geologist, but have always had an interest in it. I just take note of any news stories about nature in Seattle. The WSB always does a great job covering Mother Nature’s quirks in the area. This is a very interesting map of Landslides in West Seattle over the years.
    http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/landslide/study/Vol_2_Figures/figb6.pdf

    Comment by Noelle — 12:27 am January 23, 2013 #

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