UPDATE: Slide closes Highland Park Way hill; thousands lose power

(TOPLINE: Highland Park Way hill between SW Holden and West Marginal Way SW is closed because of a slide that happened around 5 am)

5:35 AM: A big Seattle Fire response is checking out a slide reported on the Highland Park Way hill near Holden. So far, they’re reporting no vehicles or structures involved, but some of the slide material is actually on the road. One texter reported a power outage; none has shown up on the Seattle City Light map yet. More to come.

5:42 AM: We have a crew headed that way. Meantime, more outage reports, mostly from Puget Ridge. And traffic is being kept off the hill. SFD crews are assessing the slide and whether it’s moving.

5:51 AM: Our crew has arrived and confirmed the road closure. Via scanner, we’ve heard that multiple power poles are “leaning” but intact. The slide is across most of HP Way at at least one point and though most of the SFD units are being dismissed because no rescuing is needed, the closure continues.

6 AM: City Light info for residents says 2,000 customers (homes and businesses) are out.

6:20 AM: SCL and SDOT are at the slide. If you are using Roxbury as an alternative, be aware that the 8th/Roxbury signal is reported to be out – and remember that intersections with nonfunctioning signals become all-way stops. Metro Route 131 is rerouted since it otherwise would use the HP Way hill. Some have reported their power’s back.

6:43 AM: Our crew at the scene has been told the closure will likely last at least through the entire morning commute – City Light is still working to locate the downed live wires, and until that’s done, engineers can’t assess the slide, which will have to be done before cleanup.

7:32 AM: City Light says via Twitter that the peak of the outage was 2,008 customers (homes/businesses) and that service has been restored to all but 380 customers. The hill remains closed.

7:49 AM: For those who asked about Sanislo Elementary on Puget Ridge, our crew went over to check. It does NOT have power but it IS open – the principal tells us that word of the outage didn’t get around in time for any other decisions to be made, and students started arriving. They’re hoping it won’t be too much longer. Now we’re headed back to HP Way hill to see if there’s an update on operations there.

8:26 AM: We’ll have some daylight photos shortly – the slide is out of cameraphone range but co-publisher Patrick Sand is headed back with images taken via long lens. He reports that it looks like a “tangled mess,” mostly across the uphill lanes, though somewhat obscured by fog. No update yet on how long it will take to clear – they’re still in assessing mode. Meantime, remember that having Highland Park Way hill unavailable is continuing to back up other outbound routes.

9 AM: Photos added – here’s how it looks from the top of the hill, with a long lens. (Note the streetlights at top left.)

We’ll continue to update here for now – if it looks like this is going to last for hours longer, we’ll switch to a midday update at some point.

10:03 AM: The power outage is finally on the SCL map. (Screengrab above)

10:23 AM: Thanks to commenters for reporting that most of the rest of the outage has ended – the SCL map confirms that. What we’re awaiting now is an update on how long the Highland Park Way hill is likely to remain closed.

11:59 AM: Still no new info from SDOT, only a reminder of the closure. We are headed back to the top of the hill to see what is (or isn’t) happening.

12:19 PM: Update from SDOT, which we’ll move to a new update soon as we get a new look at the slide zone:

SDOT continues to work with Seattle City Light at the site of the slide that occurred on Highland Park Way SW. A slide came down this morning above Highland Park Way SW, then a second slide came down, pushing material about 500 feet further, over Highland Park Way SW.

SDOT has cleared some of the material from the lower slide so SCL trucks can gain access. SCL is working to clear some trees that are pushing on some power poles. Geotech engineers are assessing the situation.

We expect Highland Park Way to remain closed through today and into tomorrow as more rain is expected to fall tonight into tomorrow.

1:15 PM: We’ve now launched a pm report and that’s where we’ll be updating this afternoon and into the pm commute.

83 Replies to "UPDATE: Slide closes Highland Park Way hill; thousands lose power"

  • PPP February 15, 2017 (5:41 am)

    Power is out at 16th /Myrtle near the Riverview Playfield. 

  • Robert Duncan February 15, 2017 (5:45 am)

    I’m on 17th Ave SW and the street is without power. Seems that this is the cause. I reported the outage to Seattle City Light about 20 min ago.

    • WSB February 15, 2017 (5:49 am)

      Thanks for the outage reports. No way to know the extent otherwise as this is just not showing up on SCL map.

      • Kelly February 15, 2017 (5:57 am)

        We live on Kenyon over the green belt and can see most of the lower valley. It is all death except for the transfer station which has emergency lights. Our neighborhood is dark.

        • Kelly February 15, 2017 (5:58 am)

          I meant “all dark”

          • Dr February 15, 2017 (6:58 am)

            But it’s “all death” sounds like a dispatch from the apocalypse. Which had a certain very dark humor this morning. Of course WSB would be all over covering the apocalypse because they’re that good

          • Rebecca Oshiro February 15, 2017 (8:10 am)

            Hahaha so true! 

  • Taylor February 15, 2017 (5:50 am)

    Power out in Greenbridge at 8th and Roxbury. Reported it at 5:30am

  • Beef February 15, 2017 (5:52 am)

    Power is out on 9th in HP as well. 

  • PBM February 15, 2017 (5:53 am)

    Power went out about 5:15-ish on 5th Ave SW & Kenyon. Still down.

  • J February 15, 2017 (5:58 am)

    Power back for now in Puget Ridge 

    • Lisa Morrow February 15, 2017 (8:49 am)

      Puget Ridge Cohousing still without power at 0845.

  • Kabri February 15, 2017 (5:59 am)

    Power out at 16/SW Orchard

  • Kelly February 15, 2017 (6:02 am)

    Power is out from the bottom of the hill all the way to the start of Hwy 599/1st ave bridge. 

  • kelly February 15, 2017 (6:23 am)

    Power back on on 5th and Kenyon, looks to be restored down in the valley as well. 

  • Tasha February 15, 2017 (6:24 am)

    Doesn’t look like we ever lost power, but I haven’t been outside to see what’s going on with the neighbors. 11th & Kenyon/Elmgrove.

  • Clay February 15, 2017 (6:35 am)

    5th South and South Holden industrial area is out too.  This is East of Marginal Way South, in Southpark.  To whom it may concern. 

  • Vginny February 15, 2017 (6:35 am)

    We have power on SW Othello.  The neighborhood halfway up the hill to the left. 

  • Another Tasha February 15, 2017 (6:57 am)

    Power off near Sanislo. I bet the school has lost power too.

  • lorrie adams February 15, 2017 (7:07 am)

    Thank you for this post! I was able to catch the 131 on Roxbury & 8th to get to new job. It’s only my 3rd day. 

  • Jen February 15, 2017 (7:08 am)

    We are on SW Othello between 16th & 12th and power is out.

    • Nicole February 15, 2017 (11:01 am)

      Do you know if the power was restored to your house?  I live on the same street.

  • Trickycoolj February 15, 2017 (7:12 am)

    Any relation to the fact that there have been multiple trees topped and cut down in the last few weeks along HP Way?

    • Joel February 15, 2017 (7:17 am)

      they cut many leaning trees which may have fallen onto the road….still more need to come down.  trees were cut on right side going down the hill.  slide was on the left side.

      they also have been cutting away the ivy that is growing up the trees.  that has been taking place more on the right side as well.

  • GM February 15, 2017 (7:23 am)

    Power out still in 17th & Myrtle. Not seeing the outage in the city power outage map.

  • Kathy Ulrich February 15, 2017 (7:24 am)

    Still no power at 14th and myrtle. Wondering if power is on at Sanislo Elementary?

    • WSB February 15, 2017 (7:29 am)

      I would hope we’d have heard from Seattle Public Schools if there were a problem, and we haven’t. But our crew, headed back to the scene after a brief stop at HQ, will go check.

      • Kathy Ulrich February 15, 2017 (7:31 am)

        West Seattle Blog for the win! 

      • Vginny February 15, 2017 (8:06 am)

        Yes, I was hoping to hear something from SPS and Transportation regarding the bus route for Concord on HPW SW. I have heard nothing.  

  • zephyr February 15, 2017 (7:44 am)

    Has anyone noticed the big slides along I-5 north shortly after you enter from the viaduct and before the exit to I-90?  There are at least two spots on that slope to the east coming down from Beacon Hill.  Big trees came with it and you can see them broken and piled up in places.  

    • WSB February 15, 2017 (7:49 am)

      Those have been checked out, though I don’t know what the decisions/assessments were – heard them discussed on the scanner. MEANTIME: For those who asked about Sanislo, it does NOT have power but it IS open – apparently word of the outage didn’t circulate in time for them to decide otherwise. They’re hoping power will be back soon – TR

    • Jason February 15, 2017 (9:22 am)

      I noticed that huge slide over the weekend. It is quite large. 

      • local resident February 15, 2017 (9:47 am)

        Did you report it? If you see something say something!

        • trickycoolj February 15, 2017 (11:12 am)

          It was widely reported and shut down the freeway overnight as multiple lanes were blocked.

    • MMB February 15, 2017 (12:28 pm)

      Yes, we noticed: it looked bad! I see that WSB has added info now.

  • 1000amys February 15, 2017 (7:51 am)

    I’m at Sanislo. Power is out. 

    • WSB February 15, 2017 (7:52 am)

      Thanks. We just updated – Patrick stopped by since people were asking. We asked the principal to let us know if anything changes – we appreciate updates from parents too.

      • 1000amys February 15, 2017 (7:55 am)

        Kids are eating cereal in the dark. I heard one kid say it’s the best day ever!

        • Alki Resident February 15, 2017 (8:14 am)

          All this time I’ve been worrying about that school not getting breakfast. Ha, kids are amazing.

        • Wsmom February 15, 2017 (8:58 am)

          It might make it hard for teaching sometimes but kids love it when the power is out at their school.

  • lk February 15, 2017 (8:01 am)

    Is this the cause of the looooong back ups on Delridge, or are there other traffic issues out there, too?  When I was just out, it was backed up south from the WS bridge all the way past Brandon.  Turned around and came back to work from home until it clears up.  Didn’t see a tweet saying bridge was open during that time.  Careful on the side streets, as people are using them to avoid Delridge.

    • Trickycoolj February 15, 2017 (8:20 am)

      Yes you’d be surprised how many of us use HP Way to commute to places not in downtown. Maybe someday SDOT will also figure that out. 

      • RC February 15, 2017 (12:47 pm)

        I had to get my daughter to an appointment north of downtown after rush hour (10 a.m.) and it took an hour and 10 minutes (would normally take 40-45, tops). We were stuck in traffic on Delridge and the WS Bridge for at least 20-30 minutes. We live in Highland Park. I plan to write a letter to Council transportation committee members today to reiterate the importance of HP Way and the impacts to the entire WS community when it’s closed.

  • Melinda J-S February 15, 2017 (8:03 am)

    Meanwhile, down in the North Delridge valley traffic is at a standstill along Delridge Way, 26th Ave. SW, Genessee and Andover.

  • Raye W. February 15, 2017 (8:16 am)

    Please post some “daylight” photos soon.  Great coverage WSB!

    • WSB February 15, 2017 (8:26 am)

      Co-publisher Patrick is on his way back with some. Since it’s some distance down the hill, it’s not in cameraphone range, so I have to wait till he gets back here and downloads from the fancy camera with the mega-zoom lens. He warns that it’s not superclear as the hill is fogged in somewhat, but overall, he reports it’s a “tangled mess” still. So this is going to be a while. – TR

  • Alan February 15, 2017 (8:23 am)

    We are out at 14th and Holly. Strange that nothing shows on the outage map . 

  • Jack February 15, 2017 (8:27 am)

    I took the 131 from Roxbury & 5th at 7:15, so that’s going again.

    • WSB February 15, 2017 (8:51 am)

      The bus hasn’t stopped running but it’s routed off Highland Park Way.

  • HPMom February 15, 2017 (8:28 am)

     There’s a video posted on Q13 news website here. Looks like the slide happened on the west side of HP Way. I hope that’s right because otherwise, the slide is directly behind the homes on our block! Yikes.



  • cathy February 15, 2017 (8:42 am)

     KOMO has footage from the chopper on their FB page.         

  • WS Neighbor February 15, 2017 (8:45 am)

    Power is still out at 16th Ave SW and Orchard St. Any word about when it might be restored? 

    • Debbie Gallagher February 15, 2017 (9:00 am)

      I live on SW orchard street too. I called city light and they gave an estimated 11a.m. today if power restoration 

    • kab February 15, 2017 (10:15 am)

      We’re on Orchard, too … SCL shows 11:55am restoration approximation. We’ll see!

    • kab February 15, 2017 (10:22 am)

      The neighborhood just disappeared from the outage map on SCL – is power restored on Orchard/16?

  • HPMom February 15, 2017 (8:55 am)

     Thanks, cathy. That is aerial footage is great on KOMO’s FB page. Those power lines look to be a complete mess.

  • momo February 15, 2017 (10:03 am)

    Holy smokes that’s one heck of a slide!!!

  • Robert Beck February 15, 2017 (10:15 am)

    Power is back on!  13th Ave SW & SW Holly St.

  • Alan February 15, 2017 (10:18 am)

    Power just came back on at 14th & Holly.

  • Archie February 15, 2017 (10:19 am)

    Heck of a slide is an understatement, as are most of the estimates for abating it, IMO.

    There’s no way that will be cleared in a few hours, let alone today.   New power poles will have to be installed, AFTER the road is cleared and the ground is stabilized.

    And that hillside is still moving. 

  • Lura Ercolano February 15, 2017 (10:27 am)

    I think they will wait until they are confident that the slide has stopped moving before even beginning to evaluate the hillside. Right now, that hillside continues to be a dangerous place to be.  Plan to use alternate routes for awhile.

    • WSB February 15, 2017 (10:34 am)

      We just checked in with SDOT and they have nothing to report yet. The person in our photos by the way was assessing the slide and taking photos. The early response – just after 5 (and thank you to everyone who texted/called!) – with SFD was focused on whether anyone had been caught in the slide (vehicles, people) or whether any structures were affected. Then there was a lot of talk about whether the slide material was moving or not, and whether the rain was pushing/dispersing any of it downhill. – TR

  • 1000amys February 15, 2017 (10:39 am)

    Power is back on at Sanislo, according to their Facebook page. 

  • Kelly February 15, 2017 (10:40 am)

    Makes me wonder about soil instability in other parts of the neighborhood.  In particular, I’m curious about our “friends” who did the illegal cutting. 

    Are we seeing soil instability there?  

    • wb February 15, 2017 (12:22 pm)

      I wonder the same thing?  Did their view just get “better”?

  • trickycoolj February 15, 2017 (11:14 am)

    I hope SDOT starts evaluating other slopes around WS.  As I drove down Sylvan Way between the cemetery and Home Depot it’s been looking particularly vulnerable for the last month.  One of these days if they don’t deal with the poor drainage and river that flows down the road in significant rainfall they’re going to have a washout or slide.

  • Melissa February 15, 2017 (11:33 am)

    Please report how important this major arterial is to West Seattle.  The Highland Park neighborhood has been trying to secure funding to address the engineering flaws but have been unsuccessful.  The members of the transportation committee are:  Mike O’Brien,  Rob Johnson and Kshama Sawant.  

    Please call them and let them know how important it is to Delridge.

    • West Seattle Hipster February 15, 2017 (11:45 am)

      I will definitely shoot an email to those 3 but I am not wildly optimistic they will offer realistic solutions.

    • Trickycoolj February 15, 2017 (2:02 pm)

      Done. Really disappointing no one on the Transportation Committee is from south of I-90. Lisa Herbold is only marked as an alternate. 

    • Karl February 15, 2017 (8:51 pm)

      Enough said

  • 3xcharmama February 15, 2017 (11:39 am)

    I got so confused hearing it called “Highland Park Way Hill”. I’m a native West Seattleite and it’s always been called “Boeing Hill”. 

    • Trickycoolj February 15, 2017 (11:57 am)

      Maybe we can start calling it Boeing Hill again when everyone gets moved back into the Duwamish corridor. 

    • HP February 15, 2017 (12:01 pm)


    • dsa February 15, 2017 (12:36 pm)

      It is Boeing Hill.

  • West Seattle Hipster February 15, 2017 (11:43 am)

    Hoping that there were no “campers” in the slide area.

  • Deb February 15, 2017 (12:21 pm)

    Yikes – There is going to be one ugly evening commute with the “back route” (aka: Highland Park Way and Boeing Hill) out of commission. Hope word gets out to everyone who regularly uses this corridor.  

    • Melissa February 15, 2017 (1:44 pm)

      Deb there is also no 131 service to the Highland Park neighborhood.  The first stop is 8th and Roxbury which is a long hike into the neighborhood.

  • Melissa February 15, 2017 (12:48 pm)

    Does anyone know if Metro is increasing service since the 131 doesn’t serve the Highland Park Neighborhood when HPway is closed?

  • Alan February 15, 2017 (12:56 pm)

    If SDOT is looking for someplace to put the dirt, maybe they could pile some of it in the middle of the intersection of HP Way & Holden for a roundabout. Yes, I will keep hammering on this given any excuse!

    I just saw a story yesterday that SDOT is looking at reworking intersections with traffic lights. So, they have money for that work but cannot take care of what they know to be a problem intersection.


  • dsa February 15, 2017 (1:04 pm)

    KOMO pics just show some  muddy water and pole damage.  Patrick got good pics of the roadway being blocked by debris. 

  • Alki Resident February 15, 2017 (1:04 pm)

    I am so greatful nobody was caught in the slide with their car. This could’ve been much worse. 

Sorry, comment time is over.