• WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory

Crumbling cliff in Pacifica to force more evacuations

Residents of another apartment building on a crumbling Pacifica cliffside have orders to vacate by Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Dean Smith/KGO)

April 30, 2010 7:15:46 PM PDT
In Pacifica, the slow-motion erosion of apartments, homes, and a seaside cliff wears heavily on patience and spirits. Six months after the trouble began, the city moved Thursday to evacuate the rest of 320 Esplanade.

Its four remaining tenants have until Sunday to pack up and move to safer ground, according to notices of substandard violations taped to their front doors.

"At this point, no one can be certain that the buildings would be safe in an earthquake," said Pacifica City Engineer Doug Rider. "Two weeks ago, they lost ten more feet of bluff between 320 and 330. It has undermined porches and foundations. If there were a large earthquake, 60 feet of bluff could fall right back to the street in an instant."

That fatalism has spread through the neighborhood. Until mid-February, the buildings' owners had employed engineers and work crews to reinforce and resurface the cliff.

But, when the money ran out, and aid from the federal government did not materialize, the work stopped. "Their pockets aren't deep enough to fix this problem," said Rick Jenkins, who has already moved twice from red-tagged buildings. "Mother nature will take this over, and eventually the people across the street will have the view that we've got."

That said, some work does continue on the north end of Esplanade. The ownership of Lands End Apartments have hired Baldwin Construction out of Southern California to dump new large boulders at the base of their cliff.

But Baldwin and the Lands End ownership keep their own counsel, although they do appear to remain optimistic. Signs in the parking lot still reserve parking spaces for future tenants, even though not many people have used them, of late.

"I'm still thinking we can save these buildings," said Rider. "We just want to be certain that the people are safe, first."


Load Comments