3 San Pablo homes yellow-tagged after landslide

March 28, 2011 9:44:46 PM PDT
Three homes in San Pablo have been yellow-tagged as a hillside continues to slide. Residents are allowed to go into their homes during the day, but can't sleep there.

The rains are gone but not the troubles for San Pablo residents. They are describing themselves as being in limbo, waiting for geology to slow down and waiting for the city to take action.

"There's not any support whatsoever," said Sandra Givens

At least that is the perception of no support from the city for owners of three yellow-tagged homes that are sliding and three others being slid into.

"My husband is very hopeful that everything will work out," said Givens.

But Givens packed up their stuff and hauled it away anyway, Monday. It's a drill that Leon Walker and his wife, Janka, finished last Friday. They lived in their house for seven years. Now it is apparently destined to not be a house at all, as it bends and buckles from its own suspended weight.

"I never thought in my lifetime that my house would slide down this hill," said Mr. Walker. "I thought that I'd be here throughout my children going through junior high, high school."

What angers residents most is the fact that old photos show this hill slid decades ago.

"There was not one disclosure," said Mrs. Walker.

No comment from city's public works director Monday, who deferred to assistant city manager Kelsey Worthy, and he to a need for more research before the city takes definitive action.

"Right now we can't make any types kinds of conclusions whether or not the slide that occurred back in the 80s is related to the slide that occurred on these homes," said Worthy.

So far, the city has removed tilting trees down below to keep them from falling directly on houses.

In the meantime, it's a geologic catastrophe in slow motion for all of these families.

"You know, we put a lot of money... even a downpayment on this house," said Mrs. Walker. "Who's going to give me that back? Who's going to give me anything? We are losing home and house in one."

The city is looking into securing state or federal emergency funds. It plans to establish an account in which citizens can make donations to help some of these residents. The account name is "San Pablo Landslide Event" via Mechanics Bank.

There is also a meeting planned for residents Wednesday at 6 p.m.


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