Oakland Hills mudslide cleanup progressing

January 7, 2008 7:34:28 PM PST
Homeowners in the Oakland Hills are making a little bit of progress in their battle to move a mudslide.

Workers have made significant modifications such as rails to stabilize the area and keep people off the hills. Crews have also extended the tarp, which is completely covering the muddy hill that created a huge mess on Friday.

They have also put in pipes to control some of the water and keep it from turning into a small lake that would once again topple onto an Oakland Hills neighborhood as it did on Friday.

A portion of Skyline Boulevard collapsed in Friday's storm - falling onto the yard of a home below it. However, in the battle of mud versus homeowner, score a tiny victory for the homeowner.

Sharlyn McIntyre is feeling a little bit better after a too close for comfort encounter with a mudslide. She is confident enough to move a few things back into her house that were moved out on Friday.

The McIntyre's Oakland Hills home was surrounded by mud and gushing water that had tumbled down from Skyline Boulevard and the soaked hillside below it. After some calls from people in high places, the wheels began to move. Fortunately, the homeowner had an influential neighbor: California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Oakland Public Works sent in crews to drape the hillside and Oakland firefighters sandbagged the house. Crews began to haul away the tons of muck that buried the McIntyre's lot and drainage system.

"I'm scared. I'm just scared, I don't know how else to say it. I do see it as a fixable problem, if the weather goes along," says Sharlyn McIntyre.

Oakland public works has committed to inserting drainage pipes into the hillside and funnel the water away from the McIntyre's home and that is good news for them, but uncertain news for the other areas below Skyline Boulevard.

"Long term, we're going to need to look at what our geotechnical engineers find. It's unfortunately symptomatic of so many problems throughout the city and the lack of a dedicated funding source," says Vladimir Wlassowsky, Deputy Director, Oakland Economic Development.

Two years ago, a master plan for drainage was presented to the city of Oakland. It identified that up to $40 million dollars worth of work needed to be done on the infrastructure in Oakland to avoid future drainage and flooding problems.

The McIntyres are grateful for all the progress that was made throughout the weekend. Although it is dry today, more rain is expected to hit the Bay Area in the next few days.

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