UPDATE: Residents Near Rattlesnake Ridge Can Return Home; Threat Level Downgraded

Rattlesnake Ridge cracks
Geologists now say that the risk of a rapid, massive landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge is remote. CREDIT: WASHINGTON DNR

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Residents who were evacuated for the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide near Yakima, can go back home. That’s after a new study by a geology firm hired by the state said the slide could take years—or even decades—to come down.

The report says the chances of a fast moving landslide are slim and that the state should have adequate warning if things start to churn.

Now the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management has downgraded the evacuation level for the Rattlesnake Ridge slide.

There are more than a dozen trailer homes and houses on a sliver of land wedged between the slide and Interstate 82. Several people we talked to say they live there, right next to the quarry, because it’s the cheapest place they can find.

Some are now living in hotels, others have moved to more-expensive homes in town.

Yakima County Emergency Management said they have a process in place if they need to evacuate the residents again. The agency said residents should be prepared at all times to leave quickly.

Original Story, January 31, 2018:
The landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington, is likely going to be a slow one—it could take years or decades to fully come down. That’s the upshot of a new independent geology report commissioned by the state.

The report by engineering consultants Wyllie & Norrish Rock Engineers said the incident is “predictable and manageable” with all the eyes and equipment monitoring it.

They also say there’s an 85 percent chance that it’s going to be slow moving and a 5 percent chance it could be rapid. If the slide were to start moving more quickly, the state’s current monitoring would detect that.

The report predicts that material will likely continually fall into the adjacent quarry and the nearby county road. But there is a slim chance that the landslide would reach Interstate 82 or the Yakima River.

The firm recommended that officials set up a sensing system that would alert them by cell phone around the clock if the slide moves.

Yakima County Office of Emergency Management held its last scheduled press conference this week and said emergency management activities are ramping down.

There isn’t word yet if the residents affected by the landslide will be able to return to their homes, but the county managers said they are looking at that.

A diagram of the risk areas of Rattlesnake Ridge

CREDIT WYLLIE & NORRISH ROCK ENGINEERS

Copyright 2018 NW News Network

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