Seattle wants to keep your home from slip-sliding away

Seattle wants to keep your home from slip-sliding away
SEATTLE -- It might have been a very hot and dry summer, but the rainy season is here and with more storms on the way, the city is gearing up for potential landslides.

Just remember 1996 and 1997 when it seemed the city might slide away, and Perkins Lane did.

Nelson Fausto remembers it well. His neighbor's front yard vanished.

"We had considerable slides right under here and we said, 'If we are going to live in this house, we've got to do something,"' he said.

They installed drainage systems, built pathways to access steep areas, and put in native plants and install moisture absorbent material.

By hand, contractors built not one but two retaining walls.

"They placed a mesh of steel and actually shot concrete grout up against it," said Rob McIntosh with Seattle City Geo-Tech. "It's very sticky and they can form a wall."

Nelson and his wife, Ann De Lancey, know they live on the edge -- literally.

"Nelson said when we moved in here, he said he was at the beginning of creation and every day you feel that way," De Lancey said. "You don't feel like you are on the eve of destruction."

The two are the city's poster children for preventing slides. But this city has lots of vulnerable neighborhoods, mainly from the city's center north, where slopes reach 40 degrees or more.

But don't relax if you live south of downtown. Slide areas here run from West Seattle to Beacon Hill.

A quick tour Tuesday showed some walls bulging, some dripping, and hillsides looking unstable.

"No matter how much you do there's more to do," Fausto said. "We're never clear, you know."

The city's warning: the rains are coming. And if you live in a house on the hill, then please make a visual inspection like right now to see if there's anything that needs correcting.

For more information, the city is holding two landslide awareness meetings. The first is Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at South Seattle Community College at the Education Center near the arboretum.

The second is Nov. 21, also 10 a.m. to noon, at Northgate Community Center across from the Northgate Mall.