The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

County engineer hears initial report on Elochoman slide


Local officials are still waiting for a geotech report before deciding what to do about the closure of the Elochoman Valley Road.

Wahkiakum County commissioners closed the road last winter after area residents observed a timbered hillside was sliding and threatening their homes.

Hancock Forest Industries owns the sliding hillside and has commissioned the geotech report to determine the scope and structure of the slide. On Monday, County Engineer Paul Lacy met with Hancock representatives and viewed a preliminary draft of the report.

The report is unfinished and will undergo legal review before being shared, Lacy said.

The slide is a dish-shaped surface slide, Lacy said, and is typical for much of Wahkiakum County's hillsides.

Once the county has seen the final report, it might be reasonable to consider opening the road.

"My interpretation of the report is a little different from theirs," Lacy said. " There is a risk of a slide, but about half the roads in Wahkiakum County have a slide risk,. So if we closed all the threatened roads, we wouldn't be able to move around."

Hancock is also considering what to do about the threatened properties, Lacy said. The company may deliberate another 2-4 weeks before reaching their final decisions.

"So once they figure out what to do, we should open the road," Lacy said, "but there is a risk, not much different than others. We could open it an assess again in the fall when rains start. There is a fissure that could channel water into the slip plane."

The county erected a heavy duty gate to block traffic from the area. Three houses are located beyond the gate, and only two are threatened by the slide. County officials decided last week to erect a lighter gate just beyond the first house, which isn't threatened by the slide.


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