PORTLAND, Ore. - A home perched on a hillside above a busy southwest Portland thoroughfare slipped down a slope Wednesday morning, damaging two other homes below it.
Seven homes in total have been affected. Of four homes impacted at the bottom of the slide, three have been declared inhabitable.
Busy Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard remains closed between Southwest Chestnut Street and Southwest Capitol Highway due to danger from the slide. City officials said the road will be closed "indefinitely" while the hillside is assessed.
The home that slid was completely destroyed in a matter of moments. A woman in the home left the structure after she noticed something was wrong. She reportedly had to hang onto a ladder lowered by neighbors in order to be rescued as the home slipped away.
Once outside, she watched as the home slid 100 feet down the hill. No injuries were reported. The house was located in the 6400 block of Southwest Burlingame Place. Nearby homes were quickly evacuated and residents have so far been kept out due to continued danger from a possible larger landslide.
The incident took place at about 5:30 a.m.
A next-door neighbor said he heard cracking sounds from the home and thought that perhaps some construction was underway, but then reconsidered due to the early hour.
A short time later he notice the home next door had gone down the hill. About a dozen homes nearby were evacuated after the slide.
Two homes located below were impacted. One suffered major damage. It was not immediately known if anyone was in the damaged home.
The ground on the steep hill below the home apparently gave way. While there has been light rain in the past few days, it has not been the type that typically leads to landslides.
An investigation as to why the ground gave way is expected, but investigators have already warned neighbors of the destroyed house that their homes are also at risk.
Homes on either side of the house were tagged as restricted. One house reportedly was off its foundation.
Geologists said both homes are threatened by a wider slide due to conditions at the site including thin soil, the steep hillside and water in the soil from rain and/or home plumbing systems.
Geologists at the scene said the ground was still slowly moving.
Fire crews blocked off Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard as they assessed the situation. The sliding home, located on Burlingame Place, slid down towards Terwilliger Boulevard.
It did not slide into the street, but police blocked off the road out of safety concerns. City officials said that the damage to the homes is the responsibility of the homeowners and that they should contact their insurance companies.