Residents evacuated day before massive mudslide

Residents evacuated day before massive mudslide »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A mudslide slammed into at least four homes and blocked a highway to the Oregon coast on Tuesday in a region that was hit hard by last week's storms.

The slide of mud, trees and debris covered five acres and moved at least one home onto U.S. Highway 30, said Chris Friend of the Oregon Department of Forestry. Another home showed signs of giving way on its foundation and a third had mud up to its windows.

No injuries were reported.

The slide was caused by a buildup of water and debris behind a railroad grade located upstream in Eilertsen Creek. The abandoned railroad structure acted as a dam and officials had been monitoring it for days.

On Monday, a technician determined it was a danger and people were evacuated from their homes in the rural area. Officials tried to relieve the pressure on the structure but could not effectively do so.

It began to move Tuesday and the Oregon Department of Transportation closed the highway. Within an hour, the slide covered the highway and surrounding area located just west of Clatskanie, between Portland and the Oregon coast.

One woman living above the slide was stranded in her home, where the driveway was wiped out by the mud. But officials said she is in no danger.

Several agencies worked to clear the area.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)