More rain forecasted: ODOT crews on call for possible landslides

More rain forecasted: ODOT crews on call for possible landslides »Play Video
ODOT put up this mesh near the Jefferson Street on-ramp to Highway 26 to help keep the rocks in place. But in geology there's no guarantee that debris won't fall.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The rainy weather expected this weekend means the Oregon Department of Transportation will be on alert for possible landslides.

The volume of rain can saturate already unstable landslide-prone areas along roads like Highway 26, Highway 30, and Interstate 84, making drivers vulnerable to sudden slides.
 
ODOT has a team of geologists on call to respond to debris in roads or other signs of landslides, hoping to prevent the landslides before they happen. 

Geologist Tom Braibish supervises the team for ODOT, now on call around the clock. 

"If you see debris on the road or if you see changes like concentrated water coming over the side of a slope, give ODOT a call and we'll take a look at what's going on," he said. "Changes in condition can be a sign of something larger to come."

Braibish said this kind of weather event can be all it takes to trigger a slide.

"If we've had extended periods of rainfall where the ground is saturated, that worries us when we see another large storm coming," he said.

Oregon's Department of Geology and Mineral Industries mapped 7,000 known landslide locations in the Portland area. DOGAMI is warning of increased landslide risk outside of Portland as well, pointing to the Coast Range, Columbia River Gorge, North Oregon Cascades, and Willapa Hills. Particularly dangerous places are at the bottom of steep hillsides, road cuts, and places where landslides have happened before.

If you see any debris in the road or other warning signs, ODOT asks you call this number: (503) 283-5859.