Geologists say landslides aren’t all that uncommon in Oregon, and when it comes to the risk of seeing even more of them this season, they say residents are not out of the woods yet, especially with more heavy rain in the forecast.
According to geologist Bill Burns, there have been at least half a dozen landslides around Portland in the last few days.
Highway 224 near Damascus was closed by a slide Sunday, a major slide that same day on Southwest Skyline still has that road closed and another affected drivers on Cornell Wednesday.
Burns said with the continued rains, more slides are likely soon.
“The soils just don’t have enough time to drain if we keep having these storms back to back to back, that’s when our risk goes up,” he explained.
The biggest indicator for where future slides may happen is where they’ve happened in the past.
LIDAR technology is helping geologists map those previous landslides going back thousands of years. They have currently mapped some 7,000 historical slides.
“I think it’s Mother Nature reminding us that this is one of our common natural hazards that we have in Oregon,” Burns said.
A map of Oregon shows the risk for future slides, and much of the state is at some risk.
The Coast range, the Cascades and the Gorge are especially susceptible, and in Portland, all of the West Hills and the Forest Park area fall into that category, too.
The Oregon Department of Geology suggests that homeowners living along a steep slope check out the department’s website at OregonGeology.org for tips on how to better protect their homes.
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