Heavy rain has brought down several landslides in Portland’s West Hills, including one on West Burnside that trapped three people inside a car.
Those three people escaped unharmed, but firefighters say they can't rule out that others may have been buried in the debris, noting they won't know for certain until they can get in there and start going through the mud, rocks and trees.
Caught in the thick of the slide, the men said the wall of mud and trees covered West Burnside in nearly an instant.
One of the passengers, Scott Luther, said he started yelling “landslide, landslide,” just as the wall of earth came at them.
“I'm just seeing a tree coming down in front of us, so I'm breaking for that, and all of a sudden we're off in a ditch," Jason Baughman, who was driving the car, said.
After coming to a stop, the three men were able to get out of the car by rolling down the window on the driver’s side of the car and climbing out of the vehicle and ducking trees as they made their way out.
Another driver, Julia Shoesmith, was headed in the other direction and stopped just in time to avoid the slide and see the car get swept away in the debris.
"I was running up and I ran up to about here just telling people there's a landslide," she said.
Portland Fire and Rescue officials said this was one of the bigger slides caused this winter by heavy rains, measuring at about 50 by 150 feet.
The slide is right on the edge of Mount Calvary Cemetery. Portland Bureau of Transportation officials said the grave sites were undisturbed, and crews began clearing debris right away.
West Burnside is still closed between Skyline Boulevard and Barnes, and PBOT is asking drivers to avoid the area.
There were several other slides in the West Hills area Wednesday morning as well.
Northwest Thompson Road at Pinnacle is closed due to debris, and Northwest Cornell Road between the first tunnel and Skyline is also closed because of minor slides.
Later Wednesday afternoon, a slide closed a section of Northwest Springville Road between Northwest Skyline and Northwest 128th Avenue, though crews expect the road to be cleared by 4 p.m.
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