Geotech study finds evacuation orders still needed after Burien landslide

BURIEN, Wash. - Neighbors in Burien anxious to get back into their homes near the site of a landslide will have to wait a little longer. according to a study released Thursday evening.

With the release of this report, the city will keep its evacuation order for two homes that had the most damage from the slide. Homeowners evacuated from the three other homes will be able to return, but only after meeting certain conditions.

The geotech study released Thursday found the land around the slide is likely to remain unstable because more rain is expected. Those monitoring the area say erosion continues along the slide zone while movement has slowed, including debris piles. They found the slide didn’t start near the top of the slope, but closer to the bottom.

The three other homeowners will have to conduct their own independent studies before being allowed to return to their property.

"The three homes that weren’t damaged, those homeowners will really need to be able to prove that that area is safe for them to resume living there," said City of Burien spokesperson Katie Whittier Trefry. "We can’t in good conscience let them reside in a space where their life is in danger."

Another interesting note in the study is that data show the area received 2.13 inches of rainfall on the day of the landslide, December 8, which is the most on record dating back to 1945.

The study also notes the property owners of the two homes with the most damage could be allowed back onto the property just to get some belongings, but they too would have to get an independent geotechnical study to prove their actions don’t cause more movement.

The city has also been recommended to continue daily monitoring of the slide area, for at least a week.