Community near Index worries next big slide could happen here

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 7:39 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 7 at 4:20 PM

You don't need to be a geologist to see that the Mount Index Riversites community is sinking.

Since December, a slow moving landslide has destroyed a portion of the neighborhood along the Skykomish River near Index, taking trees, power lines and summer homes with it. But around the corner, 100 full-time homeowners are worried what will happen next.

"We've had some damage from flooding, but we've never had a complete failure of the hillside like this," says Thom Boullioun.

Recently, a large chunk of land slid 60 feet in a day, cutting off Mt. Index River Road. Homeowners are forced to carry their supplies and groceries in by foot for over a mile in some cases, by way of a trail bypassing the landslide.

"We have to buy according to weight," says Anita Shultz. "It's changed life upside down and it's been very stressful."

The Oso landslide ignited fears among Shultz and other homeowners that the same thing could happen to them.

It is not a county road or county property, but the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management is reaching out to help. Just three weeks before the Oso landslide, DEM officials sent a reverse 911 call telling all affected homeowners to evacuate.

County Executive John Lovick also signed a local proclamation of emergency on March 13. The proclamation essentially streamlines coordination efforts so that residents in the affected community can get assistance from community organizations.

There is no way to predict exactly when a devastating slide could happen, but Boullioun and others are convinced they are at risk.

Homeowners have pooled together more than $50,000 to try and repair the road, but now they are considering a temporary bridge over the Skykomish River to get around the slide area.

"I've got no place to go," says Shultz. "If property values go to zero and insurance is canceling because no emergency vehicles can come up, I am losing everything."

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