[fosc] news item re McKillop landslide / Central Reservoir: Oakland residents hit by landslide still short on answers

Edward Goehring ebgb at sbcglobal.net
Sun Jul 9 10:43:58 PDT 2006

news item re McKillop landslide / Central Reservoir: Oakland residents hit
by landslide still short on answers

 The house at 2866 McKillop Road, which may be dismantled by the second week
of August, has been damaged by the landslide that has concerned residents
and neighbors for months. (Ray Chavez/staff)

OAKLAND — After more than a month of information-gathering on the McKillop
Road landslide, area residents still do not know what caused the slide
keeping them out of their houses.
Marty Perlmutter and wife Miki Raver moved May 13 from their sliding house
at 2866 McKillop and recently began moving some belongings to a Tiburon
apartment, Perlmutter said.

The Johnson family, their next-door neighbors, moved more than a month ago
because city inspectors deemed their house unsafe to live in.

Cassandra Royal-Ross and husband Jack Ross Jr. own a house two doors down,
at 2900 McKillop Road, and have been staying in hotels since June 2.

Dozens of other families in the McKillop Road and Sheffield Avenue
neighborhood are concerned about their houses and safety, as well as
neighborhood property values.

The residents have organized themselves into committees, held many meetings
and gathered information from several public agencies for weeks.

City-hired engineers have been boring holes 100 feet into the hillside to
study the slide; however, the engineers are concerned about damage to public
roadways, not about the slide's cause, residents say.

The city's Public Works Agency did not respond to several calls Friday about
the situation.

Residents have hired theirown geotechnical engineers, hoping to discover
what caused the slide.

Perlmutter says residents need to get answers in order to prevent slides
from occurring and to reassess their property values.

"We'd like to see houses in this neighborhood selling for $400,000 again,"
he said.

Some residents think the nearby Central Reservoir and Dam, which holds up to
150 million gallons of water, is causing the slide on McKillop Road.

At a community meeting June 14, residents asked representatives from the
East Bay Municipal Utility District, which owns the reservoir, critical
questions. For instance, they wanted to know the date of the last thorough
inspection of the reservoir and if any major leaks have been reported.

EBMUD officials said they would need at least two weeks to gather
information. But since the mid-June meeting, residents say they have not
heard from the agency.

EBMUD is still gathering information, some of which dates back several
decades, EBMUD spokesman Charles Hardy said.

Hardy said City Councilmember Nancy Nadel (West Oakland-Downtown), a former
EBMUD board member, has filed a public information request to get EBMUD
documents on the reservoir. The neighborhood is in council President Ignacio
De La Fuente's district. The Oakland Tribune also has filed a public records

Perlmutter said he is concerned about possible flooding in the same area
from Sausal Creek, calling it a "a critical mess."

But an engineer from the Alameda County Flood Control District said
residents do not need to be concerned about a possible flood there.

"The landslide has caused some upheaval in the creek, but it has not blocked
the entire creek," said Hank Ackerman, the flood district's principal civil

Ackerman said maintenance crews inspected the creek's box culvert June 29
and found a crack in the culvert, a manmade structure to control the flow of
creek water. But it does not pose a structural threat, he said.

Because of the landslide, soil has been pushed up from the creek bed, and
several trees have fallen into the creek, he said.

As for Perlmutter's house, he says he will probably schedule dismantling the
first week of August, but he noted a topographical study needs to be done
before the house is taken down.

Contact Momo Chang at mchang at angnewspapers.com.


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