Sausalito Declares Local Emergency After Mudslide

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A mudslide in Sausalito destroyed two structures and displaced 15 people on Feb. 14, 2019. (Courtesy of the City of Sausalito)

Sausalito declared a local emergency Monday morning after a mudslide tore through a neighborhood on Crescent Avenue and Sausalito Boulevard last week. The city is now eligible to receive financial reimbursement from the state and federal government for the damages.

The storms slamming the Bay Area put a strain on the hillside and caused a duplex to slide downhill into another home on Thursday, destroying both residences. About 25 people were evacuated from the hilly area above downtown and one woman was injured.

The city said it is focused on ensuring the mudslide area is stabilized and the remaining buildings are safe. It plans to appoint a contact person for the victims and will give assistance to renters and landlords who have been affected.

Sausalito received five inches of rain in the 24 hours before the mudslide occurred, according to the National Weather Service.

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"During the rainy season, particularly late in the season when we know the ground is saturated. That's the time when city staff becomes the most concerned for the potential for landslide," said Abbot Chambers, director of communications for Sausalito. "Definitely with this storm coming, we were aware that the risk was higher."

Most of the evacuees have since been able to return to their homes. Contractors worked to clear Sausalito Boulevard and Crescent over the weekend, but still have more work to do.

A section of Crescent Avenue remains closed, and it's unclear when the debris from the hillside will be removed from the street. The city stated the cleanup "is complicated by the possible presence of hazardous materials like asbestos and lead from the sheet rock, stucco, flooring, and paint of the houses that were destroyed."

The affected area of Sausalito Boulevard also remains shut off to vehicles until the roadway and slide area can be further evaluated by engineers. City staff said the road is likely to remain closed for another week.