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Bluff remains unstable

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The cliffside erosion north of several Cypress Circle homes continues as another slide took out an estimated 10 feet of property and more trees last week.

Several trees were cut down to stumps and others removed to try stemming the erosion that began Feb. 1.

"If a tree is hanging over the bluff, it tears off the soil above it. Normally trees hold the bluff together, but these don't protect it and needed to come out," said David Hanna, Northwest Territories geotechnical engineer.

The land is in the commons area of Monterra, owned jointly by homeowners. The subdivision is northwest of Sequim.

The collapse began Monday morning, Feb. 1, and took out an estimated 2,000 square feet of the bluff along with trees, a bench, decorative windmill and rose hedges.

Cypress Circle resident Roger Huntman said the most recent slide, which began north of his neighbor's house to the west, shook the house and took out another tree. New cracks in the soil are visible near the cliff's edge.

Roger's wife, Virginia, said the only thing keeping her together is having a part-time job to occupy some of her time.

People have been very supportive, including her manager and others she barely knows but who have read about their situation, she said.

Hanna has told residents to stay behind yellow warning tape and let the bluff settle.

A bluff typically will erode three to six inches a year, so if this one lost 10 feet at once, it probably was accumulation from past years, he said.

Hanna and a Department of Natural Resources representative plan to attend today's homeowner association meeting to discuss the issue.

"We're going to meet with them to educate the association on how to live on bluffs," he said.

"When people understand it, they are a lot more comfortable

"We try to figure out the next big slide because at some point the house loses its value. We're not going to take chances with anyone getting hurt or killed."



Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.

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