Dozens stranded without power after landslide in Index

INDEX — A landslide on Mount Index River Road has left more than 80 people stranded in their neighborhood without power for days.

The slide started late last week near Sunset Falls, dumping timber, dirt and debris onto the road. It remained closed through the weekend.

Index Fire Chief Ernie Walters said private contractors are attempting to clean it up but progress remains difficult.

“It’s continuing to slide so they’re trying to make a plan of attack,” he said. “Every time they start to dig out more stuff comes down.”

Crews aim to have at least one lane open by Monday night, Walters said. In the meantime, he said, some people have walked out of the neighborhood.

The Mount Index Riversites Board, the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management and the Snohomish County Public Utility District have scheduled a meeting with residents Monday evening to discuss cleanup efforts, he said.

PUD spokesman Neil Neroutsos said the slide took out one power line Friday. If the ground continues to shift, he said, a pole is in danger of coming down.

The unstable conditions are creating safety and access issues for crews. Until the utility can resolve those issues, crews will remain unable to restore power to about 100 affected homes.

PUD officials were looking at an alternative Monday afternoon to install a new pole outside the slide area to reroute power to customers, Neroutsos said. If the utility can firm up those plans, it expects work to take place Tuesday.

Rebecca Hover, a spokeswoman for Snohomish County, said the public works department sent a geotechnical expert to Index on Monday to look at the slide and offer recommendations to the homeowners’ association.

The Department of Emergency Management is assessing residents’ needs, specifically as they relate to supplies such as food and medicine, she said.

Walters said most people in the area are prepared for a landslide with at least a week of supplies.

“These people have gone through this multiple times,” he said.

The slide is the second to hit the area in the last month.

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com.

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