A resident uses an ATV to navigate the washed out and crumbling road bed of 260th Ave NE leading to Skyview Estate in Monroe on February 13, 2020. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

A resident uses an ATV to navigate the washed out and crumbling road bed of 260th Ave NE leading to Skyview Estate in Monroe on February 13, 2020. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Neighborhood near Monroe still scrambling after mudslide

Inspectors found new cracks in the road Thursday. The county says one home may be unsafe to occupy.

MONROE — A neighborhood east of Monroe is still scrambling for solutions a week after a mudslide cut off the only route to a public road.

Meanwhile, the estimated cost for repairs has doubled, but there’s no timeline for a fix.

The mudslide Feb. 6 broke off about half of one strip of 260th Avenue, the private road residents of Skyview Estates rely on to get to town. Cars can’t make it up or down the hill. So the 120 people who live there have to use all-terrain vehicles or walk to get to Ben Howard Road.

On Thursday, county inspectors visited and found new cracks on 260th. Officials “decided to err on the side of caution” by determining at least one home near the slide may be unsafe to occupy, according to a news release from the county Department of Emergency Management. The home was not evacuated.

The original estimate for fixing the road was $1 million, a GeoTech contractor told neighbors. It’s now $2 million, residents said.

Because 260th Avenue is a private road, the county can’t pay to fix it, according to state law.

Residents are looking at grants and other programs to help cover the cost. That won’t be enough, Howard said.

“The money we have saved and put away will go quickly,” resident John Howard said. “We know that we can’t handle this financially on our own, despite the planning that we’ve done.”

Neighbors set up an online fundraiser Tuesday. As of Thursday, 51 people have combined to donate about $4,000.

If anyone near a possible landslide hears the sound of wood cracking or another disturbance, they are encouraged to leave the area and call 911.

“We’re encouraging people who live near the slide to be extra vigilant,” said Scott North, spokesman for the county Department of Emergency Management.

All week, residents have been trying to find an alternate route for vehicles to access Ben Howard Road. That would require permits from the county and permission from neighbors whose properties would be affected.

“We have a couple irons in the fire for temporary access,” Howard said. “It seems like a couple of those options are promising, but we still need to find a permanent option.”

In the event of an emergency, Fire District 7’s all-terrain vehicle can make it up the road.

“We know that they can get to us in case of an emergency, but it’s going to take some time,” Howard said.

There are cleared spaces in the neighborhood where a helicopter could land, but that’s not the preferred method, Fire District 7 spokeswoman Heather Chadwick said.

If residents call for police, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office also has an all-terrain vehicle.

“There are a lot of challenges with this situation,” said Snohomish County Councilman Sam Low, who visited the site the morning after the slide. “I’m impressed with the community’s heart.”

Some Skyview Estates residents have to park their cars at a nearby campground off Ben Howard Road and walk up the hill to their homes.

The sheriff’s office is asking drivers on Ben Howard Road to slow down and beware of pedestrians, spokesperson Courtney O’Keefe said.

On Wednesday, residents held a community meeting. Representatives from Fire District 7, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Low also attended.

“I made it clear last night, every single person there can reach out to my office at any time,” Low said. “We want to be there for them and we want to help.”

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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