Mudslide causes city to red-tag two homes

This house on San Juan Boulevard was damaged by a mudslide. Post photo by Emily Mibach.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Part of San Juan Boulevard in Belmont will remain closed until the middle of next week at the earliest due to a mudslide that has caused two homes to be red-tagged, City Manager Afshin Oskoui told the Post.

The hillside at 2847 San Juan Blvd. gave way on Saturday. No one was injured but the residents of 2843 and 2846 must stay elsewhere as their homes are red-tagged. Also, San Juan between Cipriani Boulevard and Monte Cresta Drive will be closed for the next seven to ten days in order to let everything dry out, Oskoui said.

The slide came after days of near-constant rain, neighbor Rick Pace said the street saw a lot of water, with some backyards in the canyon neighborhood essentially turning into waterfalls – which leads to the perfect conditions for a mudslide.

Unlike a big tree coming down in the neighborhood, many residents of San Juan didn’t know about the mudslide immediately. A pair of passersby said they had driven down San Juan to run an errand and when they came back, the road was closed. Similarly, Pace was at home when the slide occurred, but didn’t hear anything. He said the slide happened slowly until the mud was pushed onto the roadway.

Oskoui said the city had geotechnical experts out to look at the slide site and they told the city to keep the hill untouched for now, as it’s holding everything else up. Once things dry out over the next week or so, the experts will come back and reassess, Oskoui said. The owners of the two red-tagged buildings must also get their properties assessed by structural engineers to see if the homes can be secured.

Although the two homes are empty and the street is closed to cars, that hasn’t stopped neighbors from coming to check out the slide.

One woman who lives above the slide area on Belmont Canyon Road, but didn’t give her name, said she’s worried about any future movement by the slide. She said the city had put tarps over some minor mudflows that had occurred along Belmont Canyon.

Oskoui said the city had responded to a few mud and debris flows over the weekend.

Pace was out with a handful of neighbors who were people and traffic-watching. San Juan is usually a busy road, connecting some of the city’s hilliest parts with Ralston Avenue. The traffic hasn’t lessened due to the slide, Pace said there are a lot of “lookie-loos” coming down the street to see the slide. Others simply haven’t heard the news, and since there is no sign at the top of San Juan warning people of the road closure, it can lead to multiple cars having to turn around in the middle of the road.

Below are additional photos from the mudslide area on San Juan Boulevard taken by the Post’s Emily Mibach.