landslide_aptw980.jpg
Sheriff's deputies and neighbors will team up to keep curiosity-seekers out of the area of a massive slide on Whidbey Island.. (AP Photo)

Patrols will keep the curious out of Whidbey slide area

Sheriff's deputies and neighbors will team up to keep curiosity-seekers out of the area of a massive slide on Whidbey Island.

The landslide cut off access to almost 20 homes in the Ledgwood neighborhood, south of Coupeville, and residents are concerned about looters and the curious this weekend.

"There will be increased [sheriff's] patrols, they are trying to restrict the area so that just those with official capacity can access, so if you don't have an access badge this weekend, or you're not a resident, you're probably not going to be around to see the slide," said Island County spokesman Christopher Swarzen.

He said neighbors plan their own patrols. "There was a resident [Thursday night] at the community meeting who said 'You know, we can do a lot of this patrolling through the neighborhood ourselves, like a blockwatch, why can't we do that here?'"

"We want to be sure the area is kept secure and safe," said Bill Oakes, the county's Public Works Director in a statement. "We realize people are interested in seeing the slide, but this weekend we must focus on making sure the slide is stabilized."

Crews are working on improving access to homes in the slide area.

"Right now, the only access for residents is along a foot path and that is being worked on. They're widening that path so by the weekend, they should be able to get ATVs in there," said Swatzen.

Thirty-five homes were initially evacuated after Wednesday's slide. One home was destroyed and four homes are yellow tagged, meaning 'day access' only.

The slide, one of the largest in state history, pushed an 1,100 foot-long section of bluff down on to the beach and into the water on the west side of Whidbey Island.

>>>Photos of the slide


Tim Haeck, KIRO Radio Reporter
Tim Haeck is a news reporter with KIRO Radio. While Tim is one of our go-to, no-nonsense reporters, he also has a sensationally dry sense of humor and it will surprise some to learn he is a weekend warrior.
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