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Crews scramble to halt growing slide threatening Point Richmond homes

<i>KPIX</i><br/>A crack in a hillside forced the evacuation of 15 homes in the Seacliff neighborhood.
KPIX
KPIX
A crack in a hillside forced the evacuation of 15 homes in the Seacliff neighborhood.

By WILSON WALKER

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    RICHMOND, California (KPIX) — Many communities are still cleaning up and assessing damage from the storms that have already come through, hoping the next round of weather doesn’t make things worse. One of them is Point Richmond, where a crack in a hillside forced the evacuation of 15 homes in the Seacliff Neighborhood.  It was last weekend’s big rain storm. Someone walking a trail was sharp enough to notice the crack in the hillside, and know that it was absolutely something that needed to be reported. Just about a week later now they have covered that break in the ground with a series of tarps, hoping to protect it from the next storm.

“Been working on it for quite a few days,” said homeowner Pat Prendiville said of the tarping effort. “20 mile an hour winds, it’s hard to get it down.”

Prendiville lives right beside the evacuation zone. From his backyard he can see the effort to protect a hillside that is designed to convey water.

“The water comes through from the hill, and falls down to the freshwater pond across the street,” he said. “Yeah, the pond has been pretty empty before this week.”

The evacuated streets are now empty, except for the few homeowners who were allowed to grab more belongings before a more absolute ‘stay out’ order came this afternoon.

“I guess some people decided to stay, and the fire department turned off your gas,” Prendiville said of the holdouts. “So they had to get out. It’s nice to have the police keeping an eye on things. They’re here 24 hours.”

KPIX is told by a spokesperson for the city that there are really two efforts underway on the hill. First, the covering of the problem area. They are also installing instruments that should provide a better understanding of what’s happening in the ground. Is it still moving? Is additional rain worsening the problem? When they know more about that they’ll be able to come up with some long term plans but for now, all they can do is hope that the short term fix prevents any more problems in the days ahead.

“Not sure if it will or won’t. I have no opinion on that,” Prendiville said of the work on the hillside. “I hope it does.”

So how is the work going up there? The engineering firm referred calls to the HOA. The HOA had not returned calls late Friday. The entire neighborhood is now watching the skies, waiting for the next storm, and hoping the temporary job will hold for now.

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