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Loose boulders cause landslide in Troutdale


A stretch of the East Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - More than 100 truckloads of rock spilled onto the highway when the hillside broke loose at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday. A rock slide Thursday morning in Troutdale dumped about 1,000 cubic yards of debris over the East Historic Columbia River Highway just west of the Stark Street bridge.

According to ODOT officials, that's enough to fill 100 truckloads of rock.

The slide happened around 11:30 a.m. when huge boulders came loose from cliffs on the south side of the highway and fell across the entire road, taking mounds of dirt and trees with it.

Authorities are not aware of anyone being injured in the slide.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - Public safety personnel are stationed at a road block near a rock slide on the Historic Columbia River Highway just west of the Stark Street Bridge. The hillside is still unstable as represents a risk to anyone who goes near.A long stretch of the highway remains closed.

To get around the mess, drivers can follow a detour through Corbett on Woodard Road.

In an update around 3 p.m. Thursday, ODOT officials said rocks are still in danger of falling into the road.

Crews will begin clearing the debris from the road once the slope is safe and there is no risk of falling rocks.

Don Hamilton, spokesman for ODOT, said the agency is in the process of hiring a contractor to repel down the slope and pry loose rocks from the hillside.

“We can't get crews to clean-up until we are confident the hillside is stable,” Hamilton said

The work will most likely take place Friday, June 6, officials said. They do not know when the section of road will re-open.

As for the cause of slide, Hamilton said, one of the reasons is we have had a lot of freezing and thawing over the course of the winter and that probably was a contributing factor.

He said authorities had no indication the fall was going to occur.

“This has been an area we've had slide problems in the past as you can see by the fencing,” Hamilton told reporters, who gathered at the scene.

The slide tore through screens placed on the hillside to protect the road from falling rocks.

ODOT will check areas nearby to see if there are other problem spots and will address them, Hamilton said.