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Landslides prompt Oregon City apartment evacuation

UPDATE: 60 more households to declared to be in dangerous buildings

OREGON CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT - Apartment complex residents are advised to evcuate in Oregon City.After continued evidence of a slow-moving landslide, Oregon City authorities are requiring residents in 60 units in the Forest Edge Apartments to leave by 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Ten households at Berry Hill Apartments in Oregon City had already evacuated their units by 5 p.m. on Monday because of landslide hazards.

The 60 units in four buildings at the nearby Forest Edge complex were previously under a voluntary evacuation. Police said that more landslide activity in close proximity to these buildings compromised the only evacuation route from the lower section of the apartment complex. After finding that the sewer and stormwater lines were compromised, the city shut off the water line to the lower complex for health concerns.

“As city staff have continued to monitor the slide activity, it has shown obvious signs of progression — the condition is getting worse,” said OCPD Det. Sgt. Justin Young. “The timing is probably pretty bad, but I would rather have them be alive at Christmas and displaced than not with us any longer.”

Two buildings in the complex at 13945 S. Beavercreek Road have been deemed dangerous and the residents were required to leave by 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21.

One building has eight apartments, and the other has two apartments.

The Oregon City Commission held an emergency meeting Sunday night at City Hall, declaring a state of emergency, as authorities enacted an action plan to help residents evacuate. For more information on those resources, visit orcity.org.

According to the city, while the Forest Edge Apartment buildings are not currently dangerous, conditions could change at any moment. In addition to the potential dangerous conditions of the buildings, access to the lower section of the apartments could be compromised by earth movement.

Oregon City officials recommended Forest Edge residents park their vehicles above the compromised section of the driveway/lot.

A temporary shelter is open at Oregon City High School beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday. Pets are welcome.

The American Red Cross is also assisting with an emergency shelter. They can be reached at 888-680-1455.

John Winquist, the president of Regency Management Inc., which manages Berryhill Townhomes and Apartments, told KOIN 6 News that plans were in place before this fall to construct a large retaining wall on the hill in question.

He said that would be a very expensive fix paid for by the landowner.

Eight one-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom apartments were evacuated, he said, affecting a total of 16 people. Most are staying at the shelter or with friends.

Those people will be getting checks on Monday that covers the rest of this month’s rent and their security deposit, Winquist said.

He added the subject of landslides is addressed when prospective tenants are shown the apartment, but there has been no danger until recently.

Apartment management is continuing to work with the city and the county, he told KOIN 6 News.