Weekend rain impacts local landslide

A driver in an earth mover sits idly in the rain on Trestles Drive in Santa Clarita below the backyards of the homes on Terri Drive above that are slipping down. Dan Watson/The Signal

You may not be able to see any change in the slope separating Terri Drive and Trestles Drive, but the workers who were sent there to mitigate the damage of a muddy landslide say you can hear the change as it happens:

If one were to quietly stand in a backyard for a moment, workers said Monday, they’d hear the creaking and cracking of fences moving with the slope.

The number of residences yellow-tagged by the city of Santa Clarita remains steady at five, but those who were on the scene Monday said the hill has definitely moved in recent days, which echoed statements made by multiple residents this past weekend.

An email was sent out to all affected residents Friday by Beaumont Tashjian, the general legal counsel to the Trestles Community Association, informing residents that the association’s board of directors is “aggressively investigating the cause of the slope failure.”

On Saturday, Trestles homeowner Yessica Lopez said the HOA’s correspondence was the first official word received from her homeowners association.

However, a homeowner who lives across the street said Monday she received no such notice, and remains worried about the rain expected to pour in the coming week.

Last week, Landscape Development Inc., working for the HOAs, installed multiple pumps, 40,000 square feet of plastic sheeting and 250,000 pounds of gravel on or around the slope in an attempt to provide the residents of Terri Drive and Trestles Drive a brief respite from the threat of landslides.

“We have channels, pumps and hoses to deviate any water buildup,” said Matthew Aragon, an earth services worker with Landscape Development who worked this past weekend in an effort to prevent further land shifting and destruction. “The more water sits and collects, the more unstable the ground becomes; so we’re pumping out every little puddle, no matter how small.”

Aragon added Saturday that, despite the more than 1,000 sandbags that have been deployed, the ground has yet to stabilize. However, he doesn’t anticipate any other homes being yellow-tagged.

“Our main job right now is to make sure the residents are safe,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Granados said. “This situation has much more ground shift because this is a wet year, so we’ll continue to monitor it.”

Trestles resident Livier Lopez said Sunday that if the developer and insurance doesn’t cover the damage, then she might follow her neighbors’ lead and hire a lawyer to try to find some compensation.

Even though she has been able to live in her home, Lopez said the experience has been stressful.

Each morning, she checks her backyard to determine if any more damage has been done, she said, adding Saturday’s rain caused the land to slide even more and exacerbated cracking in a wall around her backyard.

New caution tape stating “Danger Do Not Enter” now hangs at the scene, but it’s unclear who placed the tape there.

City Engineer Mike Hennawy said he double-checked with city staff and learned they did not set up the new strip of caution tape that hangs near an access road to the Trestles development. In regard to the moving hill, Hennawy said he hasn’t heard anything from the homeowners associations’ consultants since Friday.

“They’d update us with any changes,” he added.

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