Yesterday, January 3, 2023, at 5:23 PM, I received an email from Tom Leader, a landscape architect and former Richmond Design Review Board member, alerting me to a potential geologic hazard on the slope above the Seacliff development. From the photos, it was clear to me that the hillside was moving. I immediately contacted City Manager Shasa Curl, who sprang into action to have the threat evaluated and those at risk protected.
I visited the site at about 9:00 PM last night to verify conditions.
Figure 1 - Photo by Tom Leader
Figure 2 - Photo by Tom Leader
Figure 3 - Photo by Tom Leader
Even though night had fallen, City first responders were quickly on the scene. City Manager Curl called in Cal Engineering & Geology Inc., who recommended evacuation of 15 homes below the incipient slide, and the Richmond Emergency Operations Center was activated to support the incident. Arrangements were made to house residents who had no other options in an Emeryville hotel.
The city manager, City staff and technical consultants were up all night dealing with the crisis, and in the morning, W.R. Forde, a local contractor, was on site and prepared to implement mitigation measures, including spreading plastic over the site to limit additional water intrusion into the fissures. W.R. Forde is the same company that buried the whale on a nearby beach in June of this year (A Whale of a Tale, June 9, 2022).
The following streets are closed until further notice:
- Seacliff Drive between Seacliff Way and Canal Blvd
- Seaview Drive from Seacliff Drive to Admiralty Way
- Seacliff Way from Seacliff Drive to Admiralty Way
Figure 4 - Compromised drainage structure can exacerbate water entry into the slope (Photo by Tom Butt)
Figure 5 - Preliminary diagram of potential slide area
The area where the slide is occurring is along the property line between the Seacliff Homeowners Association and East Bay Regional Parks District and involves both entities. I am very impressed with the way the City of Richmond has been proactive and taken charge while the East Bay Regional parks District is pretty much just standing around.
A geologist is on site now doing further evaluations.