Massive Landslide at bottom of Rattlesnake Grade

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New information now on that massive landslide that shut down part of Highway-129 south of Anatone. Right now 129 is open to one lane with a pilot car leading traffic through the mud covered road. The stretch is from milepost four to six, north of Washington-Oregon state line.

According to the National Weather Service, it was not a flash flood but this morning’s rain was just enough to move the already saturated ground into the massive slide. To give you a perspective on where it happened, take a look at this map of Highway-129 near Boggan’s Oasis. Follow the road to the top right hand part of your screen, and at the first curve of the road, all the way to Boggans, that’s where the slide brought down trees, debris, and mud onto the road.

Just take a look at this devastation. A maintenance superintendent with the Washington State Department of Transportation at the scene tells KLEW News around 5:45 this morning (Thursday) they received a call of debris over the roadway. When they arrived they found the main part of the slide, made of hundreds of trees, deep mud, rocks, about 20 to 25 feet tall.

Here’s another perspective from the roadway. Apparently, this was the result of a flash flood early this morning. Keith, you went down there and this is video you shot today. You estimate the length of the damage about a mile and half.

"Best guess probably somewhere in the 1000s,” said Batterton. “There was a lot of willow and aspen down there that scoured that creek bottom out and took almost all of it, probably 7/8ths of the trees in there is gone"

Larry Batterton with DOT says in his 35-year career, he’s seen bad slides, but nothing of this magnitude. Also the slide took out a small bridge that went to a farm house. It was installed last year, and now it’s gone. That bridge ended up on the other side of Highway 129 and it’s intact enough that it can be salvaged.

Thank goodness no one was hurt. Again SR 129 from milepost four to six is reduced to one lane as crews clean up that slide. That area is at 200% above their average rain and snow content right now since October and that’s according to the National Weather Service.

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