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Landslide destroys Maxwelton back yard

A mudslide along with two evergreen trees wrecked the back yard of a Maxwelton Beach home on Jan. 22. Water damage to the yard stemmed from a heavy rainstorm that produced over two inches of rain on Jan. 21-22.  - Evan Thompson / The Record
A mudslide along with two evergreen trees wrecked the back yard of a Maxwelton Beach home on Jan. 22. Water damage to the yard stemmed from a heavy rainstorm that produced over two inches of rain on Jan. 21-22.
— image credit: Evan Thompson / The Record

A recent mudslide caused havoc in the back yard of a Maxwelton Beach home and contributed to widespread flooding through the neighborhood.

Two evergreen trees, along with heavy debris and rain water, crashed into a homeowner’s back yard during the Jan. 22 mudslide. The event occurred at 3 a.m. on Maxwelton Road across from Dave Mackie County Park. Though more than a week has passed, the yard remains littered with pieces of trees, debris and water at least 1-foot deep.

“I thought it was thunder,” said homeowner Deane McGee, referring to the noise of the trees and mud barreling down the hill.

Area residents blame the mudslide on an upland neighbor on Swede Hill Road; they claim the homeowner cut down trees to improve a waterfront view. The homeowner is located directly above the mudslide. The Record only learned about the incident on Friday, and details and fault could not be confirmed by press time.

Shawn O’Neill, a resident in the neighborhood, said the recent rainstorms on Whidbey Island, which generated over two inches of rain Jan. 21-22, may also have been a factor in the mudslide. Residents are also angry with Island County workers whom they say haven’t adequately supervised the repair and drainage of the area.

Rain water has saturated over a dozen areas around the neighborhood as a result of poor drainage by the county, residents claim. Two pumps were provided by Island County Public Works to combat the problem; water is currently being drained and fed into Puget Sound. The pumps run across McGee’s property.

“I went to talk to (Island County workers) and they go, ‘Really, that’s all we can do because it’s private land,’ ” O’Neill said.

Connie Bowers, assistant county engineer, said the area has been prone to flooding over the years and the county has been working to reroute the flows of water. She also said the pumps provided by the county are meant to be community-run. The county trains the community on how to use and maintain the pumps. The community is required to provide gas for the pumps.

 

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