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Heavy rains cause mudslides, close roads

rushing water

Rushing water coming off hill behind the Hollywood Schoolhouse refused to make the right-hand turn into the culvert down 148th Avenue NE, choosing instead to flood property across the street.


Vehicles plunged through the deluge coming down from Hollywood Hill in front of the Old Schoolhouse. Crews closed the road a few hours later as the torrent increased and flooded properties across the street.


County work crews erected a gravel and stone berm, four feet high in this case, along several hundred yards of 148th Thursday night to keep the floodwaters to one side of the road.
Photos by Jeff Switzer/Woodinville Weekly.

heavy rains by Jeff Switzer, staff reporter
Heavy rains, combined with the steep slopes and development of the Hollywood Hill area, caused mudslides and flooding near the Old Hollywood Schoolhouse last Thursday, making it necessary to close the road between downtown Woodinville and the Schoolhouse.
   Jack Gundersen's property lies across the street from the Schoolhouse, directly in the path of the culvert through which water continued to flow through Friday. As much as five inches of alluvial silt, rocks, and pebbles, along with thousands of gallons of water, rushed down through the culvert and across the street onto Gundersen's property before county crews brought in gravel and sand to redirect the force of the water.
   "This is the third time this has happened since 1990," Gundersen said. He said this year's flood is the worst, however. "It was just a sheet of water, all over the property, dumping gravel and about five inches of silt everywhere and in the garage."
   Gundersen said he had to break down part of the wooden fence next to his house to let the water pass through, as the house and fence formed a dam, collecting the force and the volume of the water.
   He said that earlier in the day, when the water was covering the road but not entering the properties, King County Public Works crews drove by frequently without stopping, waving to Gundersen, his neighbor Art Yeoman, and Jim McAuliffe, who owns the Hollywood Schoolhouse.
   Several county workers on the scene later said this should never have happened. "We could have had this protective berm built at 8 o'clock this morning," said one worker after the damage already was done.
   The water flows off Hollywood Hill, runs behind the Schoolhouse, and makes a right turn down 148th Avenue NE. The water once flowed down to the Sammamish Slough, but after the Little League ballfields were built, it was redirected.
   As for the road closure, 148th Avenue NE and 140th Place NE into Woodinville were closed through Friday, and traffic was rerouted over Hollywood Hill and along SR-202.
   Thursday night's commute was a parking lot extending from the intersection by McCorry's in Woodinville to Redmond. Traffic problems were compounded on Friday as 148th/140th remained closed and the main signal in downtown Woodinville decided to stop working, backing up traffic the length of the valley.