Two days after a house slid off its foundation in a debris flow, the City of Bellevue is continuing work to ensure the Sunset Neighborhood area is safe for residents displaced by a flooding and a landslide to eventually return to their homes.
Seven families reportedly remain unable to enter their houses. Bellevue officials say “given the complexity of the incident, the safe and appropriate timing for their return is still unclear.”
Emergency calls came into Bellevue’s 9-1-1 center around 4 am on Monday Jan. 17 reporting water flowing down the hill and roadways in the area near 139th Place Southeast and Southeast 51st Place.
When first responders arrived on scene, one of the homes had been hit by a landslide and partially collapsed with a homeowner and pet inside. Emergency responders helped residents from that home and 15 other homes nearby to leave the area safely. Thirty people were taken to an area community center to find temporary shelter.
“We are very fortunate that no one was seriously injured and we want to keep it that way,” said Bellevue Fire Chief Jay Hagen.
Staff members from the city’s Development Services department are further assessing the safety and stability of the scene in the immediate area and working with the homeowners of the partially collapsed home to isolate and remove any hazards that remain a risk to the neighborhood such as falling debris or further sliding of the structure, with the goal of allowing as many residents as possible to return to their homes as quickly as possible.
As of Wednesday Jan. 19, seven homes remained “red tagged” in which residents were unable to return. The city says staff has been in direct contact with these impacted individuals and are working to assist them in this process.
Officials from Bellevue Utilities confirmed that an eight-inch water main was the source of the rushing water in the area but were not yet sure what led to the break in the pipe or the cause of the landslide. The city’s investigation, along with other state agencies carefully assessing the geotechnical conditions, continues and will likely take weeks, if not months, to complete.
The area near Southeast 51st Place and 139th Place Southeast remains closed to through traffic and the area in the immediate vicinity of the collapsed home is restricted. The public is advised to avoid the area until further notice.
Impacted owners and neighbors can contact Mark Heilman in Neighborhood Services if they have questions at