East Bay News

Crumbling hill threatening Hercules neighborhood

Thursday, March 31, 2011
San Pablo homeowners race to get state help   Hercules City Council declares state of emergency Hercules hill Hercules landslide

One neighborhood in Hercules is putting up barricades hoping to protect other homes from a collapsing hillside that could go at any time. The city has declared a state of emergency, as a couple of homes are the only things holding up the crumbling hill.

The watching and worrying continues in one Hercules neighborhood. The recent series of storms has caused a hillside on Carson Street to do a rotational "dance" of sorts. It's slipping and sliding in several directions, threatening to totally give way. Four homes have been red tagged, four are yellow tagged and more barricades were placed on the street in front of the homes, in case this is the day the hill collapses.

John McGuire is the chief building engineer for the city. He comes out several times a day to check on the status.

"I can't throw myself in front of it and stop it, but I feel more comfortable coming out and looking at it every couple of hours," he said.

McGuire is also in the process of drawing up a request for state assistance. On Tuesday night, the Hercules City Council voted to declare a local emergency to help homeowners get state money to shore up the hillside. McGuire says a preliminary estimate is $4 million and he is working with the city of San Pablo, which also suffered storm damage. McGuire hopes a joint request will prod the state into quicker action.

Homeowner Maria Perez hopes so too. She lives across the street from the sliding hill.

"I'm scared for my safety," she said.

Perez also wants her property tax payments decreased. She said the value has dipped more than $100,000 and her property tax payments should now reflect that.

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hercules, landslide, east bay news, carolyn tyler
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