Ty Swenson
Adrian Johnson inspects the mudslide that damaged his minivan (since towed away) in the early morning hours of Jan. 9 on the 2400 block of 55th Ave S.W., just south of Alki Beach.

Alki area mudslide takes out a van

Between 4 and 5 a.m. on Jan. 9 heavy rains were too much for a steep slope on the 2400 block of 55th Ave S.W., just south of Alki Beach, causing a mudslide that pushed one neighbor’s minivan across the street.

Luckily, Adrian Johnson’s minivan suffered the only injury in a slide that brought massive amounts of mud, roots and trees down into the roadway, blocking off the street completely.

Johnson, who has lived across from the hill for seven years, said he has seen the slope slide four times (including this one), prompting him to get full insurance coverage on the van he always parks on the road.

He woke up around 4:30 that morning to the sound of a neighbor banging on his wall. He stepped out and, sure enough, the insurance premiums and his $100 deductible paid off.

Johnson said while he slept through this most recent slide, he’s witnessed others in the past and described the sound as a “roar” combined with snapping branches.

Marybeth Turner with Seattle’s Department of Transportation said they are still trying to figure out who is responsible for cleaning up the slide: the city or the property owner selling the slide-prone land. She said SDOT is currently checking with the Department of Planning and Development to figure that out.

In the meantime, expect the 2400 block of 55th Ave S.W. to be partially closed off in upcoming days.

As Johnson looked up where the slope used to be (and down to where it currently resides in front of his house) he joked that whoever ends up buying the land better be prepared to invest in a “million dollar retaining wall.”

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