Homes red-tagged for landslide damage

Residents at S.E. 46th Street were told to move for safety reasons.

There are between six and 15 landslides every year in Mercer Island

There are between six and 15 landslides every year in Mercer Island

A Mercer Island neighborhood at S.E. 46th Street had a major landslide on Wednesday morning, Dec. 9, due to the duration and intensity of a multiday rain event in the region. The slide involved three neighboring properties and no injuries.

The city’s lead building official traveled to the affected site to assess the damage firsthand, and determined whether the buildings involved are still safe for occupancy.

The three properties were “red tagged” as unsafe, and residents had to find alternative accommodations. The city determined that there were ongoing risks posed by the possible expansion of the landslide, information supported by the city’s GIS mapping data.

“The city has very defined protocols for these events, and staff responded quickly to the situation,” said Ross Freeman, city communications and sustainability manager.

Two of the three property owners were unaware of the incident until informed by the city, according to a press release.

“The city provides emergency services and support in these situations, and ensured that all families had access to housing elsewhere,” the release stated.

All of the involved owners began to contact State-licensed geotechnical engineers for a detailed evaluation and suggested mitigation measures.

The Island typically sustains six to 15 landslides per year, which are often exacerbated by many consecutive days of heavy rain.

Learn more about landslides and forecasting at the city’s webpage, where you can also find a landslide factsheet and landslide hazard map.

See for more.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.


More in News

Islander varsity prep sports schedules

Football March 12 - 7 p.m. at Newport March 20 - 7… Continue reading

Washington State Supreme Court Justices (back row, L-R) Raquel Montoya-Lewis, Sheryl Gordon McCloud, Mary I. Yu, G. Helen Whitener, (front row, L-R) Susan Owens, Charles W. Johnson, Steven C. Gonzalez, Barbara A. Madsen and Debra L. Stephens.
Justices strike down Washington state drug possession law

Police must stop arresting people for simple possession.

Residents show their stripes on Rare Disease Day

Nearly 100 people donned zebra masks and attire during a Rare Disease… Continue reading

Residents can follow the Leprechaun Trail through the Island business district

According to a flier, “A mischievous leprechaun left hidden shamrocks throughout the… Continue reading

FeelLinks focuses on kids’ social-emotional skills

Island native’s resource features feeling dolls and feeling journal.

In Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, which was announced Jan. 28, restaurants can reopen at a maximum 25% capacity and a limit of six people per table. Inslee recently announced all counties will be staying in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan for the next several weeks. Pictured: People enjoy outdoor dining last summer in downtown Kent. Courtesy photo
Inslee: All of Washington to stay in Phase 2 for a few weeks

The governor issued a weekslong pause on regions moving backward, but has yet to outline a Phase 3.

Mercer Island police’s top gun retires

Sgt. Noel worked for 30 years on the Island.

Entrance to the Tukwila Library branch of the King County Library System. File photo
King County libraries will reopen in some cities for in-person services

Fall City, Kent libraries among six selected for partial reopening.

Most Read