BZ 121917 Landslide 02-1

Mike Meehan walks through the debris flow on the Spring Creek Road Landslide in Riverdale on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Meehan has a horse pasture and several buildings at the base of the landslide that are now buried in mud. While he is disappointed with the damage caused, Meehan and his wife say they are more concerned about what will happen in the spring when the rain and melting snow wash through the area.

The landslide demolishing homes and hearts on the bluffs of Riverdale is a tragedy for the entire community. The families displaced by the disaster need help. Nearby families also need assistance, assistance that needs to come from the city, the county and the state, assistance now, not more studies and delay (”Riverdale landslide continues to chew its way toward homes,” Jan. 20 Standard-Examiner.)

Fortunately, there is a simple and effective solution, a technique that we learned while studying for our civil engineering licenses in the 1960's — a Gabion wall. It's a technique developed in Europe over a hundred years ago, in the 19th century, but now used around the world. A properly designed and constructed Gabion wall will stop the land from sliding and can drain the subsurface water safely.

Clearly, the agencies that permitted and allowed construction on the bluffs should lead the effort to assist the families that have been put at risk by those approvals — agencies that have benefited from many years of tax income. When an agency takes it upon itself to give permission to build on obviously dangerous ground, it needs to be held responsible for the consequences.

The city, the county and the state have the duty to come together to fix this tragedy, and they need to do it now, not after years of foot-dragging and studies. Fix the problem now and decide who's at fault later. There will be many years available to study the problem and to determine whose water contributed to this collapse.

Inadequate financial planning by the city is not a proper excuse to delay fixing the problem.

The most important function of government is to serve and protect its citizens. Denying that protection is a shameful abuse. Regardless of who the moron was who approved this construction, someone in authority needs to step up and do the right thing — now.

Doug Manifold

South Ogden

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