A house at 432 Beacon Hill Drive in Hoquiam — condemned after it was damaged by a landslide in 2015 — will be demolished starting around 8 a.m. today, according to the City of Hoquiam.
An email from city Building and Planning Official Lon Howell states traffic control will be in place on Beacon Hill Drive, with traffic down to one lane during the demolition. Debris will be removed Thursday and Friday.
The house was one of several damaged by landslides and flooding during a torrential storm Jan. 5, 2015. Beacon Hill Drive was closed for about two weeks after the storm, and three homes in the 2500 block of Queets Avenue below and to the east — two occupied — were hit by a slide, two knocked off their foundations. A five block stretch of Queets Avenue was closed for several days after the storm. The storm recovery efforts cost the City of Hoquiam itself an estimated half a million dollars.
The owners of the home, identified as Amy and David Chan, left the state after the slide, according to City Administrator Brian Shay. The couple offered to donate the property to the city, which the council approved at its Aug. 26, 2019, meeting. At that meeting, Shay noted the owners and others to the east had given the city easements to build an access road and new sewer pump station on the property to serve the homes that lost service after the 2015 slide took out a sewer line.
The house was considered a public safety threat, the council heard at that Aug. 26 meeting. A view from below shows the house clinging to the edge of the slide; the view from above is a little dizzying as the hillside cuts straight down to a lower section of Beacon Hill Drive. Another heavy rain event could have sent the house downhill into the roadway and posed a danger to neighboring properties, the City Council heard.
Rognlin’s Inc. provided the lowest of four bids to the city for the demolition, $17,952, which was approved by the City Council on Jan. 13.
As for options for the now city-owned property after demolition, Shay said in a report to the council that the city could consider selling the land to the adjoining property owner to recoup some of the city’s expenses or look at other potential city uses.