PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An active landslide spanning the length of two football fields continues to threaten I-84 drivers near Ontario, roughly 17 miles northwest of the Oregon Border.
The Oregon Department of Transportation announced on March 28 that road crews are attempting to contain the slide, which is roughly 200 yards long, 100 yards wide and 30 feet deep. ODOT spokesperson Thomas Strandberg told KOIN 6 News that the slide is creeping toward the eastbound side of I-84 near Wheel Gulch Road at the rate of an inch per day. If the slide were to cave, Strandberg said, it could bury all lanes of the underlying highway.
“If the hillside suddenly gave way and the material slid down to the interstate, it could bury the eastbound and possibly the westbound travel lanes,” Strandberg said. “That is why we are monitoring it regularly and are prepared to close lanes, if needed.”
Road crews have performed emergency repairs along the shoulder of the highway in hopes of preventing a disaster before contractors can do more landslide mitigation work in the area. ODOT says that it is currently collecting more data on the crescent-shaped slide, but that it suspects that slide formed as a result of soil conditions and gravity.
“We originally discovered the slide in early February after a blanket of snow covering the hillside melted off,” ODOT stated on social media. “It likely occurred sometime earlier this winter.”
If the slide does collapse onto I-84, one or all lanes of the highway could be closed for an indefinite amount of time. Drivers are advised to use extreme caution when passing through the precarious stretch of road.