- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 31, 2016

SITKA, Alaska (AP) - Sitka officials are working on public safety issues after finding one area of the city is at risk for a landslide.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports (https://bit.ly/2bBQwVn ) that a Seattle-based geotechnical consulting firm released a report Monday that parts of Sitka, including an elementary school, may contain landslide hazard zones.

“It’s important we do everything in our powers to identify the risk,” said Public Works Director Michael Harmon. “Nothing is ever a guarantee, but we’re doing our due diligence to identify the risk and create a safe environment.”

City staff has asked the firm, Shannon & Wilson, for a proposal to conduct a more detailed study of the areas as well as the area above Sitka High School, including possible mitigation steps.

There is currently no budget for the study, but city staff says some of the $500,000 balance from the 2016 budget could be used to complete a detailed study that includes Sitka High.

The advisory concerns an area that many officials were not surprised to find out was at risk of sliding. When Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School was built in the 1980s the city found there was landslide debris on the site.

Last year Sitka suffered a massive landslide that killed three people and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage.

Since then the Assembly and Planning Commission has been working to study landslides and other disaster risks, and passed motions supporting the state getting money from the Federal Emergency Management Administration to complete a study on the whole town.

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Information from: Daily Sitka (Alaska) Sentinel, https://www.sitkasentinel.com/


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