Documenting the Damage–The 101 Slide and Beyond

The deluge that dumped on Humboldt Co., particularly in the mountains and in the southern areas, destroyed parts of county roads and Highway 101 near Dean Creek. In addition, private driveways washed away and, in at least one case, a home is in danger of sliding off its foundation.

Diana Totten, well known for her search and rescue work, joined with Salmon Creek Fire Captain, Dan Gribi, to take Humboldt County Supervisor Clif Clendenen and Tom Mattson of the Hum. Co. Dept of Public works (County roads) on an aerial tour of the district in Gribi’s plane.  Totten hoped to gain assistance for not only county roads but for damage to private property.  Totten said,”We’re used to living in Southern Humboldt and having a tough time but it is nice to get our kids safely to schools and get to town and that isn’t happening now. People are being affected by new slides as well as historical. People are having to hike kids and groceries across moving slides. As a community, we don’t speak up a lot of time.  We’ve developed a independence here that is commendable but also there is time to get involved to bring resources here.  I’m trying to loosen that up and get some help.  Roads blowing out and our county roads in bad shape is an example of just how silent we have become.”

” The flight yesterday was to show how many things are going on around here. … A lot of local contractors have equipment and so far they are sitting idle. Things are tough all over economically.  We understand that.  A little help would go a long ways especially if we were using more local workers.”

When Humboldt County Supervisor Clif Clendenen spoke on KMUD yesterday and to the Times Standard, he asked the community to take photos and keep receipts for fixing any damage accrued as the result of the March storms even if these occurred on private property. He was impressed with the damage and saw some of the massive slides here and was particularly impressed with the largest one (1/4 mile across) near Benbow which took out a small road.  Totten explained that 10 families live beyond that road and must hike their children across the slide to vehicles they keep parked nearby.

According the the Times Standard, Clif Clendenen said “”It’s doubtful, frankly, we’ll be able to leverage any funds…But with our emergency declaration (Wednesday) and trying to document every bit of damage, we’ll get as far as we can in terms of possible state and federal reimbursement.” SoHum Awareness has a map going up to pinpoint the slides. Mikal Jakubal, film maker and volunteer firefighter, has created the map which can be viewed here in its beginning form.  Photos can be uploaded to the Facebook site. GPS coordinates are helpful (many phones provide this information) but just directions will help pinpoint the spot. You can also send them to me (

Photos were taken Sunday, March 27th by Jeri Fergus in Salmon Creek on a private part of the road.


  • In my backyard is a pile of broken up sidewalk concrete, probably enough to fill a small flatbed truck. I was going to bring it to the dump, but Jana thought that maybe someone could use it. If you want it, come to my house and help me fill up your truck.

    • Eric- fyi- if you ultimately need to get rid of it, Kernan Construction in Blue Lake (Glendale blvd) will take it for free. It may be out of your way but a free option…

  • I’ve also got about 10 yards of broken concrete for the taking as well. At my place in Briceland.

    Regarding the map, it will work best if it is more open than not. I originally set it so anyone on earth could change it, but realized it would only be a matter of time before it became chaos. Anyone who is on the current list can invite others, so anyone with photos and updates to upload should post at SoHum Awareness on Facebook or write to someone you know is on the list and ask to be invited. If you’re known to be a trustworthy local, you can be given access and add data.

    If the map is not interactive enough, it will be too burdensome for one or a few people to maintain and will become less functional. I’m trying to strike a balance between chaos and functionality.

    It takes about two seconds to see the value in this. Now, imagine if we get something like the Canoe/Honeydew fires again. What we need to do is get CalFire on board so that their media people update a similar map of the fires, closed roads, where crews are working and so on in real-time. There is no reason they can’t do this, but it might take some cajoling ahead of time. The local command center will need to get on Twitter as well, if they’re not already.

    It can work both ways in that we can create our own fire map when we hear a lightning storm is coming and then people can report strikes and fires as they see them, allowing local volunteers and CalFire to get a much quicker handle on what is happening.

  • It’s not very often that I’m thankful to be living on a rockpile with a bunch of rattlesnakes.
    And this is no April Fools!

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