Seniors and Sick Have Two Days to Move Out of Creekside Cabins Starting Today, Says Mendocino County Board of Supes

creekside cabins sinkhole and law enforcment

The sinkhole spans the entire entrance to the Creekside Cabins north of Willits. [Photo provided by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department]

The Board of Supervisors ratified a state of emergency and order to close Creekside Cabins just north of Willits yesterday, amid conflicting claims about the safety of the water.

On December 30, a sinkhole opened up outside the property, stranding about fifty residents and making vehicular access to their homes impossible. Today, the county is installing a temporary bridge to the property that will be in place for two days only, so residents can move out. After 5:00 tomorrow afternoon, the area will be closed to everyone, residents included, and staying onsite will be considered a misdemeanor.

CEO Darcie Antle reported that county Code Enforcement, Public Health, and Environmental Health had toured Creekside Cabins on Friday, January 20. “At that time, there was a number of health concerns due to sewage on the ground and running into the creeks,” she said. They submitted their findings to Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren, who declared a public health emergency.

The closure order specifies that the area is inaccessible for septic processing, garbage collection, and deliveries. Supervisor John Haschak described the situation as “tragic,” saying, “Unfortunately, it hasn’t been fixed by the private property owner…but I think everyone who has been involved has been working diligently and cooperatively to try to resolve the problem. There have been endless hours that the County and the State have put in to trying to resolve this issue. So I totally support the resolution, even though it’s very unfortunate, the situation that we’re in.”

Theresa Thurman, the property owner, told the Board she used a “honey pot” to pump the RVs, and that the leakage was treated properly, according to rules set by Housing and Community Development, the state agency that is in charge of mobile home parks. “Because I have to do what HCD tells me,” she told the Board. “I’m not governed by the County. And so I’ve never said I wouldn’t work with you, ever. I don’t appreciate that going out into the public. I don’t appreciate the fact that my water’s been treated as if it’s not okay and it’s not good, when in fact it is okay and good.”

The sinkhole spans the entire entrance to the Creekside Cabins north of Willits. [Photo provided by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department]

According to the MCSO’s Facebook post, “The Sheriff’s Office [was onsite January 20] assisting Mendocino County Social Services with outreach efforts with Creekside Cabins residents in connection with the upcoming temporary bridge project…The Sheriff’s Office is also maintaining a presence while Mendocino County Code Enforcement staff serve an inspection warrant at the location related to health and safety concerns.” [Photo from MCSO]

Zachary Rounds of the State Water Resource Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water told us in an interview yesterday that there were high levels of E.coli in the raw well water on Thursday, January 19, though the treated water for drinking showed undetectable levels of coliform bacteria. Still, the Water Board issued a boil water notice, because the treatment is not adequate to assure that the water is free of E. coli.

Thurman asked Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren about the tests. “Are you all aware that it tested negative for the treated water?” she asked. “Are you aware of that? I need to understand. Dr. Coren, are you aware of that?”

Coren told her that, “That is not my understanding.”

Zachary Rounds said that over the weekend, two consecutive tests of the raw water wells showed non-detectable levels of E. Coli. His agency was planning to downgrade the boil water notice to a precautionary boil water notice, though that had not gone out by the time the Board of Supervisors agreed to close the park. Rounds explained that because the well at the park is so shallow, it is susceptible to surface water and must be filtered and disinfected as rigorously as surface water before it can be used for drinking. However, the water treatment system at Creekside Cabins does not provide that level of treatment, which is why boiling the water is still considered an advisable precaution.

A county press release that went out last night stated that, “The confirmed prevalence of E. coli in the drinking water and the existence of sewage water on the ground of the campground both present a major public health risk for the community in the affected area.” And Haschak told us the drinking water was only one of many factors leading to the closure. Another is the lack of access.

The county only has a two-day permit from CaltTrans to install the temporary bridge to allow the residents to move out. The cost of installing and removing the bridge, and having two people on traffic control 24-7, is approximately $250,000.

Supervisor Ted Williams asked Thurman what her plan for fixing the sinkhole is, and she told him the sinkhole is on CaltTrans property. We were not able to confirm the status of the property ownership and encroachment permits by our deadline.

“Is the sinkhole on your property?” Williams asked Thurman.

“No,” Thurman said. “It’s on, actually, state highway public right-of-way property…So if the encroachment permit is on their property, then they’re the ones that need to fix it.”

Williams opined that, “I think this would be between the property owner and CalTrans. I don’t think the county is a party. The county doesn’t own any of the land involved.”

County Counsel Christian Curtis told the Board that he, too, has spoken to state agencies, and that the outlook for repairing the sinkhole is not immediate. “Our understanding has been that there was a brief opportunity, sort of at the beginning, while the storms were still happening, for the property owner to obtain certain emergency permits that would have allowed for the repair and restoration of access to the property,” he reported. “Our understanding is also that that window has probably passed, and that because of the steelhead spawning season, even if the property owner is to take action here, we’re likely to not see any permitted access to the property for a minimum of about six months.”

Danilla Sand, the Director of United Disaster Relief of Northern California, implored the Board to give residents more time to move out. “Keep in mind, 90% of these folks are on SSI, SDI, and/or Social Security,” she said. “Seniors with their whole lives’ belongings, will not be able to pack up everything in less than two days. Some residents have not registered their trailers because they thought the trailer would stay permanently. Now in order to move into an RV park, the trailer needs to be in their name with current registration and be able to move down the highway or be hauled at $150 an hour. There is more than one person there currently in the hospital who will not be able to drive out their vehicles or pack their homes. This is a six-month minimum job, not a two-day job.”

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Give them a chance
Guest
Give them a chance
13 days ago

That’s awful! These poor people. 2 days is not long enough to move everything they own. They are elderly and disabled and one of them is in the hospital. This makes no sense. The least they could do is give them a few weeks or even a month. 2 days is absurd!

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
12 days ago

Absolutely cruel
ALSO, by California law the landlord may be responsible for all relocation costs. If there is even one mobile home in the park then she would be responsible for paying all tenants’ rent where ever they can move to for I think 3 months.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2022 California Mobile Home Park law, including the Recreational Vehicle Park Occupancy Law; https://mobilehomes.senate.ca.gov/sites/mobilehomes.senate.ca.gov/files/2022_mrl_pdf.pdf
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
I would think any good lawyer would be able to extract some money out of all this if they’d give their time. This is just horrible.

Last edited 12 days ago by Lynn H
Volunteer Fire Fighter
Guest
Volunteer Fire Fighter
12 days ago

Absolutely disgusting treatment of these poor people. Keep it simple, be helpful. Make things possible, not impossible.

Steve Koch
Guest
Steve Koch
13 days ago

Many thanks for the follow-up to this fascinating story. Sounds like this trailer court’s going to be dead for at least 6 months.

Mike Morgan
Member
Mike Morgan
13 days ago

Seems like there’s something more we’re not being told… The County could be more humane to the residents while not necessarily letting the landlord off the hook.

Guest
Guest
Guest
13 days ago

The easement does not change the ownership nor the duty to maintain the culvert. If the owner were interested in providing the services for which she agreed to do by collecting rent, she could fix first then sue CalTrans if she really thinks it’s their responsibility for unusual reasons.
I think maybe the poor residents are being caught as pawns in a game of financial chicken.

Guest
Guest
Guest
13 days ago
Reply to  Guest

I would beg to differ…

I believe the property owner would be explicitly prohibited from doing any work within the States easement and/or right of way, whatsoever, including the maintenance of the culvert…

That responsibility, I believe, would fall solely on the State….(CalTrans)…

If CalTrans dropped the ball, they should be the ones held liable…

Of course, they will never admit that…

Ultimately, they could be required to reimburse Mendocino County as well… 🤷‍♂️

Steve Koch
Guest
Steve Koch
13 days ago
Reply to  Guest

That is my experience when working on drainage pipes, you can’t work on drainage pipes in easement area even though it is on your property.

Guest
Guest
Guest
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Koch

They need a permit but still it’s the owners obligation to get and do the work. “An encroachment permit will be required to conduct work within the Caltrans right of way,” a Caltrans representative wrote to The Voice on Thursday morning. “Our Permits office has been in contact with both the property owner and their contractor since Saturday, Dec. 31 to assist and expedite any permits needed. To date, Caltrans has not received a permit application for this location.”
https://mendovoice.com/2023/01/sinkhole-cuts-off-vehicle-access-for-dozens-in-willits-12-days-and-counting-we-feel-like-weve-been-forgotten/

I like stars
Guest
I like stars
13 days ago

Slumlords are despicable. Their selfish (in)actions devastate the lives of tenants. The fat cat slumlord doesn’t give a rat’s ass about her tenants. To her they are human livestock, nothing more than a source of income.

Permanently on Monitoring
Guest
Permanently on Monitoring
13 days ago
Reply to  I like stars

Landlords run businesses.

The owner of the Private Property and I agree, it’s a CalTrans problem, and the State of California must provide proper egress.

It’s sad how many people live under these conditions, right next to the Highway and with few options.

In Lakeport, they are building Senior and Disabled Housing, and low income housing exists from Williams on up. Get on the lists, as things can change suddenly…

It’s obvious that some people won’t leave without a police escort or an Ambulance, and we should be calling this one more emergency expense from the recent storms…

CalTrans should get on this, as the longer they wait, the more it will cost.

Mendocino Mamma
Guest
Mendocino Mamma
13 days ago
Reply to  I like stars

It’s a situation that has so many different convoluted turns to it you wouldn’t believe it. The property the trailer park is on is actually State Park property. The right to charge rent in the first place is questionable. County spends so much time chasing everything on Google Earth as far as the marijuana grows but they aren’t paying attention to property lines when properties are being sold. When surveys are being conducted. It was known that these trailers were over the line, the property boundaries went right down the middle, 40 years plus no matter. Now it is everyone’s matter.

Mendocino Mamma
Guest
Mendocino Mamma
13 days ago

Calling all haulers the next few days you got a few hours to donate to people in need. Please do so. As far as everybody passing the Hot Potato around it’s a big mess. The maps clearly have different boundaries and it’s not on Teresa’s parcel with her cabin, the only parcel she controlled which wasn’t the trailer park but that’s another story in itself. No amount of circle talk is going to change the situation for anyone if you got a heart get out there and help some people get their stuff moved. Turn HOPELESS to HOPE. Whatchagot??? ❤.

Local
Guest
Local
12 days ago

♥️😇♥️ Beautiful! My centiments exactly.
Very well said.
🙏 🙏 🙏 🙏 🙏 🙏 🙏 🙏 🙏

Tim
Guest
Tim
13 days ago

So the state of California is discharging sediment into the steelhead spawning area? Where is Fish And wildlife? The California Water Board? It’s going to discharge even more sediment next rain. Do these agencies actually care about the fish?
It appears it’s a legacy impact on state owned property. Where are the fines to the state of California?

Mendocino Mamma
Guest
Mendocino Mamma
13 days ago
Reply to  Tim

Agreed anybody had a chance yet to drive by and look at the hack job. I understand that its being done on a time crunch, but boy what a huge mess. I wonder how long it’s all going to take to settle and the creek to clear after the work is done and the bridge is taken out?

Lawrence Jetboat
Guest
Lawrence Jetboat
13 days ago
Reply to  Tim

The Steelhead are just an excuse for inaction. Everyone’s still getting their paycheck while they wait and “monitor”.
I just cannot believe THIS is the solution to this problem. Punish the poorest, and least able adapt. Misdemeanors to those unable to leave!? There’s a trailer park in purgatory for some of these “Public Servants”. All the alleged problems were in existence before the culvert blew out. The landlord didn’t blow it out on purpose. She can survive without rent money easier than these tenants can find a new place to move.
$250,000!? An insulting sum to the tenants who will be struggling on their limited income. $250,000 divided by 48 hrs: $5,208 PER HOUR! AYFKM!? What planet do these County representatives live on?

Tim
Guest
Tim
13 days ago

My point was directed at the state, they fine fine private property owners exorbitant fees for discharging sediment in the creek. But when they do it it’s OK
It would Obviously be less sediment to fix it now and it would probably save some steelhead

Money for the select few, USA wealth for free!
Guest
Money for the select few, USA wealth for free!
13 days ago

Recall she refused the selection of a company who would repair the damage. Says something about her. But I bet she is still demanding rent from the renters. American Capitalism that caused 99% of the Country’s wealth scuffed up by one% of the rich. That one% owns America and the cost of living here! And Conservative Republicans want to raise the price of gas and pass bills to increase the tax burden on the Middle Class. And get ready for the Republican Congress to reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits.

New York Times:  Congressional Republicans would continue the big handouts they’ve given to the richest Americans and largest corporations and implement a Middle-Class Tax Increase. Congressional Republicans’ plan will increase middle-class families’ taxes an average of nearly $1,500 this year alone and take $100 billion out of the hands of middle-class families each year.” 

lol
Guest
lol
12 days ago

The democrats are only slightly better. In the end the DNC will always go with a moderate, corporate friendly neoliberal.

Learn to be an political activist.
Guest
Learn to be an political activist.
12 days ago
Reply to  lol

I agree with you. But if there is fault it is with us. The Constitution states “Government BY the PEOPLE”. Too many make excuses for not voting. Too many citizens do not get involved in elections. Too many Americans feel they don’t have the time or motivation to be more responsible for Government. We should be the supervisors of the elected. There is power in numbers. If a majority of voters spent time researching what elected representatives are doing and sent emails, letters, phone calls, visiting when Representatives visit the community and make your concerns known the elected would understand what we expect of them. But the elected have no active supervisors. We elect them and then we don’t do any connecting with them. At your employment what do you think your fellow employees would be doing if there wasn’t a boss to answer to. The only time you would go to the job site is to pick up your employment check. Work only get done if there is somebody supervises the workers. It has little to do with party’s.

Ernie Branscomb
Guest
Ernie Branscomb
13 days ago

The far most practical thing to do is declare an emergency and fix the damn culvert. It sounds to me like it should be easy enough.
“We’re the government, We’re hear to help you”… My ass! All the government does anymore is make ridiculous conflicting rules that make anything impossible to deal with. It always ends up in at least a three way fault blaming and finger pointing contest.
As a society, we can’t even deal with a small rainfall. What the hell would happen if we had another “real” flood like 1964?
Those poor people that live there are doing the best that they can do! Poor people have poor ways! They need help, not more damn rules!
Fix the culvert… NOW.

Farce
Guest
Farce
13 days ago

I agree. The county has arrived with a plan to punish these poor people even more- and at great taxpayer expense! What the heck!!

Guess
Guest
Guess
13 days ago

Amen brother

Lawrence Jetboat
Guest
Lawrence Jetboat
13 days ago

Ernesto! Dude, we could go buy a truck and excavator, for the contract, and we wouldn’t even have to fix anything! We keep the bridge! I wonder who gets the contract? I wonder how many degrees of separation will exist between County administrators, politicians, and the contractor.

Ernie Branscomb
Guest
Ernie Branscomb
13 days ago

Yep! we would have fixed it as soon as the water went down. A rail car bridge sounds the most practical. Within a week at most.
The slumlord lady may be the Wicked Witch of the West, or maybe a saint, for all that I know To deal with trying to help poor, and in some cases, unappreciative people, would be a very difficult job. Anyone criticizing her simply doesn’t understand the the task of providing a safe park for their trailers. How they maintain their trailers is on them. And, unfortunately they are too poor and disabled to do much to help themselves.
The truly bad people are the government agencies that can run up enormous costs at taxpayers expense. They are doing more to justify their agencies existence than to HELP anyone.
What they are doing in this case seems cruel and unjustified by common sense.

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
12 days ago

Absolutely cruel.

Jeffersonian
Guest
Jeffersonian
13 days ago

Spot on Ernie

Steve Koch
Guest
Steve Koch
13 days ago

Yeah, fixing the culvert immediately is the obvious solution. Building a bridge is not a permanent solution because there will just be continued washout that sooner or later attacks 101. The biggest issue is they can’t seem to figure out who is responsible for fixing it (i.e. it may not be the trailer court owner, it may be the state).

Gazoo
Guest
Gazoo
13 days ago

Screw The gov. It’s time for the people to step in and help a fellow human out.
Loggers could have fixed that problem in 4 hours (temp of course) the gov will take 6-12 months and most of that is just paperwork bs.
I live in fortuna and don’t have the proper equipment to help out. It’s gonna take a community effort to make this work. LFG!!

Xebeche
Guest
Xebeche
13 days ago

The cruelty here is appalling. But this is exactly why there re so many homeless elders & veterans in Amerika. NO ONE IN GOVERNMENT CARES.

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
12 days ago
Reply to  Xebeche

And mass shooters. Remember the guy in the trailer park up north that was being evacuated because of poor maintenance? He strapped himself to a propane tank and threatened to blow everyone up.He lost everything including his mobile home he’d bought, fixed and lived in for 20 or 30 years.
There’s a new report/study out saying 50% of mass shooters are financially insecure and housing insecure.

Entering a world of pain
Guest
Entering a world of pain
13 days ago

Disgraceful

Misterdee
Guest
Misterdee
13 days ago

Thurman sounds like a real piece of work. Hope there are consequences….

Guest
Guest
Guest
13 days ago

If the culvert is within the cal trans 101 right of way easement, it would follow that CalTrans installed it originally…

That also means it was their responsibility to repair it in the first place…

CalTrans probably would prefer it if the liability for that encroachment easement, for ingress and egress off of and onto 101, was terminated and/or revoked…

Then, instead of having to replace the culvert and crossing, they could just install a guard rail and call it good…

Problem solved…

Except..

The property owner might be entitled to a significant settlement for financial damages, because the culvert and crossing, crucial for her business, wasn’t maintained properly, nor was it repaired in a timely manner…

Why Mendocino would be footing the bill for a state responsibility area is beyond me, other than they have an uncanny propensity for needlessly pissing away tax monies…

Mendocino Mamma
Guest
Mendocino Mamma
13 days ago
Reply to  Guest

Yes that is definitely some of the situation. There’s also another huge layer of if there’s children or adults that are detained during this the county stands to make a lot of money in their little APS CPS coffers. So that black cloud is hanging over all of the residents heads as well. We judge you to be homeless, dirty, your a scummy junkie and you can’t have your kids or elders.

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
12 days ago

OMG. Hadn’t thought of it going that far. That would be plain evil.

thetallone
Guest
thetallone
13 days ago

“though the treated water for drinking showed undetectable levels of coliform bacteria”…if it’s undetectable, how did they detect it? It’s undetectable.
I agree with Ernie-get a culvert in there and solve the problem. But that would be too simple.

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
12 days ago
Reply to  thetallone

If the county lied about that, what else have they lied about?

Bozo
Guest
Bozo
13 days ago

Hope somebody takes a photo of the $250K bridge.

Steve Koch
Guest
Steve Koch
12 days ago
Reply to  Jen

Really interesting article.

“When asked by 5th District Mendocino County Supervisor and board chairman Ted Williams what her plan was for fixing the access road, Thurman said the sinkhole was not on her property, but was on “state highway, public access right-of-way,”

When asked Wednesday morning to respond to Thurman’s assertion that the sinkhole was the state’s responsibility to address, Caltrans spokesman Manny Machado said he was researching the question and expected to provide a response from the agency.

In a press release sent Tuesday evening, county officials announced that the “Board of Supervisors met during closed session to discuss the Creekside Cabins property (and) voted unanimously to direct County Counsel to initiate litigation against Houser Holdings LLC, and property owner Teresa Thurman, to address ongoing hazardous conditions at the site. While investigating the site and providing evacuation services, County staff have witnessed illicit discharge of sewage material into the adjacent waterway, and have subsequently contacted the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which will investigate the site for criminal violations.”

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
12 days ago
Reply to  Jen

Some of the residents should chain themselves to it and bring in the major news stations. Major news stations are one of the only things that would change this situation.

Last edited 12 days ago by Lynn H
Doug kenyon
Guest
Doug kenyon
11 days ago
Reply to  Lynn H

They did last night stood by the bridge so they couldn’t park the escavator in front of it. They had all kinds of sheriffs there and highway patrols. They were going to shut the bridge down and take it out in the morning. The only thing is family’s were still inside They only allowed one guy to tow the trailers over the bridge no one was allowed to tow their own trailer. When that guy couldn’t get all the trailers out by 5pm. They were just going to close up and take the bridge anyway. The people were ready to be towed standing by their trailers its not like they were not ready to go. They should have had more than one tow truck for like 40 trailers. Lucky they did stop them from blocking the bridge while they were there a woman had a medical emergency inside the park an ambulance had to cross the bridge to get to her and take her out. If they would’ve blocked it at 5pm. Like they normally do she could’ve been way worse off. They couldn’t have gotten to her.

Guess
Guest
Guess
12 days ago
Reply to  Jen

250k for that skinny bridge and a flagger! Is it made of rhodium?

MJ
Member
MJ
13 days ago

I’d like to hear more about her charging rent for trailers that were not on her property, that in itself doesnt seem right! add it to the list

Doug kenyon
Guest
Doug kenyon
11 days ago
Reply to  MJ

I guess only owns the lower 2 levels from what I hear the 3rd level is supposedly state land there was 15-20 trailers on the 3rd level

HotCoffee
Guest
HotCoffee
13 days ago

Who is getting the contract to install the 2-day bridge?
No Atty willing to step forward and represent the victims?

Last edited 13 days ago by HotCoffee
Guest
Guest
Guest
13 days ago
Reply to  HotCoffee

Wylatti.

HotCoffee
Guest
HotCoffee
13 days ago
Reply to  Guest

Could KOA or the Fairgrounds assist in RV hookups, in exchange for the amount of rent being paid to the slumlord, temporally?

trout fisher
Guest
trout fisher
13 days ago

Two days is not enough to move, there is unreasonableness on both sides. If it actually is a caltrans right of way, then caltrans needs to take some responsibility

Volunteer Fire Fighter
Guest
Volunteer Fire Fighter
12 days ago

Disgusting, is all I can think of.

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
12 days ago

For all of us with some time on our hands, here’s an easy way to possibly help.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

State Senator Mike McGuire Eureka Office: Phone: 707-445-6508 Santa Rosa office; Phone: 707-576-2771 Sacramento Phone: 916-651-4002 [email protected]
Assemblymember Jim Wood Mendocino:Tel: (707) 463-5770 Capital (Sac) office Tel: (916) 319-2002 or email https://a02.asmdc.org/contact
Darcie Antle Chief Executive Officer of Mendocino County Phone: (707) 463-4441 [email protected]
Mendocino Board of Supervisors: Phone: (707) 463-4221
Supervisor John Haschak (707) 513-6166
Supervisor Ted Williams https://ted.net/#contact +1 707 937 3500 (Cell, Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp)
8605 Santa Monica Blvd PMB 69975, West Hollywood, California 90069-4109 US   Facebook Messenger [email protected]
email; [email protected]
Zachary Rounds of the State Water Resource Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water;
(707) 576-2733 email [email protected]
Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren [email protected] OFFICE (707) 472-2777 or (707) 456-3800
Christian M. Curtis County Counsel 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1030 Ukiah, CA 95482 Phone: (707) 234-6885
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
and for those willing to help;
Danilla Sand, the Director of United Disaster Relief of Northern California, Danilla Sands at [email protected] or call (707) 489-3970.

Better late than never I suppose. Should have done this earlier.

Doug kenyon
Guest
Doug kenyon
11 days ago
Reply to  Lynn H

Thank you for the info very much appreciated. I will be contacting everyone of them.

Lynn H
Guest
Korina42D
Member
Korina42
12 days ago

What a horrible situation. Is the county doing anything to help these people get moved and re-settled? Social services? Anything?

Myra Beals
Guest
Myra Beals
11 days ago

This entire situation is disgusting! Government wrings it’s hands daily over the “homeless ” crisis, but is doing nothing to allow these people to remain in their homes. What can we as concerned citizens do to prevent this outrage? Is it even legal to force them to leave? Why is the County not providing clean water and waste removal, filling the sinkhole and suing the owner to recoup their expenditures? Count Supervisors – What say you?
.