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Soaked soil gives way, landslides reported across Puget Sound region

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RENTON, Wash.—Thursday saw a new round of landslides, many causing major problems for drivers all over Puget Sound.

There were three landslides in Renton alone and the danger remains extreme for many of Western Washington.

Piles of mud, rocks and trees littered both westbound and one eastbound lanes of SR 169.

“I have thought about this before when I’ve driven passed on this road here because I live very close by,” said diverted driver Theresa Lacktorin.

City officials said the same hillside was studied extensively after the Oso disaster. Gregg Zimmerman told Q13 News the city believes the hill is sturdy and deployed an engineer to probe the ground in a neighborhood above the slides.

“We don’t expect any major slides to happen on this hillside,” he said.

But smaller, superficial slides like these have happened before and will happen again especially when heavy rains soak the ground.

“It’s a little scary right now,” said Puyallup homeowner Tim Snyder.

More earth moved in Pierce County and fell onto East Pioneer Way.

Snyder’s house sits above the slide and he knows how saturated the ground is.

“It started to move,” he said. “You could see the grass and berry vines slide out from underneath. So I took off quickly and left.”

Earlier on Thursday on I-90, more than a dozen cars got stuck after this mudslide blocked westbound lanes for hours.

But as long as the landslide risk remains extreme, Snyder said he’s ready for some dry weather.

“I’m ready for spring,” he said. “Summer can’t get here soon enough.”