Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

By CVN Staff 

Borough may drop disaster title for slump

 


The Haines Borough has been asked to rescind a request for a state emergency declaration related to sloughing of the Mount Ripinsky hillside at Lutak Road in January.

Borough manager Mark Earnest told the assembly last week that damage so far hasn’t met the threshold for a state disaster declaration. A state declaration would make the municipality eligible to receive emergency mitigation funding.

Disaster funding typically includes “widespread catastrophic damage” and an impact to the community exceeding its ability to deal with it, said Jeremy Zidek, public information officer with the state Division of Emergency Management.

“There’s been a lot of sloughing on that slope for a long time… It appeared a lot of considerations (for disaster funding) weren’t being met,” Zidek said.

Earnest told the assembly that rescinding the request wouldn’t mean the borough couldn’t potentially receive disaster funding, if further damage is assessed. He characterized the rescission as a suspension of the request.

“Suspending stops the clock. If more damage occurred there, it can be reactivated,” Earnest said.

The assembly chose to delay a decision on the matter to its March 27 meeting. Zidek said the deadline for borough action on the matter was in early April.

The borough has spent roughly $75,000 on the slippage, not including the cost of fixing damaged sewer lines.

A geotechnical report on the issue by PND Engineers of Juneau was expected late this week. A report by state engineers also is pending.

Residents Josh and Victoria Moore this week remain out of their home following separation of the garage from their house structure as a result of the slough. They moved out of their Lutak Road home Jan. 19. The detached shop owned by the Moores also is still pivoting, said Victoria Moore.

“They’re both still moving. We have to wait until spring to assess damages. Once they fix the road and the issue we can assess the damage to our house.”

A borough command center tracking the slough was shut down several weeks ago.