Mudslide leaves mess in Maxwelton yard

A mudslide that brought two evergreen trees and debris wrecked the back yard of a Maxwelton Beach home on Jan. 22. Water damage to the yard stemmed from a heavy rainstorm that produced over two inches of rain on Jan. 21-22.

A recent mudslide caused havoc in the backyard of a Maxwelton Beach home and widespread flooding throughout the neighborhood.

Two evergreen trees, along with heavy debris and rainwater, crashed into a homeowner’s backyard during the Jan. 22 mudslide, which occurred at about 3 a.m. on Maxwelton Road near Dave Mackie County Park.

Though more than a week has passed since the slide, the yard remains littered with pieces of trees, debris and water that’s at least 1-foot deep.

“I thought it was thunder,” said homeowner Deane McGee, referring to the noise of the trees and mud barreling down the hill.

Area residents blame the mudslide on an upland neighbor on Swede Hill Road; they claim the homeowner cut down trees to improve a waterfront view.

Shawn O’Neill, a resident in the neighborhood, said the recent rainstorms on Whidbey Island, which generated more than two inches of rain between Jan. 21 and 22, may also have been a factor in the mudslide.

Residents also expressed anger with Island County workers who, they claim, haven’t adequately supervised the repairs and drainage in the area.

Rainwater saturated more than a dozen areas in the neighborhood as a result of poor drainage by the county, the residents claim.

Two pumps were provided to the neighborhood by Island County Public Works to combat the problem; water is currently being drained and directed into Puget Sound.

The pumps run across McGee’s property.

“I went to talk to (Island County workers) and they go, ‘Really, that’s all we can do because it’s private land,’” O’Neill said.

That area has been prone to flooding over the years, but the county has worked to reroute the flow of water, said Connie Bowers, assistant county engineer.

Bowers said the pumps provided by the county are meant to be community-run.

The county trained the community on how to use and maintain the pumps. The community is required to provide gas to keep the pumps operational.