Newport Beach investigating stability of bluff after landslide damages three homes

The backyard of a blufftop home crumbled due to a landslide
Law enforcement officials, right, observe a Newport Beach home on Galaxy Drive that was red-tagged after a landslide destroyed its backyard adjacent to Upper Newport Bay.
(Susan Hoffman / Times Community News)

Cleanup efforts and geological investigations remained underway this week after a huge portion of the hillside collapsed behind a home in Newport Beach.

Firefighters responded to a 911 call around 10:40 a.m. Friday, Newport Beach spokesman John Pope said. Within a few hours, a city building inspector red-tagged the property on the 1900 block of Galaxy Drive as residents gathered their belongings and vacated.

No one was injured in the incident.

“A city geologist monitored over the weekend,” Pope said Monday. “The soil is still in motion and considered not yet stable; we don’t yet know what could happen to the house.”

A red tag appears on the front of 1930 Galaxy Drive in Newport Beach.
A red tag appears on the front of the home in Newport Beach.
(Susan Hoffman / Times Community News)

The landslide collapsed the backyard and destroyed the patio of the home.

The properties on either side of the home were also damaged. They were given a “yellow tag” status, meaning they are safe to enter with caution but may not be occupied.

Newport Beach City Councilman Erik Weigand, who was at the scene Friday, said city staffers were working with the affected residents.

“The city is supporting the homeowners during this difficult time,” Weigand said. “We are doing everything we can to help determine the stability of the hillside and assess any ongoing risk to these properties. The safety and well-being of our residents is our top priority.”

People walk outside a home with yellow caution tape surrounding it and a basketball hoop in the driveway
Crews respond on Galaxy Drive in Newport Beach after the landslide.
(Susan Hoffman / Times Community News)

One resident of the affected neighborhood told Weigand he had been growing more concerned after observing changes in the landscape, the councilman said.


“He was pretty shaken up because he knew he was just there before everything collapsed,” Weigand said. “He told me just a week or so prior his kids were playing down below [the bluff]. I remember playing down there as a kid myself. [A landslide] is not something you think of happening, but with all the rain we’ve had, it makes sense.”

The bluff collapsed into the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve, which is under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. State officials will survey the degree of damage to the bottom of the hill.

Officials have been in contact with both the homeowner whose backyard collapsed and the city of Newport Beach, said Tim Daly, spokesperson for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The backyard of a Newport Beach has succumbed to a landslide.
A Newport Beach home at 1930 Galaxy Drive, as seen from Back Bay, has been red-tagged after the backyard succumbed to a landslide.
(Susan Hoffman / Times Community News)

“At this point, I’m told there will be geotechnical experts at the scene to assess the situation. That will help determine what work happens to retain or rebuild the slope,” Daly said. “It’s just very early in the investigation and follow up, so we don’t have much more information [other] than some of the debris is on our property. We’ll be working with the city and Coastal Commission as we move forward.”

Weather will influence the speed at which the work can be done, Daly said. Another storm is forecast to possibly hit Southern California later this week.


The cause of the landslide remains undetermined until geologists investigating sample soils report back.