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June 1

6:01 a.m.: A flurry of 911 calls alerted the city to the Bluebird Canyon landslide

7:05: Emergency personnel deployed.

8:30 a.m.: Evacuation of an estimated 750-to-1,000 Bluebird Canyon residents began. Animal Service Officers were on the site to assist with pets.


10 a.m.: Disaster Centers established where donations began pouring in. City Manager Ken Frank, then-Mayor Elizabeth Schneider and Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman toured the site, condoling with dazed residents.

Noon: Council declared local disaster, required to be renewed every 21 days

5 p.m.: Every evacuee had temporary shelter. Some were allowed to return home

Water and sewer crews worked throughout the night to restore service. Gas and electricity, which had been cut off as a safety measure, were expected to be back on by Thursday morning.


? June 2

Authorities announced that the slide had stabilized, but 22 homes were determined to be too badly damaged to enter, 15 of them thought likely to be a total loss, an estimate later revised downward to 12.

An early geological assessment indicated the landslide went down about 60-to-100 below the surface. People would soon become all too familiar with words like headscarp "” the top of the slide area and slump.

2 p.m.: Evacuees of undamaged homes out of the slide area were told they could return to their homes starting at 4 p.m., escorted by emergency personnel.


June 4

Community breakfast held to support displaced families is held in Bluebird Park. An already-organized fundraiser that night for the Laguna Beach Resource and Relief Center was expanded to include the landslide victims. It was sold out.

? June 5


Retired Newport City Attorney Bob Burnham, a Bluebird Canyon resident, was asked by City Manager Ken Frank to serve as the Community Recovery Coordinator.

Displaced families began meetings at the Neighborhood Congregational Church and set goals. Schneider pledged city support.

? June 9

Families were allowed back into their damaged homes to try to salvage precious possessions. The reality brought tears to the eyes of many.

? June 17

City offered to pick up the cost of demolishing the irreparably damaged homes and removal of the debris, which had to be done before necessary “winterization" to stabilize the area could begin. Homeowners agreed to give the city their demolition insurance benefits, if any.

Emergency winterizations costs were estimated at $5 million, revised to $6.5 million in mid-July.

? June 19


Joan and Robert Power’s Bluebird Canyon Drive home was the first to be demolished.

? June 22

The Federal Emergency Management Agency declared that documentation from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in an application for financial aid did not include the technical data to link the slide to the February storms earlier that year.

? June 28

City Manager Ken Frank announced at a special council meeting at which “winterization" was approved, that the costs of permanent repairs would exceed $10 million.

? Aug. 5

Schneider launched the Adopt-a-Landslide-Family project, co-chaired by Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson. Architect Morris Skenderian adopted the Lockhart Family.

? Aug. 9

Four families were offered mobile homes, rent free, to be placed on land donated by Canyon Acres property owner.


Aug. 18

The Small Business Administration opened an office in Laguna Beach to provide applications and information about low-cost loans for property owners or renters whose homes or belongings were damaged in the slide. Federal and state funds for emergency repairs cannot be distributed to private property owners.


Aug. 25

FEMA denied the city’s claim that the landslide resulted from heavy rainstorms the previous winter, making the city ineligible for federal funding to repair the slope and infrastructure. Costs of emergency repairs to keep the slope stable from further movement estimated by then at $7 million. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services began to work immediately on an appeal of the FEMA denial.


Sept. 6

The sale of the Girl Scouts House as a source of funding for winterization was taken off the table by the council. Instead, city officials decided to ask the public if there was support for a temporary sales tax increase, which had to be approved by the voters.

? Sept. 16

Council voted to hold a special election Dec. 13 to determine if the public was willing to pay a half cent more sales tax for a few years to help fund the winterization of slide area and to establish a permanent disaster fund. The increase was expected to raise $8.5 million in six years.

? Oct. 11

California Senator Dianne Feinstein visited the slide site and vowed to help find federal funds for the restoration.

? Oct. 14

Feinstein announced that FEMA had reversed its denial of financial assistance. City officials warned that the sales tax increase is still needed.


Dec. 6

Cost estimates for the total project were on the rise. “We are looking at $16 million, maybe $17 million for the total job," City Manager Frank said.


Dec. 13

Temporary sales tax increase was approved by 55 .7% of the voters.


Dec. 30

Schneider was named Coastline Pilot Newsmaker of 2005 for her strong leadership in the wake of the landslide.



Frank announced at the mid-year budget update that $8,236,000 had been spent on emergency repairs and another $7,355,000 on permanent restoration, but he was able to restore much of the $5 million borrowed from city funds.

? April

Contracts for grading and related work were awarded in April and the project was on track.

At one point the large shoring wall at the base of the hill moved eight inches north to south, a serious complication that added time and cost to the project.

? July

City officials were told that the total recovery was expected to cost $20,500,000.

? September

Burnham updated the council on completed projects within the overall plan. Crews were working 11 hours a day, six days a week and sometimes on Sundays. He expected the project to be fully completed by the spring of 2007.

? November

The city suffered a setback when a geological investigation uncovered evidence of an unstable area between the 2005 and 1978 slides and the council appropriated $225,000 from Measure A receipts to add the project to the 2005 tab, the cost to be shared by the city and the affected property owners.



Estimated cost of the project was up to $21.9 million for the landslide recovery and $8.2 million for Flamingo Road restoration, expected to reach $13.6 at completion. Just about on the mark.

? December

Project completed except for some minor landscaping. Anyone who had a lot before the slide now has one if their property was not sold in the interim.

The 2 ½ year project involved the repair and stabilization of the seven-acre slide areas. Repairs included vegetation removal; demolition of damaged homes, streets and utilities; construction of a temporary shoring wall along the toe of the slide area, installation of a 72-inch storm drain that connects to two existing storm drains, replacement of water and sewer lines, slope winterization; stabilization of the slide headscarp supporting Madison Place and the Flamingo Road cul-de-sac by constructing a caisson wall and grade beam/tieback system.

Also, grading involving excavation and removal from the site of 64,000 cubic yards of disturbed material and compaction and rearrangement of almost 900,000 cubic yards of material on the site; construction of retaining walls; replacement of Flamingo Road and all associated utilities "” curbs, gutters, water and sewer lines, electrical, phone and cable; and surface drainage facilities "” v-ditches, down drains and terrace drains

? Saturday

The dedication of the restored Flaming Road and celebration of the completed project is set for noon. Parking and shuttle service will be available at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1190 Morningside Drive. Refreshments will be served.