Six debris basins expanding

Glendale News Press

The parade of dump trucks that crowded La Cañada Flintridge and Crescenta Valley streets throughout the winter are coming back.

Crews, contracted by Los Angeles County Public Works, will begin expanding the Pickens, Snover, Bigbriar, Mullally, Pinelawn and Starfall catch basins later this month, officials said.

Residents near the affected basins were notified by flier, said county spokesman Kerjon Lee. Officials also followed up with a community meeting in Paradise Valley in La Cañada, one of the most at-risk neighborhoods.

"The communication has been great with the county," said Paradise Valley resident Olivia Brown. "They have been really trying to protect us and work with us."

Since November, basins in La Cañada, La Crescenta and north Glendale were repeatedly filled with mud and debris, the result of heavy rain on hillsides denuded by the Station fire. Public Works crews worked throughout the winter to excavate the basins between storms.

Mullally Debris Basin, located at the top of Ocean View Boulevard in La Cañada's Paradise Valley, crested during a heavy downpour on Feb. 6, sending mud and rocks flowing through the streets and damaging more than 30 homes.

Enlargement plans for the basin include constructing a 6-feet crib structure on top of the original crest of the basin. Lee said the modifications will increase its capacity by more than 5,000 cubic yards. In addition, a 2 ½ -feet block wall will be installed along the lower end of the access road.

County officials are currently working with state and federal agencies to secure extra debris dumping sites, Lee said, something highlighted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during a visit to La Cañada in February.

"We are urgently working with them to have them aware of what the needs are up there," Lee said. "In the end, the highest calling of government is public safety. Our flood control system is highly important in protecting the safety of the public up there."

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