By Felicity Johnson
North Eugene High School’s art teacher, Anne Dorsey, experienced a mudslide right in her own backyard just east of Roseburg in the winter of 2015. A logging company was cutting down trees on the hill behind her house, which caused three mudslides in succession.
The first night, it had been pouring down rain. Anne said “I had a really creepy feeling.” She got up and went to stay in her little trailer that was further from the hill. She awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of running water, and the next morning, she found the mud had washed up around the back of her house. Deciding to play it safe, she put hay bales up to protect the backside of her house.
Later that day, there was a lot more water coming off of the hill than usual due to the clear cut. The logging company had dug a channel behind her house for the water run off, but it had gotten blocked with some rocks, so the logging company came down to talk with Anne. The four of them were standing by the channel when the water suddenly became dark and muddy. The three from the logging crew went to go find out what was happening and Anne walked to her house.
Anne started to hear another “huge rumbling” and the ground began to shake under her feet. “I remember I ran from the house and then I started to scream because there were three of their people up on the hill. After the rumbling had stopped, I was just crying because I didn’t know if they were dead or alive,” Anne said.
Fortunately enough, all three people came down the hill about ten minutes later after the slide had subsided. “But I just lost it, it was so scary. If I had been standing there just five minutes before, I would have been dead.”
Shaken from the first two slides, Anne refused to live in her house and moved into her trailer.
Two days later, she heard the rumble once more. “I thought it was my dryer off balance, but then I realized the dryer wasn’t on.” Luckily enough, the mud was stopped the hay bales, saving her house from disaster, but not her property. Three foot trenches tore through her driveway, pastures had standing water, and the garden fences lie flat on the ground.
A lawsuit was filed against the company, and they provided her with $10,000 to cover the damage, although she still payed $20,000 out of pocket.
“It was a very sad experience to me because you always think of your home being safe,” Anne said with a solemn look, “and all of a sudden my home was unsafe.”