Dozens evacuated in Wyoming as ground slips

Associated Press

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Dozens of Jackson residents who were evacuated after land began shifting on a hillside in this Wyoming resort town waited Thursday to find out if and when they can return home.

Assistant Town Manager Roxanne Robinson said Thursday there is still no word on what is causing the land to shift, but officials have taken steps to ensure there is no catastrophe. Geologists are on the scene, and other geologists are being brought in to get a better idea of what is happening.

About two dozen people went to the Red Cross to get shelter on Wednesday. Police say they talked to 52 people, and some evacuees said they were told authorities are not returning until it is safe.

A road and parking lot of a Walgreens pharmacy have been distorted and buckled by ground movement, which was also the cause of breaks in nearby water pipes last weekend. A slope several inches deep has ripped the hillside above the pharmacy, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Thursday (http://tinyurl.com/n38hxtc).

Councilman Jim Stanford, who toured one of the damaged houses on Wednesday, said it is "trashed" inside.

He said the living room is sloped downhill. In the kitchen, the planks of the wooden floor are coming apart, and cabinets have fallen off the wall.

Robinson said experts tell town officials there is no danger like the mudslide on March 22 that killed at least 35 people in Washington state because Jackson residents had plenty of time to evacuate.

"Part of the hillside could come down, but there would not be a catastrophe," she said.

Jackson Police Officer Kevin Jones said Wednesday he was slightly nervous at his position beneath the cliff as evacuations continued.

The evacuation extended to a hillside complex, which includes Rendezvous River Sports and Sidewinders Tavern.

Will Taggart described it as "a gigantic hill that's crumbling."

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