By Macy Jenkins

GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) – After a few sunny days this week, the Grass Valley region is seeing rain once again. But locals say they’re worried about the area being able to handle the rain after winter brought heavy storms back in January.

“People are concerned definitely up here,” said Bob DeGiere. “We’ve had too much all at once! Way too much!”

Earlier this year, a large sinkhole formed on Freeman Lane during the winter storms in just a matter of hours. The city is working to plan to fix it as the threat of more storms looms overhead.

“It was like standing on top of a building looking down,” said Donna Evans, owner of Split Pea Accessories in Grass Valley. “It was really deep.”

Nearly three months ago, Donna Evans couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw a 60-foot sinkhole just yards away from her store.

“We didn’t know when it was going to stop, how much of the parking lot it was going to eat up,” she said.

Grass Valley Public Works Director Tim Kiser told CBS13 the department checks the area every day, especially when wet weather is on the horizon.

“Our biggest thing right now during the rain events is we don’t want to lose any more earth and material into the creek and cause anymore environmental impacts downstream,” he explained.

More than 10,000 cubic feet of dirt had to be moved just to get down to the partially destroyed culvert. Now sandbags and tires hold back dirt wrapped in plastic and Kiser hopes it buys the city time to come up with a solution.

“When you’re dealing with something 60 feet to 70 feet in the ground, you want to do it once and you want to do it right,” Kiser said.

Working along with Caltrans, Kiser said public works plans to repair the culvert and stabilize the ground.
But people who live in the area say every time it rains, they’re worried that somewhere nearby, there is more unsteady ground ready to crumble.

“We’re worried about all of the rain and the wind and everything getting all soggy,” DeGiere said.

Worried about a tree near his property, he cut it down so it wouldn’t crush his home. Earlier this year, mudslides continued to be a problem on Highway 49. A CalTrans spokesperson told CBS 13 that more rain means they’re keeping an eye out for slides and erosion.

But Brooke Cahoon has lived in Grass Valley all of her life and said she can’t be too concerned about what the weather could bring.

“You can’t be too worried,” she said. “Tou can’t walk around on eggshells, we have to live here.”

Kiser said he’s not worried about infrastructure problems elsewhere in the city; he’s focused on finding a solution for the sinkhole within the next few months.

  1. Just a quick note; Split Pea Accessories is owned by Larry, Maggie and Ari Turner of Grass Valley, Ca. I’m just a clerk there. Thanks for the follow up story!

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