San Clemente apartment buildings remain closed after landslide

Federal aid is on the way for San Clemente’s flood control efforts that have left four apartment buildings in danger of collapsing down a hillside, Rep. Mike Levin announced Thursday.


Levine, D-Dana Point, lives in the area and made a couple of trips this week to inspect red-marked apartment buildings in the 1500 block of Buena Vista.

“It’s really quite remarkable,” Levin told the City News Service. “Four houses had red tags and there was a lot of debris all over the hillside.”

According to Levin, the beach trail in the area is “very much used by the locals, including our family.”

“After the initial landslide yesterday morning, I went and saw later that day what was happening,” he said. “I have written to the White House and the FEMA to include Orange County in the federal emergency declaration, following Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley working at the county level on the state of emergency declaration and with our Sacramento delegation, including the Governor (Gavin) Newsom. declare a state of emergency.”

This will cover all relief bases, starting in the city and working its way up the ladder of government to the federal level, Levine said.

“I am very grateful to the Biden administration for being attentive to our district and taking our situation here seriously,” Levin said.

Orange County fire crews arrived around 8:20 a.m. Wednesday in the 1500 block in Buena Vista and evacuated residents from structures. The hillside behind the buildings gave way, leaving parts of the buildings swaying over the edge.

No injuries were reported.

Residents of the apartments were allowed to return to their homes on Thursday to collect their belongings. It’s not clear if the buildings can be saved, Levine said.

“It’s hard to say,” he said. “They’ll do a thorough safety check on the slope and go from there.”

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, all four buildings were marked with yellow tags, meaning their habitability was limited, and city crews arrived on the scene to assess the structures. They were later downgraded to red tags, which meant they were too dangerous to be settled.

Residents were urged to avoid the area.

Buena Vista was closed from Avenida Florencio to Calle Colina, as well as the beach trail under a landslide between North Beach and El Portal.

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