East Bay homes threatened due to erosion

Some Pleasanton families are on the edge of disaster, dreading more rain, and asking for help.  

The creek that used to run behind their homes might take their homes down.

"We've lived here twenty years and we've seen the creek, not maintained," resident David Raun told KTVU, in the backyard of his home on Foothill Road, on the Pleasanton/Sunol border.

Raun's home looks fine from the front, but the backyard is falling away.

What used to be a slope, is now a cliff, crumbling into the waters of the Arroyo de Laguna.

Raun's next-door neighbor has it even worse: his backyard trampoline is teetering in space, and an immaculate swimming pool, sits precariously close to the muddy, ragged edge.

"In the last four to five weeks, I've lost twenty feet of land," explained Raun, "and they've lost forty feet and it will keep going because there's nothing to protect it".   

Arroyo Creek was a meandering creek, thick with trees,when Raun's sons played in it, while growing up.

He has pictures of it, then and now, that he has been showing officials.

In recent years, the creek has widened to about 200 yards, devouring acres of land and vegetation, and carving out a "S" turn so that instead of flowing past the three threatened lots, the water slams straight into them.

Raun says it was a slow-motion disaster, and believes it could have been avoided if Pleasanton had mitigated upstream development that swapped watershed for concrete, and altered creek flows. 

"The could have anticipated, and used some of those permit fees or tax dollars, and just   rip-rapped the shore with rocks to prevent all of this," he observed.     

Multiple agencies are involved, as the property owners press for a solution, preferably before more stormy weather takes even more of the bank.

"Across the way where the "S" curve is, things would let go in the heavy rain, and we could hear it and the whole house would shake," described Raun, " so it's been quite dramatic for us over the years, and now we know it's right in our backyard."

Tuesday, surveyors were out on the creek with measuring equipment.

They are evaluating whether a permit can be issued for the Army Corp of Engineers to attempt a fix.        "It would straighten it out and get the slope to be more stable and not a sheer cliff, where soil is just dropping into the creek," theorized Raun.

Homeowners aren't sure how much worse the hazard will get, but they desperately want to save their family homes.  

"We want to have our grandchildren come visit us here," said Raun ruefully. 

A key meeting is set for next Wednesday evening, when the affected property owners expect a decision from Zone 7, their water agency, on shoring up the erosion, and redirecting the creek.

Even if they could afford the cost of engineering and accomplishing it themselves, the homeowners are unable to attain a permit to do so.