Heavy rain brings flooding woes to North Bay

MONTE RIO, Calif. (KTVU) -- As the latest storm front passes through the North Bay, a Russian River vacation home appears ready to topple into the river.

The property, located at 21800 Moscow Road in Monte Rio, is tilting precariously toward the water. And on Monday, a swirling sinkhole was spotted underneath it.

Neighbors say the river is more than twice as wide as normal, so it has submerged beaches, backyards, and in some cases, the very foundations homes are built on.

"Everything is concrete under our house, so we don't worry about it eroding out from under us," neighbor David Doeleman said. "But I know the river runs really close to some others, and they're on wood pilings, which are dangerous."

The two-bedroom house in jeopardy is distinctive for its A-frame architecture and is known locally as the Pyramid House.

"I've seen them do a lot of work trying to save it," Doeleman said.

"There were trucks going in and out all last week, with crushed rock and big boulders, trying to shore that house up."

West Sonoma County continues to be saturated with rain that has caused problems on roadways as gusting winds and soggy soil bring down more mud and trees.

A washout on Old Monte Rio Road west of Guerneville extended hundreds of feet down a hillside.

The mud and trees that cascaded down the slope narrowly missed homes.

"There was a big crack in the road the other day, and today the crack widened up," Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman said.

"So half the road fell in a muddy mess down the hill, between two houses and almost down to Highway 116."

The Russian River is rising, but flooding does not appear to be an imminent threat at this point.

What has people talking is the doomed house, which is listed on the Air B&B lodging site as a rental for just over $300 per night.


The wood-frame home was built in 1969, a survivor of many wet winters, until this one which has wrecked its foundation.

"That would be terrible to lose your whole house," neighbor Mike Deck said. "Because it's one thing to clean up mud, but to lose everything, would be pretty bad."

Despite all the efforts to save it, the appearance of the large sinkhole and the continued erosion has not inspired hope in the fire chief.

"There's not much you can do, really nothing," Baxman said. "Because the bottom end is falling out, the deck has already been cut away, the house is leaning, and there's not much anyone can do."

At least three properties alongside the Pyramid House are also threatened by erosion, but don't sit quite as close to the water, and have a bit more time and space to bolster the river bank.

By KTVU reporter Debora Villalon.