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Disasters and Accidents
00000179-65ef-d8e2-a9ff-f5ef8dd70000In early October 2017, large cracks were spotted on the ground at Rattlesnake Ridge, a hillside about three miles south of Yakima, Washington. By January, the cracks had widened and emergency officials became concerned that a major landslide could imminent.Around 50 residents who lived on a small tract of land at the bottom of the hillside were evacuated and officials prepared for the worst.By the end of the month, geologists and engineers concluded that the landslide was a slow moving one and the risk of a major, catastrophic slide was low. Warning signs were taken down and residents were allowed to return to their homes.

Nervous Drivers Still 'Shooting The Gap' At Rattlesnake Ridge Landslide

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Anna King
/
Northwest News Network
Roberta Vining has to ''Shoot the Gap'' twice every weekday on her commute to work in Yakima, Washington. She says despite a new state report saying the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide is slow moving, it still freaks her out.

The emergency seems to be over for now at the slow-moving landslide at Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington. The state has taken down the warning signs and lights on the highway below.

But for some, the drive is still nerve wracking. They’ve coined a phrase for driving quickly past the slide: “Shooting the Gap.”

Roberta Vining lives amid neat orchard rows and expansive vineyards outside of Grandview. Nearly every morning she scrambles out of bed early to get ready for her commute.

Vining works in Yakima at a large call center for a major warehouse company. It’s about a 45 minute drive west. But it takes her on Interstate 82—right by the landslide at Union Gap.

“It kind of freaks me out because you think, you don't know when it could happen,” Vining said. “Same thing you don’t know when your time is.” ?

She always checks the Washington Department of Transportation website to see if the slide’s moved. But that’s not enough reassurance for her.

When she gets to that mile patch of Interstate, she sometimes guns her car to get past it.

“You see the crack,” she said with a laugh.

Lots of people in the Mid-Columbia feel this same way—even though a new report says the slide is not an imminent threat.

Vining said the hard part is that this could go on for decades.

“I think you get that spot where you don’t worry so much about something because you get so used to it being there,” she said. “And that is what makes me afraid—is I’m just going to la-dee-dah, and so is everybody else that drives through there on a daily basis, and something will happen.”

But despite her fears—and like the more than 30,000 vehicles that travel through here daily—she keeps driving it.