Jackson Town Council passes disaster declaration

Jackson issues evacuation order amid landslide concerns

JACKSON, Wyo. - The Jackson Town Council has declared a state of emergency and adopted a disaster declaration due to concerns that portions of a hill could slide.

It also passed a delegation of authority authorizing expenditures up to $50,000.

"This declaration and resolution is a crucial step in correctly responding to this situation and obtaining assistance when needed," said Town Manager Bob McLaurin in a news release.

Budge Drive and the surrounding area were evacuated Wednesday around 7:30 p.m.

"The ground was shifting, not just on the surface, but deeper down underneath the ground, 40 to 50 feet down," said Roxanne Robinson, the incident command public information officer.

Authorities said most of the 60 people who live on Budge Drive have evacuated along with employees of Walgreens and of the businesses in the Hillside Complex.

"I saw the road lift up and the crack in the wall," said Budge Drive resident George Schley, referring to the retainer wall around the hill.

"Public safety is our No. 1 priority and taking this action now instead of waiting is the best approach," said Teton County Emergency Management Coordinator Rich Ochs.

Robinson said geologists are on the scene and are measuring the hill every couple of hours to see if there is any movement.

On Sunday, the hillside movement caused Jackson's pump station at the northwest corner of Budge Drive and West Broadway Avenue to shift, which led to a water main break. Crews repaired water mains and addressed road damage related to the movement on the hillside, the city said.

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