The London Road Landslide (called the Wilshire Heights Landslide at the time) took place in the winter of 1969 - 1970. It eventually destroyed 14 - 17 homes, and a section of London Road below the Mormon Temple. It is the largest landslide in Oakland.
The damage could have been much worse; a 10" pipeline carrying jet fuel from the Shell refinery in Martinez to the Oakland Airport ran through the area. An Oakland Fire Marshal ordered the pipeline shut down until the situation was resolved.
The slide was caused in part because of the proximity to the Hayward Fault. Movement fractured sub-surface rocks, and then heavy rains lubricated it, accelerating the movement. Approximately 3 acres of land was directly affected by the slow-moving slide. 2
In December 1971 the city came up with an $859,400 plan to halt the slide. About $100,000 of that was allocated to purchase 4 homes that had survived the initial slide, but would be undermined by the construction of "Method E". Shell was anxious to re-open the pipeline, but the fire marshal wouldn't grant a permit for the pipeline across an active slide, and the city wouldn't grant a variance to allow a new alignment. 3
Neighbors in Piedmont Pines fought the reactivation of the pipeline. Shell was unable to renew their franchise with the city of Oakland in 1985, and decommissioned the pipeline. 1
Links and References
- Landslide Perils Homes in Oakland Oakland Tribune January 19, 1970
- The Fuel Line Bombing and Canyon Fire of 1969 on patch.com
- The Landslides of London Road OaklandGeology.com