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Donations to North Salt Lake family displaced by landslide top $300K

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27 2014 4:25 p.m. MDT

A home is destroyed by a slide in North Salt Lake, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

NORTH SALT LAKE — The list of donors continues to lengthen in an ongoing effort to build a house for the Utrilla family, who watched their home of three years collapse in the North Salt Lake landslide on Aug. 5.

As of Wednesday, $337,100 in cash, goods and services had been donated to the cause, according to utrillafamily.com. That includes a lot worth $130,000 that was donated by Sky Properties.

Eaglepointe Estates Vice President Scott Kjar says the developer hopes to raise $500,000 in addition to the lot to build and furnish a home of the same square footage as the one that was destroyed.

"There's all sorts of people who are stepping up to help," Kjar said. "We're just gathering bit by bit to match the bases they had."

Brighton Homes has offered to oversee construction, Colonial Building Supply will help provide lumber, and Shamrock Plumbing has agreed to install plumbing and fixtures, Kjar said. Best Buy has also agreed to replace the appliances that were damaged.

While the layout of the house will be different from the Utrillas' former home, the square footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms will be the same. Once a floor plan is finalized, the city will expedite its approval so construction can begin, Kjar said.

"I would imagine we're probably a month away before we break ground or take a building permit out," he said.

The Utrillas are living in a model home not far from what's left of their home on Parkway Drive. Family spokesman David Utrilla says it hasn't been easy for the family to adjust to temporary housing, but they are "happy and excited" about the generosity of others working to restore permanence in their lives.

"My family's very happy," Utrilla said. "At the same time, the people who are helping, I think they are getting some satisfaction of having the ability to help somebody who is in need. I think this is really great for everybody involved."

The Eaglewood Golf Course is preparing to host a benefit tournament on Sept. 26 where all proceeds will go toward helping the Utrilla family. Director of golf Brent Moyes said three four-person teams are signed up, and he hopes at least 20 teams in all will participate. Several businesses have already committed to sponsoring the event.

"I'll have some pretty nice prizes to give away for the winning teams, but it's not even really about that," Moyes said. "Even though it's a lot of work, it's rewarding because people are responsive to this and it's not a hard sell."

But hard times are far from over for many people affected by the slide. A crippled tent still hangs over a mound of earth that buried a retaining wall and spilled onto three tennis courts at the Eagleridge Tennis and Swim Club. The tent and another damaged building remain in place, as does club owner Brad Ferreira's frustration.

"The problem is, no one's stepped in to help, so we're trying to figure out what's going to happen. I really don't have any answers. It's exactly the same as we were two weeks ago," Ferreira said. "Hopefully, something will come around. It's just frustrating at the moment."

Parts of the club that were not affected by the slide reopened on Aug. 16. Seeing patrons eagerly return has brought some relief for Ferreira, but a solution to the damage has yet to present itself.

"It's a good short-term solution, but long term, I don't know what's going to happen," he said. "The members have been fantastic. They've come and supported us and helped us a whole lot."

Drilling on the slide is largely complete, and samples have been sent to a lab to measure the soil's sheer strength, which partially determines a safe resting angle for the slope. The test results will be used to plan a remediation effort, which is expected to begin in October, according to North Salt Lake public works director and city engineer Paul Ottoson.

Ottoson said crews will start by removing soil at the top of the scarp and eventually work their way down to create a more stable slope. It's likely crews will be able to work on the slide throughout the coming months, despite winter conditions, he said.

Email: mjacobsen@deseretnews.com

Twitter: MorganEJacobsen

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