Northwest Natural Gas company wants its Uppertown customers to be assured that if gas service needs to be stopped in the neighborhood, the shutoffs will be limited to a fairly small area.

At Monday's Astoria City Council meeting, a letter from the firm's district manager Allen Geertz informed the city that if the land movement in the Uppertown area did not stop the company "may have to shut off gas service."

Geertz said Wednesday that he wants to clarify the situation for concerned customers.

While the land movement could still pose a risk to NW Natural's gas lines, he wants people to know that it would be in the area of 31st and 33rd streets going up to Harrison and Grand avenues, but not onto 34th Street, and just a couple houses about a block west of 30th on Harrison.

He said letters have been sent to people living in those areas, but he said people should not immediately assume that their gas will be shut off anytime soon.

"We don't have any definite plans to do that," he said.

Geertz added that the company has the ability to limit where it stops gas service, or "valve it off." "We could isolate a section but another is OK," Geertz said.

NW Natural has hired a geotechnical firm and is continuing to monitor the situation, caused by a land movement that has been damaging homes in the Uppertown area since spring. The movement began during the weeks when the base of a hill on Lief Erikson Drive was excavated to make way for construction of a new commercial building.

A plan to stop the movement by filling in where the hill was excavated has just been implemented. Geertz said NW Natural's consultant has five inclinometers installed in the area. He said the latest readings from about two weeks ago revealed minimal movement, but that may have changed since then.

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