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TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - A deep sinkhole opened up along Southwest Beef Bend Road on Tuesday, closing the road for at least the next few days.

Beef Bend Road has been closed indefinitely near Southwest 146th Avenue after a 20-foot-deep sinkhole opened along the popular road just outside of Tigard city limits.

According to Victoria Saager, a spokeswoman with the Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation, the sinkhole is about 1.7 miles west of Pacific Highway.

The hole is about two feet wide on the shoulder of Beef Bend Road at Southwest 146th Avenue, but reportedly etends about five feet under the road's surface, Saager said. The hole is about 20 feet deep.

“We can see water at the bottom and pieces of broken culvert and utilities hanging from the road." Saager said. "It’s quite the hole.”

Beef Bend Road is closed between 150th Avenue east to Southwest Westminster Drive.

The road is closed to all travelers, including bicyclists and pedestrians. The county suggests that travelers use Bull Mountain Road as a detour until the sinkhole is repaired.

It’s unclear what caused the sinkhole, but Saager said that a creek runs under the road. It's believed that water likely washed around a culvert under the road, eroding the area.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Utility lines hang exposed after a sinkhole opened along Southwest Beef Bend Road, outside of Tigard.Sean August, who lives near the site, discovered the sinkhole on Tuesday morning. “We were heading to Bridgeport this morning and I looked at guardrail and saw a hole there,” he said. “I debated about whether or not to call, but once I did they shut it all down.”

August said he was worried about safety on the popular road, which is a popular thoroughfare for trucks and pedestrians.

“This thing is going to go at some point,” he said.

Saager said that the road will be closed for some time while work crews figure out how to repair the road.

“We’re not sure of the stability of that road surface yet,” she said. “We have engineering folks out there to get eyes on it and get a repair plan in place.”

The Beef Bend Road sinkhole formed a two weeks to the day after heavy rain caused a massive sinkhole along Southwest Kane Road in Gresham, which spread to consume the entire width of the road.

Saager said it’s unclear how long the road will be closed.

“It’ll be a minimum of a few days,” she said, “but it could be longer. We aren’t sure that we have the equipment to get that deep, which would mean getting a contractor to do the repairs.”

By Geoff Pursinger
Assistant Editor, The Times
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