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Modjeska Canyon neighborhood hit hard by storm; one resident still says living there is worth it

December 22, 2010 | 10:33 am

Tonalli Martinez’s family lived in Los Angeles, Costa Mesa and Irvine before moving to Modjeska Canyon 13 years ago. The 18-year-old says that, on most days, nothing beats living in the canyon.

“In the summers, you have these beautiful days. It’s pretty worth it,” she said. “Then you get these days, when you’re trapped in your house, and you need to go to work.”

The Martinez home is elevated, so the engorged river just a short distance away doesn’t threaten it like it does other homes. Still, muddy water damaged the workshop where her father, Guillermo Martinez, makes Native American flutes and drums.

Tonalli Martinez said her boss at the CVS pharmacy where she works didn't take it too well when told him she couldn't make her late-afternoon shift because of road closures.

“He said somebody else already couldn’t make it in and he was desperate for me to come in,” she said. “He said, ‘I’ll pay you overtime, if you have to drive longer to get to work, I’ll pay your gas. I’ll do anything!’”

“But it’s not really up to me,” Martinez said. “I can’t control the mud and the rain.”

Several houses down, the road is closed by a mudslide, she said. You can’t get in, you can’t get out. The river looked scary when she took a peek at it.  Boulders "rolling in the creek" sounded like thunder, she said.

“Martinez said this morning she was thinking about the trade-offs of living in the canyon.

“I feel like it’s worth it. But then, at the same time, it’s inconvenient,” she said. “But nature isn’t about our convenience. You just have to put up with it. The elements aren’t going to do what you want.”

RELATED:

Photos: Series of storms hits Southern California

Residents in San Juan Capistrano ordered to evacuate

Motorist rescued from channel after calling for help on cellphone

-- Hector Becerra

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