Snoqualmie appeals berm decision

SNOQUALMIE - The city of Snoqualmie has taken another step in its long-running effort to remove a berm and fill that may aggravate flooding in the city from the Snoqualmie River.

The city filed an appeal last month with the King County Hearing Examiner that states the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) has been "erroneous and improper" in its duties to get the Weyerhaeuser Co. to remove a fill yard and berm along the Mill Pond Road.

Weyerhaeuser started building the berm - a mound of earth built up as a dam - along Mill Pond Road in 1986 to protect its mill property from waters following a flood. The company continued to add to it after the 1990 flood.

In 1999, Snoqualmie filed a complaint with the DDES alleging that Weyerhaeuser had constructed the berm and added to a fill yard behind it without consulting any county codes.

The complaint said the berm and fill has raised the elevation of the site to above the 100-year flood level. Since the berm and fill are in the flood plain, Snoqualmie contends flood waters have been diverted toward the city.

Last year, more than 2 1/2 years after Snoqualmie filed the complaint, DDES determined Weyerhaeuser had unlawfully built the berm but would not make the company remove it since a private contractor started removing material from the berm 2 years ago. The contractor has 3 years left in his 5-year agreement with Weyerhaeuser.

The DDES also said Snoqualmie had not sufficiently proved the fill behind the berm had been raised in elevation.

Snoqualmie then hired an independent examiner to conduct computerized mapping and review aerial photographs to prove the fill was above the flood plain.

The DDES still ruled there was not sufficient evidence for the elevation rise and did not serve Weyerhaeuser with a Notice and Order to remove any of the berm or fill.

Although DDES Supervisor Randy Sandin said he was certain Snoqualmie would appeal the ruling, he said the DDES stands by its findings.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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