Valley to receive $1.7 million for flood relief

UPPER VALLEY — In an effort to help reduce the devastating

impacts of Valley flooding, Rep. Jennifer Dunn secured more than $1.7 million in

federal funds for Snoqualmie and North Bend projects.

Historically, floods have hit both cities and left them with millions

of dollars in damage and immeasurable impacts to their residents.

Snoqualmie alone receives an average of $1.6 million in damage annually.

But the new funding is geared to minimize the effects of

Mother Nature's wrath.

"This money will protect our homes and livelihood by

preventing and minimizing damage of future floods," Dunn said.

The funding came from the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill,

which aids projects across the country.

Last week Dunn arranged for $1.7 million to be allocated for a flood

reduction project in Snoqualmie, which should start next summer and be

completed within just a few months.

The project will cost an estimated $3.2 million and entails widening

the right and left banks of the Snoqualmie River and removing an old

abandoned railroad bridge that has already partially broken away. The project's

preventative measures are designed to cut flooding damage by two-thirds.

King County and the city of Snoqualmie are sponsoring the

project and have so far come up with $858,000 of their $1 million

share, according to city Treasurer Shirley Leonard. Most of the money raised

by the city came from the sale of the old winery property, now called

Rattlesnake Point. The Appropriations Bill funding covers most of the

federal government's roughly $2 million share of the costs.

As for constructing the flood-reduction project, the Army Corps

of Engineers, a civilian department of the army that works on civil

works projects, will oversee the venture.

"We've got our fingers crossed and we think this is going to go," said

Paul Cooke, Army Corps project manager. "It's amazing how much this

helps Snoqualmie."

Lower Valley community members have expressed concern that

the improvements could fix Snoqualmie's flooding problem but it would add

to theirs.

Project officials will continue to meet with downstream residents

but Cooke said the flooding is not anticipated to increase much more than

one inch for a 5-year flood — a flood that has a 20 percent chance of

occurring on any given year.

"We've got a number of different ideas to improve the situation in

the Lower Valley," said Tom Bean of the county's Department of Natural

Resources, who is also working on the project.

Bean added that he and other officials plan on working with

Carnation and Fall City residents and that many improvements have already

been made, including raising levees.

As for the opposite end of the Valley, Dunn appropriated $50,000 for

a North Bend flooding feasibility study that has yet to be started.

"The city and county have requested that the Army Corps study

the feasibility of a flood control project in North Bend," Bean said,

explaining that several mitigating options have been mentioned for the

study, including improving the levee system.

In a separate project last year, the Army Corps mapped North

Bend's floodplain. The new map showed the flooding potential was greater

than officials imagined. Bean said the mapping should give the Army Corp's

next study somewhere to start.

And moving forward with studies is exactly why Dunn secured the


"This money for North Bend is the first step in setting solutions to

protect this wonderful community," she said.

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