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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


funding.


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


protect this wonderful community," she said.

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