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Residents share flood views for hazard plan

Meadowbrook resident Traci Smith has lived in Snoqualmie for less than five years, and has already been through three floods.

During the January flood, water nearly entered her family's living area.

"We want to live here forever. We have our business here," Smith said. "We want to safeguard our investment."

Smith attended the hazard mitigation plan open house, Wednesday, May 27 at the Snoqualmie Fire Station, where planning and prevention for the next disaster was the topic at hand.

The city of Snoqualmie is currently updating its hazard plan, which expired in January. The open house has held for residents and the city to share data on floods, earthquakes, the cost of damage, and the risk that areas of the city carry.

A steering committee will use the information to come up with new a plan, which will rank disasters and set out the city's response to them. The plan must be approved by the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the city council, and may be green-lighted as early as this fall.

Plan goals are to protect lives and property and spend money in a cost-effective manner, mitigation planner Rob Flaner said.

Flaner works for Tetratech, a Seattle engineering firm hired by the city to facilitate the plan. At the open house, he helped share information on grants to help elevate flood-endangered homes. But

not all homes will be elevated.

"Some of these properties, we just want to flat-out get out of harm's way," Flaner said.

The city has targeted properties on a flood-prone part of Park Street near the riverbank. The King County Flood Control District is working to buy out a downtown mobile home park on Park Street, and there is already a city pump station and a city-owned park in the neighborhood.

"It just makes sense to make that all open space," Flaner said. "That gets the deepest, fastest, baddest water."

Smith filled out her questionnaire at the open house, sharing her viewpoints. She's interested in raising her home, but also wants to see floods prevented — possibly through dredging.

"It's my understanding that this has gotten more frequent and worse," Smith said. "Something is going on. We need to identify that and deal with it."

Smith said her family was gagging on the polluted flood water last January.

"The stuff that goes through our house when it floods, the way that river smells, it can't be good for anything it's touching," Smith added. "You could smell oil. How can that be good for the fish?"

• Snoqualmie residents can share information on their flood experience in an online survey. To access the survey, follow the "New Survey! Natural Hazards and Disasters in Snoqualmie" link at www.ci.snoqualmie.wa.us.

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