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Flood foes eye Snoqualmie role
Calling a third meeting on Snoqualmie River flooding, a group of Lower Valley residents are calling on the city of Snoqualmie, King County and Puget Sound Energy to mitigate potential impacts from the power company’s relicensing project at the Snoqualmie Falls dam.
The meeting is 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Sno-Valley Senior Center, 4610 Stephens Ave., Carnation.
A large crowd gathered Sunday, Aug. 16, at the center to hear details on the project and flooding from county and PSE officials. Comments came for more than two hours, as residents aired their concerns and asked for help.
“Flooding is scary. It destroys everything you can see,” Carnation resident Amy Bradley said. “I’m failing to see why PSE cannot come up with a way to do downstream mitigation.”
PSE officials confirmed that no downstream mitigation is planned for the relicensing project, which removes two feet from the Falls dam and is expected to raise 100-year flood levels by less than an inch under their calculations. Lowering the dam reduces water force at the hydroelectic facility, but was requested by Snoqualmie and mandated by the federal government.
At the meeting, PSE hydrologist Bob Barnes countered claims that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ five-year-old flood control project is the root of intensified downstream flooding.
Barnes told the audience that river gauges don’t support that idea. January flood flows were practically the same just below the Falls as at the sum of the Soqualmie River Forks, he said.
“If you’re right and it’s the Corps project that’s doing us in, what you have to overlook is the fact that you have basins elsewhere in Western Washington that are showing the same and in some cases even greater floods,” Barnes said.
After the meeting, organizers called on residents to write to Snoqualmie, PSE and King County to call on PSE to stop the project.
Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said that, if asked to attend the Aug. 30 meeting, he would be happy to take part.
Larson said he recognizes that many Lower Valley residents have sustained traumatic impacts from flooding. But he also reminds them that Snoqualmie also had record flooding in the January flood.
“How come we had so much water up here?” Larson said. “There was freakishly record snowfall and massive melting at the same time.”