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'This is insane,' mom says of Green River flood threat

Billie Mayer, sitting with her daughter Allison, has sandbagged her garage door to help prevent damage in a flood. Mayer has used the 100 sandbags that have been allotted by the city of Kent to barricade the garage, back sliding door, and exterior opening to the home’s crawl space, which was only enough to stack the sandbags a single bag deep and about 2 feet high at the doors. - Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter
Billie Mayer, sitting with her daughter Allison, has sandbagged her garage door to help prevent damage in a flood. Mayer has used the 100 sandbags that have been allotted by the city of Kent to barricade the garage, back sliding door, and exterior opening to the home’s crawl space, which was only enough to stack the sandbags a single bag deep and about 2 feet high at the doors.
— image credit: Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter

Billie Mayer is trying to do everything she can to protect her Kent home and personal belongings from the Green River floods.

Mayer lives with her 8-year-old daughter Allison in a single-story home just south of downtown Kent, about six blocks north of the river.

In October, Mayer and a friend placed 100 sandbags at key low spots around her house. Those spots included the garage, a backyard sliding glass door, air vents and an outside entry to a crawl space under the home.

“We tried to put them at any entry ways where the water might get under the house,” Mayer said. “But we need more than 100 sandbags. That’s not enough.”

Mayer picked up the free, empty sandbags provided by the city and filled the sandbags at one of the local sites where the city dumped sand.

“Some of my neighbors are sandbagging,” Mayer said. “One neighbor thought it was a waste of time because it (the flood) was going to happen anyway. But I think everything helps a little bit.”

An emergency kit packed with a radio, flashlight, extra batteries, hand sanitizer, medications and other items sits ready in Mayer’s living room in case she has to leave her home.

Mayer already has taken legal documents, personal photos and summer clothes to her mother’s house on the West Hill in Kent. If she must evacuate, Mayer plans to stay with her mother.

That sense of readiness has even affected her choice of vehicles.

“I bought a truck because of the flood,” Mayer said. “I want to be able to take as much stuff as possible if I have to leave. I’ll put my mattresses in the truck if there’s time.”

Mayer will take her two cats with her if she has to evacuate. And she’s found a friend who will take her dog temporarily.

The single mom knows others have changed their residences, but she’s going to keep her home.

A neighbor of Mayer’s moved because of the flood danger, but for her, moving wasn’t an option at this point.

Mayer has flood insurance, but she wants to save as many items as possible from getting damaged in the first place. She has placed clothes in plastic containers.

“Some of my friends have rented storage units,” she added.

If Mayer must evacuate, she hopes she can use South 272nd Street or the Kent-Des Moines Road to get up to her mother’s house on the West Hill. If not, she will head north first and then go to the West Hill.

“This is insane,” Mayer said about preparations to evacuate. “But I do not want us to be stuck.”

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