At a recent city council meeting in Carnation, I gave the council an update of the rest of the August 16 flood meeting — the last hour, when the council members left before they could hear the testimony of those of us who signed up to speak.
Several of us have been directly involved in the flooding issues, and over the last several decades, have been drowning from the bureaucratic anchor of failed policies.
At that flood meeting, King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert stayed past the very end, and representatives from Congressman Dave Reichert’s office listened while people from Carnation, Fall City, Duvall, valley farmers and those who served on past flood studies and committees spoke.
At that flood meeting, I explained how our town was surrounded by water on three sides, north, south and west, with a dam above us to the east on the Tolt. I showed a large picture of our overgrown evacuation route. I told them that every Wednesday at noon, a test siren of the dam reminds us that a breach on that dam is in the realm of possibility.
I asked King County if, when the heavy rains were forecast a few days prior to the event on the Tolt, some water was or could have been released from the reservoir. I also questioned if the dam’s overflowing or if the rapid rise and falling of the Tolt were from log jams, breaking free as they made their way downstream.
Although the meeting was not organized by our city leaders, there were no words from them — no welcome, no thank you’s, no questions, no sharing of the overall experience of a city basically trapped, except for a narrow private drive. There were no statements from Eastside Search and Rescue as to the challenges of responding to emergency calls.
Questions by our city leaders were also left un-asked: Why wasn’t there a mitigation study of possible downstream consequences before the first project was done above the falls? Why are no studies being done before the next phase above the Falls? We still don’t know if the new levy at the mouth of the Tolt is going to hold back the waters. Can you hold off on the next phase of your project until this new levy proves to be sound or not?
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After the January flood, when representatives came from King County for a question-and-answer meeting, our city leaders asked little of how or why, but they did thank King County for the prompt reponse with a dumpster to aid in clean-up.
It’s been the folks from Fall City who pulled together for us all and have a sense of being part of this Valley. They give me hope.