A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Ralphs family after their home along the Raging River was yellow-tagged. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Ralphs Family GoFundMe page

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Ralphs family after their home along the Raging River was yellow-tagged. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Ralphs Family GoFundMe page

Family of four forced to leave home along Raging River in Preston

Erosion has deemed the house yellow-tagged by King County services.

A house located along the Raging River in Preston was yellow-tagged and deemed uninhabitable by officials on Feb. 12. The residents included Brenda and Dean Ralphs, their two daughters who are 9 and 12 years old, and their dog.

The couple had initially bought the house in 2006, and began investing in repairs during 2009. In the past they’ve hired a construction crew and a geologist, but this past January, the Ralphs spent $10,000 on an emergency repair due to erosion. This repair was finished two weeks ago.

When the family purchased the house in 2006, the river sat 100-120 feet away, according to Dean Ralphs. Today, the river runs about 20 feet from the house, with the house about 80 feet above the river.

The homeowners have insurance, but the provider has denied coverage.

“Insurance isn’t for things like wear and tear. Insurance is for sudden cause of loss,” said Marcel Dore, a State Farm agent of Issaquah,.

Dore went on to describe how companies will not offer insurance if something is deemed risky, such as high rates of erosion in the state of Washington.

The Ralphs filed a damage report with King County, however that does not guarantee the family compensation.

Barnaby Dow of King County Emergency Management said damage reports are “advantageous to everybody.”

The county’s damage reports are sent to the state to determine the amount of damages in the area. The state then submits the data to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who has the capability of compensating residents under a Disaster Declaration.

The Ralphs have about $140,000 left on their mortgage.

“I have to keep paying, whether the house is there or not, with us living in it or not. The only criteria they will look at to allow me to suspend payments is if we get the FEMA declaration,” Ralphs said.

Since the yellow-tagging, friends initiated a GoFundMe page for the family, which has since raised more than $7,000.

“We’re going to be paying rent and we’re going to be paying the mortgage — that’s kind of a heavy lift,” said Ralphs, who also mentioned that “every time somebody puts money in there, she (Debra) cries.”

According to their father, the children are old enough to comprehend the situation, but are uncertain of what the future entails.

The Ralphs were staying with a friend in a one-bedroom mother-in-law unit. The family came into contact with a landlord who planned to remove his unit from the market for remodelling purposes, and that has allowed the Ralphs to take over the residence as well as the remodelling.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

Margery and Pat Godfrey. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
Couple’s love story inspires new Hallmark Channel movie

Inspired by local residents Pat and Margery Godfrey is the story “A Godwink Christmas - Second Chance, First Love”

Deception Pass State Park. Deception Pass is a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island. File photo
Free Park Days in 2021 start in January

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will again offer 12 free… Continue reading

2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat. Courtesy photo
2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat | Car review

Ford’s venerable compact Ranger pickup went away for a while. But it… Continue reading

Courtesy photo
Sign up for 2020 ‘Run to Rwanda’ Fun Run slated for September

Clyde Hill resident Sophie Sharp, an 11th grade student at The Overlake… Continue reading

Washington State Fair cancelled
Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health
Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Waste reduction from home
Waste reduction from home

A monthly column from Waste Management.

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses
Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data
UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons
KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

A monthly column about the King County Library System.

Earth Month 2020 and COVID-19
Earth Month 2020 and COVID-19

A Waste Management column about caring for the planet and each other.