This is a request which has been ignored.

April 12, 1996

Darlena Williams
Grays Harbor County
Emergency Management/Planning

Dear Ms. William,

I am writing to you in the hopes that Grays Harbor County is applying for a grant from the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and that a floodproofing proposal for our property can be included in the grant application.

I have already had visits by FEMA, the Red Cross, SBA, etc. But after everyone leaves we are still residing in a home that has been flooded twice (1990 and 1996). Now that a portion of our repair is done, did we do it only to have it wiped out again?

Our home is east of Oakville, north of State Route 12 (3/4 mile east of Black River bridge). It is a beautiful home and home-site and we fell in love with it in 1988 when we moved here. Unfortunately, but truthfully, this home should never have been permitted on this site. I have already expressed that opinion, in writing, to Commissioner Beerbower, the Governor, White House, and FEMA.

Now we need to take action to protect ourselves from another flood event.

The home is a split level, slab, with attached garage, approximately 50 feet or less south of the Black River. In 1990 2 inches of water entered the house. In 1996 over two feet entered the house. I went to bed at 2:00 a.m. while the house was dry and at 6:00 a.m. 2 feet of water had entered. How can we protect it against another event?

Elevating: the floor (in 1990) seemed to be the first place water entered (hydraulic pressure) and in 1996 it was the last area to dry out. While the original permit called for flood proofing I doubt very much that the slab was built to withstand a change in elevation.

Relocation is out. Even though we have 44 acres this is the highest point (give or take an inch).

Dry floodproofing seems unlikely, as the floors are a prime source of water entry.

Wet floodproofing - the downstairs is a primary living area. Abandoning this half of the house doesn't seem attractive unless there is absolutely no other solution. This portion has already been repaired and is not wet flood proofed now.

Floodwall: Under the conditions I've described seems a workable alternative. The FEMA mitigation book seems to point out a practical flood height limit of 3 feet or so. This would cover the 1996 flood event and leave a foot of safety.

As we understand it, individuals cannot apply for a Hazard Mitigation Grant. Only jurisdictions can apply, and then each jurisdiction is evaluated and ranked against others. We are hoping that Grays Harbor County is preparing a proposal and that our requirements can be part of that proposal.

We are hoping that our proposal will be considered for a grant. We are retired, on a fixed income, and have no set aside for disasters that we never even dreamed of. Already we have lost a substantial portion of our personal possessions, our roadway (since rebuilt by us) fences (since rebuilt by us), our vehicles were all immersed (3' or more), and while FEMA has paid a portion of our building repair cost we are many thousands of dollars in the hole. If all this wasn't enough Ellen was diagnosed with bone cancer 3 weeks ago and our reserves are now stretched even more tightly - not to mention our emotions.

On a brighter note, I was told that a team from FEMA might be planning a visit to Grays Harbor County. If you or they need an Oakville office for the team to work out of, I can make one available. I am the volunteer chairman of the Chehalis River Council, a 501 C3 nonprofit which deals with water quality and water resource issues. We have a office in Oakville. The function of the office is a resource library for the greater Chehalis basin population. It is 1,000 square feet, we have furniture, telephone, fax, internet service and a computer. We, the CRC, would be pleased to make it available to a FEMA team if they need a central site in Oakville.

I hope this letter explains our flood situation, and that there is some way our proposal can be included in a county wide grant application.


Dave Palmer
7475 State Route 12
Oakville, Wa.

This page created and maintained by Dave Palmer

This letter was faxed on April 12 and I have no response. Could someone please contact me on the status of this request? Thank you,
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