February 21, 1996
Representative Tom Huff
Washington Legislature
239 J. L. O'Brien Building
Olympia, WA

Thank you for reading this. I've sent copies to the White House, the Governor, FEMA and others. I understand you are interested in flood issues. Perhaps this will be of value to you.

I am writing as a retired individual, living on the banks of the Black River east of Oakville, Wa

I am one of thousands of people whose life has been significantly altered by the flooding in Washington.

You will read about all kinds of severe loss due to this flood event. You will hear about heroes. You will read about victims.

My question and request of you, is to consider the future. Is it in your best interest, the state's best interest, or the residents of the U.S.A. to allow development in the flood plain?

When I bought this place in 1988 it looked ideal. In the 1990 flood it looked bad. In the 1996 flood it is a disaster. Yet more home are being built in this same flood plain each year. The county assessor continues to value flood plain farm land (I have 44 acres) as though it is commercial real estate property (land assessed at 5,000 per acre cannot stay farmland).

We need some leadership and convictions which pass legislation prohibiting further development of flood plain. To permit counties and developers to create markets in land, will continue to drain the reserves and funds used in disasters, from more valuable and worthwhile use. Each land use decision which compromises human safety and health, is a piracy of the county, state, and national future.

I am asking you and everyone receiving this message to have the courage to make some very tough decisions. We simply have to protect the future of our country, and the future of our population by prohibiting the lunacy that has led to these disasters.

There is no valid reason why state or federal funds (from taxpayers across the nation) have to be used to compensate owners who bought land from less than honest real estate developers, and county planners who allow such developments to take place in unsuitable areas.

I hope you can support legislation which is another form of tough love. It is time that we protect our future and our national resources.

I intend to follow up with a meeting with Key Bank, and our local county commissioners to plead, perhaps demand that they seriously consider a ban on flood plain development.

So you understand, I stand to lose a lot on decisions like this. My home is in the flood plain. There is a very good chance FEMA will not allow us to stay here. I would support that decision if it is applied equally and fairly across all river systems, watersheds, counties, and states. We have already lost all our farm equipment, all our vehicles, thousands of dollars of personal possessions, our heat source, and 1/2 mile of fencing. Thanks to government sources we can very likely rebuild, but is that the right decision??? The original developer of this property should never have been allowed to subdivide and build in farmland in the floodplain. The county should never have supported the request, and FEMA should never have issued flood insurance.

Dave Palmer
7475 State Route 12
Oakville, Wa.