The Flood That Is, Was, and Will Be

My Troubles

This is a chronology of some of the communication one family has had with government appointees, elected officials and anyone who might listen to problems associated with the February 1996 Chehalis system flood.

On a very personal note, my home should never been built. When we bought it, the preclosing papers demonstrated that the builder had flood proofed it, the county issued legitimate permits and the whole thing was endorsed - and therefore, to the next buyer, the home seemed safe. Had the county protected the flood plain from development, or had they insisted (if they couldn't stop building it) on demonstrable flood proofing - the results would be different.

Continuing on a personal note - some of you will see that we have spent enormous amounts of money. And we did it all by getting more mortgages. We are now in debt for life. There is no chance we will ever live to see our home paid for. Unless of course you want to buy it for what we owe! We had no grants, no mitigation assistance, no help whatsoever in trying to protect our property. So despite all that you read and all that you might believe, there really isn't much assistance for individuals who live in a rural environment.

In a society which invented air bags to save lives, sells child monitors which catch fire, marketed leaded gasoline, and watches residents die from contaminated meat and juices, one can only wonder why it thinks it can manage further development in the floodplain and destruction of wetlands. On these pages you will find real copies of real letters sent to real people. Unfortunately there has been absolutely no response showing any action and no solutions offered by any of these people.

What do You Think?

I am interested in your opinions, your problems, your reactions and your ideas.

Some letters, issues, and responses:

  1. Letters sent to the World, White House on down Feb 1996
  2. Response from Wa. Senator Swecker Feb 1996
  3. Response from Wa. Representative Hatfield March 1996
  4. A Plea to Grays Harbor Emergency Management April 1996
  5. More Pleas to Washington Elected Officials Oct 1996
  6. Response from Senator Murray Nov 1996
  7. Another Plea to Washington DC Nov 1996
  8. Response from Senator Snyder Dec 1996
  9. FEMA letter to Senator Snyder Nov 1996
  10. Letter to Editor, Chronicle, Flood Action plan Jan 1997
  11. Mitigation information - 2nd and 3rd Mortgages Jan 1997 cost of repairs and lack of support
  12. A Flood Wall for Homeowners Jan 1997
  13. Sales Tax Issues for Flood VictimsJan 1997 a peronal point of view
  14. Thurston County Against FAC Plans Feb 1997 a news story
  15. Recent Chronicle Article on Flood Plan and West Lewis County Feb 1997
  16. Impact of Human Activities and the Chehalis Flood Feb 1997 a citizen's viewpoint and Letter to the Editor.
  17. A brief digest of a meeting on failed flood control in Skagit County Feb 1997
  18. A personal flood wall solution to flooding design, costs and construction.

To clear the air, this page is maintained on my home computer, which was paid for with my money, and I am using my money to lease space using my telephone and my time. I receive no subsidy, grant, endorsement, or help in this effort. I am solely responsible for the content and I represent these to be the thoughts and words of one person, ME.

Old Background Information

In March 1997 the Lewis County Commissioners decided against the proposed Flood Action Council plan. The following material is now out of date:

This page was started November 23, 1996 after I read the endorsement given to the Chehalis River Basin Flood Action Committee in the November 23rd issue of the Centralia Chronicle. I was all wet in February, I may still be all wet, but I am angry and frustrated by the lack of support and the lack of involvement by and for rural residents throughout the Chehalis River basin or watershed. To me the endorsement is a continuation of uncontrolled growth for the sole purpose of aiding the business portion of society - real estate, developers, construction companies, and power seekers. This uncontrolled growth does not consider the long term impact on current residents, the infrastructure or the future quality of life for everyone in the impacted area What is worse the solution only looks to a small geopolitical boundary, ignoring the fact that the river system cuts through many counties and jurisdictions.

Despite my association with a number of groups that work with agencies throughout the Chehalis basin, I have to take personal exception to the way the entire flood emergency, flood repair, and flood mitigation are handled. It seems that those with political power, or those with political aim, have the best chance of benefitting from the flood through the actions they describe as benefitting the residents . This applies specifically to those interests focused on flood plain development.

It is my opinion that the benefits are all accruing to the development folks and government. Those who recently built in the flood plain are screaming and getting attention. These are the same people who should never have been permitted to build where they did. Yet our elected or appointed officials ignored the risks in exchange for growth and the accompanying tax revenues. Now, under the guise of a Flood Action Committee, they are tapping into 'public' funds to protect themselves . Meanwhile the corrective action they take will cause harm to residents who now find themselves in a 50 year flood plain, because of the actions of the newcomers.

Now as I read about attempts to move flood waters down stream faster, I wonder who is watching the store? I wonder what my neighbor, who except for catching the top of a barbed wire fence would have drowned in February, will think of this effort? Our other neighbor was born and raised in his current home and has seen over 80 winters, but never a flood like this one which ravaged his childhood home. What will the next flood do to him?

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