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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Damage assessment and debris removal begin as flooding recedes

Summary

King County Office of Emergency Management is now collecting information about damages from the January 2009 floods.

Story

Exec Sims visits flooded areasKing County Executive Ron Sims today visited parts of the county that have been among the hardest hit by recent record floods. In Snoqualmie, Executive Sims and Mayor Matt Larson worked side-by-side with Snoqualmie residents unloading flood-damaged debris from their vehicles.

"King County volunteers, churches, American Red Cross, city employees and neighbors were rallying to help each other and I was glad to lend my assistance too", Sims said. "It is such a sobering experience to watch people have to throw away their valuables and belongings."

"It was so neat to see everybody pitching in," said one Snoqualmie-area resident who was helping her neighbors dispose of flood-damaged items.

After meeting with flood victims and helping with the flood debris disposal, Sims met with representatives from the Mount Si High School Board to tour flood damage and clean up underway at the school. Thanks to a quick response from city and school officials, the high school is expected to be open in time for classes Monday morning.

Executive Sims also traveled to Pacific where he and Mayor Rich Hildreth went to one of the city's most devastated neighborhoods. Sims listened to personal stories and helped with clean up efforts in that community as well. The Executive told residents that he will do everything he can to get them the resources they need to recover from the damage.

King County is working with the state to secure federal disaster assistance to help individuals and businesses with repairs and the costs of debris removal

"County departments will continue to help affected residents recover from the flood impacts, said Sims. "I've already started to advocate for the people of King County at state and national levels to get resources to back up the heavy lifting residents and communities are doing on the local level."

A preliminary damage reporting hotline will be established on Monday for individual property and business owners to report losses. The number to call is 800-523-5044 and will be open during the following days and times:

Jan. 12, 2009 Jan.13 - 16, 2009
12:00 noon - 4:30 p.m 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Citizens may also report damages online at https://aqua.kingcounty.gov/prepare/damage/.

River conditions generally improving

River levels are dropping in most regions of King County, including the Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers, which set flow records earlier this week. The Cedar River is at a Phase III flood alert level because of controlled releases from an upstream dam, which is operated by the City of Seattle. Flows on the Green and White rivers also remain high because of controlled dam releases by the Army Corps of Engineers. King County flood management staff will continue to monitor conditions.

Emergency repairs under way

King County crews have begun emergency repairs to damaged levees along the Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers. The work to patch the damaged levees will likely take several days to complete. Crews will continue to inspect levees and other flood-prevention structures over the next several days as the floodwaters recede.

Meanwhile, King County road crews continue to remove debris and perform emergency repair work on several damaged roads.

Public health and safety a priority

Emergency management and public health officials advise residents to take precautions to stay safe as they return to flooded areas.

Motorists should closely monitor the latest road alerts and weather reports, and continue to exercise caution when traveling. Road closure signs should be obeyed and citizens are asked to report any road hazards they see on county maintained roads by calling 206-296-8100.

Detailed information about health issues related to flooding can be found at www.kingcounty.gov/health/disaster.



King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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