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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Regional leaders join County Executive to urge federal support for new interim solution proposed for federal Howard Hanson Dam

Summary

King County Executive Dow Constantine, backed by the mayors of the Green River Valley, today urged federal support for funding of an interim solution outlined today for repair of the federal Howard Hanson Dam in southeast King County. Joining in the request were Council Councilmember Julia Patterson, who is also chair of the King County Flood Control District, and State Representative Tina Orwall.

Story

King County Executive Dow Constantine, backed by the mayors of the Green River Valley, today urged federal support for funding of an interim solution outlined today for repair of the federal Howard Hanson Dam in southeast King County. Joining in the request were Council Councilmember Julia Patterson, who is also chair of the King County Flood Control District, and State Representative Tina Orwall.

“If we can obtain $44 million, we can finally assure our residents, businesses, and the region that there is a fix underway for the federal Howard Hanson Dam,” said Executive Constantine. “We can remove the immediate threat that has hung over the residents and businesses of the Green River Valley and return the dam, on an interim basis, back to the capacity it had before it was damaged.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the dam and has been working to repair the damaged right abutment that prevents the complete filling of the reservoir and puts pressure on the river levees downstream.

Seattle District Commander Col. Anthony Wright told regional leaders at a briefing today that if the Corps can secure funding within the next month, he can extend the so-called “grout curtain” by November and install a side wall. Col. Wright said that work would significantly reduce the flood risk over the next several years while a permanent fix is funded and constructed.

Executive Constantine called upon the federal government and Congress to urgently identify the federal funds that can be found to complete this repair work before the next flood season, and expedite the Army Corps work necessary for the permanent Howard Hanson Dam fix.

“The threat of flooding has already cost the region opportunities for economic development,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “We need to bring the dam up to full capacity and allow Valley companies to return to ‘business as usual’ much sooner than anticipated.”

“Today’s news makes it more likely that we can keep these important businesses here, because they are the economic engine for our region,” said Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis. “Our businesses include lots of freight and industrial, so if they leave, they will leave the region. We want to keep them here and this repair work will help reassure them that this is a good place to continue their businesses.”

“This is very good news,” said Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke. “The fact that the Corps has proposed an interim fix should provide a sense of security for our residents and businesses so long as we can secure the $44 million for the second grout curtain.”

“It’s critical that we fix this problem and provide both an interim and permanent solution to make if safe for people to continue to live, work and raise their families here the way they have for the past 50 years,” said Renton Chief Administrative Officer Jay Covington, standing in for Mayor Denis Law who is in Washington, D.C. today seeking federal support for repair of the dam.

"We are pleased with the positive steps the Army Corps has taken for temporary measures to bolster the Howard Hanson Dam,” said Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton. “At the same time, the Corps needs to expedite a permanent fix for the Dam."

“This was good to hear,” said Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines). “We are working to pursue funding for an interim and permanent fix, which puts us on the right track to re-establish economic stability for residents and businesses in the area, because until it’s in place, there is still a strong flood risk.”

“I thank all my fellow mayors and the executive for the work we’ve done together that has reduced the threat significantly from what we faced just a year ago,” added Mayor Lewis.

Col. Wright said work can move from design of repairs into construction within the next few weeks if funding is secured, with a construction timeline of about six months once funding is in hand.

Learn more about flood preparations in the Green River Valley at www.kingcounty.gov/safety/FloodPlan/GreenRiverValley.aspx



King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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