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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


King County and Green River Valley Cities accept emergency funds to temporarily raise levees

Summary

Work will begin immediately to protect residents and businesses by raising flood protection levees at vulnerable spots in Auburn, Kent and Tukwila under an agreement signed today by King County Executive Kurt Triplett and the Mayors of Auburn, Kent and Tukwila.

Story

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L-R: King County Executive Kurt Triplett, Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke, King Co. Councilmember Julia Patterson, King Co. Councilmember Dow Constantine, Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis, Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton

Work will begin immediately to protect residents and businesses by raising flood protection levees at vulnerable spots in Auburn, Kent and Tukwila under an agreement signed today by King County Executive Kurt Triplett and the Mayors of Auburn, Kent and Tukwila.

The agreements allow the cities to proceed with levee improvement work to be paid for by $8.4 million in funding approved by the King County Flood Control District Board of Supervisors. The board approved the money following a funding request  by Executive Triplett to temporarily increase the height of Green River levees and to cover the costs of other actions to increase flood fighting capabilities throughout the county.

“The Flood District Board of Supervisors appropriated this additional money given the urgency of this unprecedented situation,” said Flood District Chair Julia Patterson. “The stakes are too high given the significant impacts to life, property and the regional economy that would be posed by Green River flooding.”

In addition to the agreements signed today, which deal with emergency flood-protection efforts, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already provided $3.2 million in federal money to acquire large sandbags, fill material and levee capacity-increasing systems, and the city of Kent has already started work on the project using $3 million of its own money. The Flood District’s Board of Supervisors’ action complements these actions already underway and will help Auburn and Tukwila as they prepare to raise the capacity of levees in their cities.

“The reason we have accomplished so much, so quickly in protecting the residents and businesses at risk from the flooding is because of the great coordination and collaboration by all of the mayors in the Green River Valley,” said Executive Triplett. “They recognized the importance of this work early on and found money in their own tight budgets and directed resources to help get these flood-related projects moving and do outreach to their residents. The agreements put in writing a spirit of coordination we’ve seen since day one when the flood threat became clear earlier this year. I commend them and the Flood District Board for this swift action.”

The money will be also be used to protect the Black River pump station in Tukwila, which provides flood protection for the City of Renton.

“King County and the Green River Valley cities are continuing to work together to strengthen the levees and prevent flooding in our communities,” said County Council Chair Dow Constantine. “These agreements will expedite the completion of dozens of flood control projects along the river.”

Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis first alerted county leaders to the flood hazards on the horizon and, along with other mayors, has helped draw attention to the vulnerabilities in the valley and the need to leverage regional resources.

"We appreciate the partnership with the county in enabling the cities to move forward with all possible speed,” said Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis.

“This agreement will help defray some of the costs Kent has incurred in defending our community from possible flooding and lays the foundation for cooperation in the future to repair and replace our levee system,” said Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke.  “I want to thank King County for forging this agreement.”

“The cities of Auburn, Kent, Renton and Tukwila have a long history of working together on common issues,” said Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton. “This is yet another example of regional coordination yielding results for our business and residential communities.”

Levee improvement work in Kent is underway and work is scheduled to begin soon in both Auburn and Tukwila.



King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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