State shores up funding for King County Flood Control District

May 6, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 6, 2011

King County leaders praised state legislators and Gov. Chris Gregoire for supporting a measure to shore up funding for the King County Flood Control District, the agency responsible for flood-protection policies, programs and projects.

Gregoire signed a measure Thursday to protect funding for the district. The bill exempts the district from the statewide property rate tax cap by protecting up to 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The exemption is in effect from next year until 2017.

Until the governor signed the measure, the district faced a steep drop-off in funding due to the decline in housing values and a state cap on property tax rates.

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King County urges legislators to protect funds for social safety net

January 5, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Jan. 5, 2011

King County Council members called on state lawmakers to maintain a basic social safety net and to secure a stable funding source for public transportation in the upcoming legislative session. County leaders also seek relief from a state tax ceiling, because the threshold could impact dollars for flood control.

The issues top the legislative agenda adopted by the council Monday.

“This is an ambitious agenda that acknowledges the budget realities facing both King County and the state,” council Chairman Larry Gossett said in a statement. “We realize that because of the state deficit, all state funding is on the chopping block. Our goal with this agenda is to work with the Legislature on revenue ideas that don’t depend on additional resources from Olympia.”

State legislators convene at the Capitol on Jan. 10 for the 105-day session. The state faces a $4.6 billion hole in the 2011-13 budget.

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King County highlights flooding alert program

November 2, 2010

King County launched the countywide Flood Warning Program in 1960. In the decades since, the program has provided automated flood alerts and river level information to residents. The system operates continuously during a flood. Flood Warning Program employees also monitor river levels on site during flood events.

King County Council members highlighted the program Nov. 1 for a half-century of protecting residents during floods.

The program is part of the county Flood Control District. Staffers from the county Water and Land Resources Division run the program.

“New technology has improved the speed and accuracy of receiving and distributing flooding data, and demonstrates the value of maintaining this system,” County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, the Issaquah-area representative, said in a statement. “This information system allows citizens, businesses and public agencies to make critical safety and economic decisions, such as sand-bagging or evacuation, during flood events.”

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County offers deluge of information to stay safe during floods

October 13, 2010

NEW — 1 p.m. Oct. 13, 2010

Before seasonal rain starts to soak the region, leaders joined together to remind King County residents of the potential for floods, and to mark Flood Awareness Month.

The county established a system 40 years ago to alert floodplain residents to danger.

“It is a credit to our leaders a half a century ago to understand the need, particularly in light of the increased demand to develop land for neighborhoods and business areas, for the county’s first flood warning system,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a news release.

Leaders reminded residents in flood-prone areas to take steps to prepare for nasty winter weather and to sign up for automated flood alerts.

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Learn about disaster risks and ways to prepare March 4

February 23, 2010

King County Flood Control District officials will outline ways to reduce risks for people who live in or near floodplains during a March 4 meeting in Issaquah. Read more

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City reviews last flood, prepares for future crises

November 3, 2009

David Bramwell (left) shovels sand into a bag held by Bruce Wendt in a sandbagging practice run for CERT volunteers last week. Courtesy of Brenda Bramwell

David Bramwell (left) shovels sand into a bag held by Bruce Wendt in a sandbagging practice run for CERT volunteers last week. Courtesy of Brenda Bramwell

Floodwaters caused about $1 million worth of damage and left behind piles of debris and muck when Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks overflowed in January, but the disaster also readied emergency planners for the next flood.

The next time flood waters rise, volunteers will fan out across flood-prone neighborhoods and city officials will unleash a deluge of information about water levels, road closures and recovery efforts. Many of the procedures were tested during what officials characterized as a successful response to the major flood in mid-January.

But the next flood could occur as early as the next several weeks, and officials said work remains to be done to prepare Issaquah for another natural disaster. On Oct. 27, City Council members received a briefing about the response to the January flood and preparation efforts for the upcoming flood season.

City Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Campbell said readings from a pair of flood gauges did not correlate with the damage caused by floodwaters. A U.S. Geological Survey gauge downstream on Issaquah Creek appeared inaccurate, Campbell said. The gauge indicated about 2,500 cubic feet per second, Campbell said, but flood damage was similar to the 3,500 cubic feet per second estimate from the last major flood to hit Issaquah, in 1996. Read more

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