A car drives through flooding on the road outside the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on Feb. 6, 2020. Mitchell Atencio/staff photo

A car drives through flooding on the road outside the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on Feb. 6, 2020. Mitchell Atencio/staff photo

After flood, costs flow for Issaquah

The city anticipates about $260,000 in repairs.

The heavy rains and historic flooding in Issaquah on Feb. 5, 2020, resulted in city work and, therefore, city expense.

In total, there is an estimated $260,000 in costs to the city for initial and ongoing work, clean up and repairs.

Thomas Rush, communications coordinator for the city of Issaquah, said most of the cost will be paid by the city’s stormwater fund — about $205,000 — and the street fund will pick up the remaining $55,000. The estimates are as of Feb. 26 and are subject to change.

Rush said that some $100,000 of the total cost was accomplished in the initial response and clean up efforts. He said if the flood event ends up qualifying for a Presidential Disaster Declaration, the city will work to recover all eligible costs.

In a statement, Harvey Walker, storm and sewer operations manager, gave a recap.

“We have completed much of the initial work from the flood event, such as removing sediment from the roadways and clearing a blockage of large woody debris on Tibbetts Creek from under the foot bridge at Tibbetts Manor,” Walker said. “Inspections of the stormwater system are complete, and we identified the facilities that need to be cleaned such as filter vaults, catch basins and stormwater pipes as a result of the flood. The work is ongoing and weather dependent, but should be complete this spring.”

He said some projects, that require in-stream or near-stream work, are scheduled for July, during the work windows for Tibbetts and Issaquah creeks. There are also repairs being made to Salmon Run Nature Park where the bank was eroded and a portion of a trail was lost to the creek.

At the Feb. 18 regular city council meeting, Mayor Mary Lou Pauly, in her mayor’s report, also gave a summary of the flood.

Pauly said almost six inches of rainfall was measured upstream from Issaquah near state Route 18, resulting in downstream flows of almost 2,700 cubic feet per second. Most of the flooding occurred on the main stem of the Issaquah creek. Fifteen (15) homes including some apartments were damaged.

“Typical damage included flooded crawl spaces and damage to heating ducts. Several homes had water inside the living space,” she said.

Pauly said many people in the community pitched in to help along with first responders, including citizen emergency responders. She said volunteers logged more than 400 hours of service during the flooding event and there are no known reports of injuries.

“Our neighbors and friends volunteered their time over several shifts to fill sandbags, load vehicles, and shovel mud from driveways and garages,” Pauly said.

As far as commercial property, the city has been made aware of bank erosion near the Issaquah School District Administration site, she said. Across town there were many reports of debris in roadways and silt in stormwater systems.

A landslide happened on Northwest Newport Way east of the Issaquah Transit Center that closed the road, with trees and debris in the road, and a slide reactivated on Mountainside Drive Southwest.

Pauly said there was an extended closure of Newport Way Northwest for city and county crews to assess the ongoing slide situation. The road reopened on Feb. 14, but as that work continues there are jersey barriers in place and the speed limit has been lowered to 20 miles per hour. Earth movement will continue to be monitored by city staff.

“All roads are now back open,” Pauly said.

“The city response expenditures to date are approximately $80,000,” Pauly said on Feb. 18, “The total cost estimate for clean up and follow up is estimated at approximately $250,000, but it could be higher depending on costs associated with slide mitigation.”

Road closures for flooding and other related complications included Newport Way Southwest, Newport Way Northwest, Sycamore Drive Southeast, Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, and state Route 900.

Community members affected by the flood, or who have flood damage, might be eligible for disaster relief. More information can be found on the city’s website. (https://www.issaquahwa.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=4240)

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