Valley residents pick up pieces from flood
January 9, 2009
By Michael Rowe
For many downtown Snoqualmie residents, Friday was cleanup day.
Matt Skinner and Tim Brown, both Southeast Park Street residents, spent Friday morning pumping water out of their basements and helping their neighbors do the same. On Park Street and other parts of downtown Snoqualmie, the hum of water pumps sounded in the background all morning.
“By far, it’s the worse flood anyone here has ever seen,” Skinner said.
The Snoqualmie River, which runs parallel to Park Street, overflowed its banks and found its way into Brown’s living room. Skinner also reported that water entered his home during Wednesday’s flood.
Skinner spent the night in his brother’s spare room in Bellevue. His home’s heater is electric, and without power to run the heater, he did not want to spend a cold and wet night in the house.
He moved into his Park Street home 10 years ago with full knowledge that the area was prone to flooding. This was the third time his home has flooded in three years.
A layer of silt up to a half-inch in places covered Brown’s living room floor. Skinner said his house also had silt deposited on the floors from the food.
Paul Jalinek, a friend of Brown’s from Bellevue, brought a pump to help suck out the water from Brown’s basement. This was not the first time Jalinek brought his pump to help out after a flood.
Brown said that his wife and niece wanted to move away from Park Street to avoid future floods. He said that the Jan. 7, 2009 flood was definitely worse than November 2008 flood.
Brown thinks that development and over logging is responsible for making the flood worse. The nearby Meadowbrook Bridge acts as a partial dam, causing the river to back up into the Park Street neighborhood, Brown said. He thinks that the county has not been careful enough with permitting development and planning to control storm-water runoff.
Skinner wishes that the dam at Snoqualmie Falls was equipped to release more water through its spillway during flood events. He thinks that this would help to reduce flood damage, but he doubts that the area could be flood free.
“We live in a flood plain. It has flooded here longer than the history of man,” Skinner said.
The flooding does help to bring the neighborhood together, Skinner said. During the November 2008 flood, he met several new neighbors.
“We pull the pump to their house and, during the next one, they can help out,” Skinner said.
The boutique stores and restaurants on Railroad Avenue appeared to be spared by the flood.
“We were very lucky,” said Jody Sands, owner of Isadora’s on Railroad Avenue.
Sands and her husband bought the business only three weeks before the flood. Isadora’s previous owner told her that the business had never flooded during its seventeen-year history. Sands was sure that the business’s lucky streak had come to an end, but she was surprised and happy that the business wasn’t flooded.
Just down the street at the Candy Factory, Wes Sorstokke was also happy that the flood did not damage his business. He believes that the portion of Railroad Avenue where his business is located might be higher than other areas, and the extra elevation kept his store dry. Sorstokke has owned and operated the Candy Factory for 11 years, and it has never flooded. However, there can always be a first time and Sorstokke worried that this flood would be it.
“This one was scary,” he said.
Both Sands and Sorstokke noted that they will have to make up for several days of missed business.
North of Railroad Avenue, on the streets closer to the river, some businesses appeared to not be so lucky. Fat plastic hoses pumped water out of several of these businesses.
Reach reporter Michael Bayless Rowe at email@example.com or 425-392-6434 Ext. 248.