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South Park residents, Seattle Public Utilities discuss flood prevention and preparations

KOMO-TV Seattle 5 days ago Jackie Kent, KOMO News Reporter
© Provided by KOMO-TV Seattle

Flood cleanup continues in South Park nearly a month after king tides from the Duwamish River devastated homes and businesses. 

RELATED | What are king tides and how can you prepare for them?

Luckily, there was no reported flooding in South Park from the latest king tide this week, but people still want to know what the city is doing long-term to prevent another big mess.

RELATED | Another round of king tides coming to South Park neighborhood

“We lost everything downstairs and half the backyard,” stated Daniel Gamet. Since king tides destroyed his basement in December, he's made progress removing drywall and tossing damaged furniture. “It’s all garbage now. I’ve been tearing out this wall because there’s mold on that side but on the backside there’s mold,” he added.

So far, Gamet has filled two large pods with the belongings he's trying to salvage, as the city has brought in a contractor on this block to do hazardous materials mitigation and other cleanup.

The latest king tide this week stayed below the banks, and the city was more prepared by setting up tens of thousands of sandbags along the river and in front of South Park homes and businesses.

“We were just focused on making sure this community did not have additional impacts when they’re still cleaning up,” Seattle Public Utilities (SPU)  Deputy Director Keri Burchard-Juarez stated.

Gamet wants Seattle to look into building a retaining wall, and believes the city's sandbags won't do enough to stop a future flood.

“I think it’s a waste of money to be honest. So do the neighbors. I mean, it’s still going to flood regardless,” Gamet stated.

“We don’t have a cost estimate [for the sandbags] yet,” Burchard-Juarez responded. “We just haven’t run those numbers yet. We plan to protect this community from the river overtopping, so none of this investment will go to waste. Some of this will stay out here. There’s another king tide expected in February.”

To minimize future flooding, SPU is working to shore up the drainage infrastructure in South Park with its pump station project, and there are talks of other long-term solutions.

“We can work with Army Corps of Engineers to come up with a solution to keep the Duwamish River from overtopping,” Burchard-Juarez stated. “Our elected officials are very interested in securing funding for a project. There are grant opportunities that we’re pursuing and we’re in the planning stages of that now.”

Still, Gamet says he plans to move out of the neighborhood to avoid the devastation of another potential flood.

“We weren’t going to at first but, I mean, we can’t do this every year,” Gamet said.

The city is still supporting Gamet's family and 10 others with temporary housing at hotels.  Trailers have also been set up in South Park for people to do laundry and take showers.

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