Keiser-Fain bill to continue Green River flood protection efforts passes Senate

Auburn Reporter

The Washington State Senate today approved Senate Bill 5638, a measure that would create a stable funding source for the King County Flood Control District. The bill passed by a vote of 44-2.

“Thus far the flood district has made great progress in protecting lives, homes and businesses within the Green River Valley through the construction of permanent levees. Without this critical legislation – that progress will come to an end,” said Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, who sponsored the bill.

Keiser described the legislation as a proactive effort to prevent catastrophic floods.

“Passing this legislation helps us deal with floods before they happen to mitigate their effects as much as possible. It’s essential that we continue this effort.”

The bill passed with bipartisan support.

“I’m encouraged by the support this bill has received from both parties,” said Keiser. “The safety of families should never be a partisan issue.”

Sen. Joe Fain of Auburn, who also represents part of the Green River Valley, cosponsored the measure to help fund repairs for many of the levees protecting the valley’s homes and businesses.

“This bill is extremely important to the people of my district,” Fain said. “In many cases, the levees that are in place right now are only temporary and this bill will allow us to continue constructing permanent levees to help keep the valley safe from flooding.”

Fain said he’s grateful his colleague proposed the legislation and hopes it will fare equally well in the House of Representatives.

“My seatmates, Reps. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington, and Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, know how real the flood danger is for the 47th District, and I’m confident they’ll work hard to get this bill up for a vote before the full House,” Fain said. “If the funding source is not continued, 45 significant flood control projects – including the Howard Hanson Dam – could be in jeopardy, increasing the risk to valley cities. That is simply unacceptable.”

Fain used his inaugural Senate floor speech to lobby for the bill’s passage back on Feb. 23, and handed out miniature sandbags as a reminder to members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, who were considering the bill at the time, to approve it. SB 5638 will now be considered by the House.