LYMAN, Wash. – The Skagit County Board of Commissioners is seeking help from the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent further erosion along the Skagit River after it reached its highest level since 2006.
Flooding has left three homes teetering along the riverbank, KOMO-TV reported.
“I can’t even describe the feeling I feel,” said Michael Taxdahl, who was forced to evacuate the home he purchased in 2008. He and his fiancee, BrieAnna Anderson, wanted to raise their children there, but it’s not safe to return.
“Nobody ever figured in our lifetime that this was going to happen here or else we would have moved years ago,” said Taxdahl.
Taxdahl’s fiancee learned her home was in danger on Thursday while helping her neighbor, Mark Harris, evacuate.
“I can’t see staying here. The land continues to go,” said Mark Harris, who has lived along the river for nearly 28 years. On Friday night, a shed on Harris’ property was swept away by the river.
The Skagit River reached its highest level since 2006 on Thursday.
“It’s terrible that no one is doing anything for us – our state, our state government, our federal government is doing nothing for us. Our county has not stepped up to the plate,” said Lyman Mayor Ed Hills.
Hills said he made numerous phone calls and sent emails trying to get help, but didn’t make any progress until Friday. He said initially the Army Corps told him the erosion did not affect the town’s infrastructure so there was nothing they could do.
Homeowner Richard Guidinger said he designed, drafted and engineered his dream home on riverside property the family had owned since the 1920s. The Skagit River is now eroding land underneath the building.
“We planned on living here till the day we died, not the day the river took it away,” Vicky Guidinger said. “Very frustrated, very angry that people are just letting us wash away.”
In a letter sent to the Army Corps on Friday, the Skagit County Board of Commissioners requested emergency action to construct a temporary berm to prevent more erosion.
The Commissioners believe critical infrastructure is now threatened, particularly if there’s additional flooding this winter along the Skagit River. The infrastructure, which is in the path of potential erosion, includes a town-owned water main, two fiber-optic lines and an electrical line that runs alongside West Main Street, according to a press release from the Department of Emergency Management.
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