KENT—A rush to get ready in the Green River Valley.
While the Army Corps Of Engineers works feverishly to shore up the Howard Hanson Dam, everyone down stream is preparing for a possible wall of water.
In an effort to help prevent flooding in the Green River Valley, the City of Kent will place 20,000 giant sandbags along the Green River levee. The bags will be in place by November 1.
The placement of the approximately three-feet square sandbags will require the closure of the Green River Trail, which runs along the top of the nearly 12 miles of levees through Kent.
"To maintain the stability of the levees, the giant sandbags must be placed in the center of trail," according to Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke.
Trail users should watch for orange "trail closure" signs at major access points. Once the sandbags are in place, the trail will re-open for foot traffic only. "We couldn't find a safe way to accommodate both foot traffic and cyclists," Cooke said. "Unfortunately, bicyclists will need to use alternate routes."
Frager Road between S. 200th Street and Washington Avenue/West Valley Highway can be used as an alternate route, while the Interurban Trail between the north and south City limits will also serve north-south bicyclists and pedestrians. East-west access roads will include S. 200th/196th, S. 212th Street, James and Meeker Streets.
Bicyclists can legally ride on most public streets and sidewalks in the city.
It is unknown how long the Green River Trail will be restricted. The giant sandbags may remain in place until the Corps has completed repairs to the dam, which could be up to five years.
The Kent Valley is facing a higher risk of flooding this winter due to water seeping more rapidly through an earthen bank next to the Howard Hanson Dam after record high water last winter. Until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can make repairs, it must limit the amount of flood water it stores behind the dam.
Meantime over at Northwest Harvest's Kent Warehouse the task of feeding the hungry gets tougher every day. The need for help is up 13 percent from last year.
If the flood happens that number will skyrocket.
To make sure they can continue to feed the hungry. Northwest Harvest has moved all of its food and supplies to higher shelves in its warehouse.
They cannot afford to be out of business for a single day.
Claire Acey with Northwest Harvest says; "This is kind of our central hub for the state of Washington, so most of the food that goes out at least starts here, the need is so strong now and then coupled with this kind of emergency really puts people in dire straits so it is imperative that we stay open, that we stay responsive and that's what we do."
Harvest is also contacting plumbers, electricians, and contractors to request they be first in line to volunteer in the event of an emergency.