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2005 Historical Quotes of the Month

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             The Skagit River has again served notice that it has a will of its own and can not be controlled by predictions, weather charts, previous performances or power dams.  When conditions are right the Skagit will flood, and the county might just as well prepare its defenses.  In the lower valley dikes again held off a major disaster.  Their move will be better dikes and allowance for even higher water than has been experienced.  Communities such as Hamilton may also have to look into diking projects for protection.  The upper valley could well use an emergency road system out of the flood areas, something the county could do easily with a few connecting links in the Lyman-Hamilton area.  Also needed is a county budget for flood emergency use and a definite working plan for handling such emergencies.  The county engineerís stepped into the breach and did an excellent job this past week end, but their work could have been greatly simplified if they had funds to work with and rules to follow.  Floods may not come often in future years that is true.  But there is little reason why they canít be included in our planning and be accepted as part of the weather hazard that must be faced. (Source:  Charles M. Dwelley, Concrete Herald Editor & Publisher 2/15/51 C.H.)

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            In recent years there has been some agitation for the purpose of controlling the floodwaters of the Skagit River, but as time passes on after a disastrous flood, the people of the valley easily forget that they ever had a flood, until another comes along.  Then they will have meetings for some time figuring on dredging and straightening the channel, but in the end, nothing comes out of it.  (Source:  John Finstead, 3/20/24 Mt. Vernon Argus)

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           In my opinion, the only manner in which the farmers of the Skagit Valley can get relief from the disastrous freshets which visit them is by a proper system of diking.  The state law is very full and explicit in regard to diking.  It fully provides for the formation of diking districts, the appointment of dike commissioners who shall have charge of all matters relating to the dikes, the assessment and collection of taxes and all other matters pertaining to the subject of dikes.  I am of the opinion that the greater part of the trouble on the Skagit River is due to the incomplete system of dikes.  The river is divided into several diking districts, but I do not understand that any one general and systematic plan for the construction of dikes for the lower river has ever been agreed upon.  In some places the dikes seemed to be unnecessarily high, in others dangerously low, and in a good many places they are weak and thin and for long distances they are entirely too near the river banks.  The placing of the dikes so near the river banks confines the waters so much that at times of freshets an abnormal rise is produced, and it also exposes the dike to the swift current, which soon washes it away.  The greater part of the breaks in the dikes along the Skagit River within the past two or three years have been due to this cause, or to the fact that the dike was so near the bank of the river that the bank gave out underneath and actually tumbled the dike into the river.  It appears to me that the proper solution of this problem requires the formation of the entire part of the Skagit Valley needing dike protection into a single diking district and the appointment of a competent experienced civil engineer to take entire charge of the building and maintenance of all the dikes on the river.  (Source:  Report of Capt. Harry Taylor,  Corps of Engineers, December 11, 1897)

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