Final PaperPlan B PresentationSearch the WebpageFlood Video Links
Home PageRiver Issues
About the AuthorAsk the Angry CitizenDocument DirectoryDwelley TributeFred Slipper SoliloquiesGlossary of Flood WordsHistorical ArticlesLinksPhoto GalleryQuote of the MonthRain Gauge
E-mail the AuthorE-mail Webmaster

2007 Historical Quotes of the Month

Table of Contents


“The dikes aren't going to hold a 100-year flood. You might as well not have dikes in a 100 year flood, and in fact, you'd be better off without them. The dikes will only make things worse. The nearest Skagit County has ever come to a 100-year flood in recent history was in 1909. Flooding during the past four or five years has been at the 10 or 12 year level.”

(Source: Jerry Gardner, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 3/25/81 SVH, "Floodway plan could devastate growth")



What we ended up with on the floodplain maps for the Lower Skagit, was nothing to plaster technical journals with. It was a compromise, between the need to assure a high enough level of awareness of the potential flooding danger almost everywhere in the Delta, and the need to be fair to those who live there and wish to continue to do so, such as by constructing new buildings.  ...  In summary, the floodplains we defined were as good as we thought we could do. With bigger budgets, methods that are perhaps better (such as two-dimensional modeling) could have been employed; but there is not consensus that the product would have looked any different, even with a vastly higher expenditure.

(Source: Charles L. "Chuck" Steele , FEMA Region X Chief Natural and Technological Hazards Division, 4/17/1991 Letter)



"I think it's time to stop spending money on studies and start spending money on flood control. ...  I don't want to be the commissioner that has to go tell families why they lost their house."

(Source: Skagit County Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt, 7/1/2001 SVH, "Flood Solution on the Horizon?")



If a bad flood occurs during the next few days, there will be meetings and resolutions concerning getting flood relief and loss of many thousands of dollars to property and business; the water will go down and interest in flood relief will subside until the next flood comes along.  So far the most federal relief for the Skagit has consisted of surveys. As the river has a different channel each year, each survey shows' different results. Years ago the county had a small tax for flood relief, but when there were no floods the people had the tax dropped, so there is no balance built up to use for flood control.  ...  We will think of flood control now, but when the danger is gone, we forget floods and turn to thoughts of more pleasant things, consoling ourselves with the idea that there probably will not be another one for many years. It may take a real catastrophe to get real flood relief for the Skagit.

(Source:  Editorial, 11/17/32 C.T.)



Padilla bay is declared by geologists to have been the mouth of the Skagit river generations ago. When the channel changed, the old outlet was filled with alluvial mud.

(Source:  1/17/24 C.H.)


JULY 2007

PROPERTY TAX FOR FLOOD CONTROL... ONLY IF "benefit accruing to the property taxed"

Superior Judge H. G. Sutton of Kitsap County established a precedent for the state’s lower courts here yesterday when he ruled lands to be taxed under flood control districts must receive benefit before they can be legally assessed. Judge Sutton commented that “neither the legislature nor any municipal corporation created by it has the power to tax property for the purpose of specially benefiting and improving other private property without some degree of benefit accruing to the property taxed." . . .

(Source:  1/22/36 MVDH)

Washington Supreme Court Hears Flood Case

Because the residents derived no benefit, it was error to include their lands.   Weyerhaeuser Timber Co. v. Banker, 186 Wash. 332 (Wash., 1936).  . . .  By the terms "benefits" and "to be benefited," it is meant that the landowner has received, or will receive, by reason of the improvement, an increase in the market value of his property. Union Trust Co. v. Carnhope Irr. Dist., 132 Wash. 538, 232 P. 341, 234 P. 277; Butte v. School Dist. No. 1, 29 Mont. 336, 74 P. 869.

(Source: 3/9/36 MVDH)

JUNE 2007

memorial to the senate and house of representatives

We call your attention to the fact that since November, 1892, the floods in the Skagit have four times swept over the banks, broken the dikes and inundated the surrounding country.  The destruction of property by the overflow in November, 1892, and January, 1895, was not very great, but the overflow in May, 1894, and June of that year entailed a direct loss on the people of the Skagit Valley as shown by estimates attached hereto, approximating one-half million of dollars.  The town of Mount Vernon was entirely flooded, small boats and rafts navigated the streets and the people were driven from their homes for safety to the hills.  The damage to public and private property was great, and the suffering from exposure and sickness was distressing.

(Source:  10/21/1895 The Skagit News)

MAY 2007

“Regardless of what position local residents take on the issue of flood control regulations, it is obvious the complex issue will continue to spark debate here for some time.”

(Source: John Draper, Argus News Editor, 1/14/1982)

Back to the top

APRIL 2007

"The Corps moves at a glacial pace at its fastest. Even if the people of Hamilton decided they were interested, we're probably talking years, not months."

(Source: Former Congressman Al Swift, Skagit Valley Herald, 1/27/1982)

Back to the top

MARCH 2007


"Hydrology, we're all done with that.  We won't revisit it."

(Source: Chief of the Planning Branch, Seattle Corps District Corps of Engineers, 2/27/2007)

"In the FEMA process, I think that that's critical that they recognize that there's a community opinion that's in contrast with what they're trying to approve and put in place."

(Source: Mount Vernon Mayor Bud Norris, Skagit Valley Herald, 3/25/2007)

Back to the top



“People have had so many studies they are beginning to wonder when something will happen.”

(Source: Lloyd Johnson, Skagit County Engineer, SVH 3/23/78)

Back to the top



“Certainly FEMA bears some responsibility for the increased flood damage potential in the Skagit Valley.

(Source: E-mail from Patrick Massey, FEMA, 10/15/2001) (See ISYS QUERY FLOODWAY, 1/7/2007)

Back to the top