The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis say they are considering not forming their individual flood taxing district to pair with those organized in Lewis, Thurston and Grays Harbor counties.
“Why are people still building in the floodplain?” said Mark White, the tribe’s natural-resources director, criticizing Lewis County’s development practices. “Do you sacrifice a lamb to save a sheep?”
White said Chairman David Burnett would be sending a letter to the members of the Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority expressing his concerns over Lewis County’s fight with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to free Chehalis’ economic core along Interstate 5 from the restrictive floodway designation.
“They’re still trying to figure out ways to fill in the floodplain,” White said.
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The 11-jurisdiction group has been trying to determine how to move beyond the flood authority by June. The plan all along has been for each county to form its individual flood control zone district and then link them to one another with interlocal agreements.
The flood authority was formed in response to the devastating floods that covered parts of Interstate 5 in Lewis County in December 2007. Grays Harbor County Commissioner Terry Willis is its chairwoman; Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela is the vice chairwoman. Member jurisdictions include Bucoda and Thurston County.