Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole knows there is a solution to the Fox Creek flooding challenge for his city, but reaching that solution is still distant.
“We aren’t the only ones driving the boat,” he said.
As the city continues to seek solutions, Cole said Rainier must work cooperatively with a number of state and federal agencies and private land owners.
“It is a one-step-at-a-time process,” he said. “Unfortunately, the process doesn’t go as fast as you would like it.”
Fox Creek runs adjacent to Highway 30 in Rainier and over the years has contributed to the city’s flooding issue.
“The creek was filled in the ‘50s by a private land owner who thought it would be a good idea,” Cole said. “Now we are dealing with it.”
Cole said long-term plans include redirecting the creek into an above-ground waterway, a process known as “daylighting.” Work to ease the flooding at the creek began in earnest in the fall of 2016 after a sinkhole appeared at the Fox Creek site.
The repair included removing and existing failing culvert from C Street to where the sinkhole was, just off Third Street and Highway 30 with approximately 15 to 20 feet of material below ground removed and a new culvert put into its place.
That project, phase one of the repair, cost of $275,000.
“We left it buried but we made it a little better than it was,” Cole said.
The hope is to work through the state’s regional strategies team and federal partners, Cole said, to re-direct the creek back to its original state, which should permanently alleviate flooding in the area.
“The regional team has resources and planning that we might not have access to,” he said.
In the meantime, the City is monitoring the water levels at the creek 24 hours a day to help in early notification of potential floods.
“It cost the city $3,000 to install the monitoring equipment and $25 a month to monitor through a private firm,” he said.
Another meeting to continue the long-term planning for Fox Creek will be held in September.
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