The Dave Somers Sunday commentary on county planning for landslides was well-reasoned and a timely public service. (“Can Snohomish County plan for landslides?”) It also underscored the truth that elected governments are no match for natural events.
As to the commentary’s much-questioned role of government, the foremost role by far is the administration of public safety — a function long ignored by local city government in its dealings with the Snohomish River.
Landslide impacts on rivers are nothing new. Recently, evidence was presented of major landslides that occurred in remote prehistory along the Lowell-Larimer hillside, one of which appears to have detoured an ancient Snohomish River branch that flowed westward across north Marshland at Lowell. (Lowell civic special meeting of June 16.)
To Somers’ eight well-reasoned proposals is herein added a ninth: It is the formation of an Office of Integrated Government Planning for projects in inherently-recurrent hazard areas. This need has been highlighted by the Snohomish River whose shoreline borders hundreds of county lowland farms and residents, while Everett city rearranges its local channel segment as if no one of relevance existed beyond city limits. A case in point is Everett’s channel constrictions at Lowell that hazard residents’ life and property on Ebey Island, marshland, and regions south in high waters absolutely certain to recur there in the future.
Alex G. Alexander