When the Stillaguamish River hit, Stanwood was ready

STANWOOD — Sandbags filled by students. Sweating city crews. Lots of community spirit.

That, and a little luck, saved downtown Stanwood from the Stilly once again.

Sandy Lindbeck at the Uff Da shop in the Viking Village along Highway 532 was impressed with the city’s flood preparation throughout the weekend.

The city’s sand and polyethylene berm kept floodwaters from crossing the highway and rushing down the hill and into her shop’s front door, Lindbeck said.

“I was so afraid, I couldn’t sleep all night. But I hung in there,” Lindbeck said. “With the help of volunteers, we sandbagged our shops on Sunday. Thank goodness, we didn’t need them. I can’t lose the Christmas business.”

Lindbeck, anxious about getting everything back in shape, said she planned to put some of her shop’s contents back on the floor Monday afternoon.

Her stolid Scandinavian sentiment was shared by Ron Backlund, who cleaned up the silt left by the flooding river at his home just west of Silvana.

Even before all the water had receded, Backlund already had pressure-washed the sides of the home he shares with his wife, Barbara. He cleaned his vinyl fences and began to wash down the Christmas trees growing in his Muskrat Flats tree farm.

“That’s the Norwegian in me,” Ron Backlund said. “I just gotta have things looking good.”

The Stillaguamish River came up in the middle of the night. It was as high as the winter flooding two years ago, but people had a little more warning this time, Barbara Backlund said.

“We’re cleaned up and will be open for tree sales the rest of this week,” she said. “But if you are heading this way, bring your boots just in case.”

Access to Silvana was cut off most of Monday because of deep floodwaters over the roads. Drivers stopped all along the hills above the river valley to snap pictures of the flooded Stilly.

Near the Highway 532 bridge to Camano Island, people on Leque Road were relieved not to have their houses filled with mud this year.

“I put everything up off the floor,” Ellen Lowell said. “I’m glad now that I can begin to put it back.”

At Stanwood City Hall, Mayor Dianne White sat among file boxes that had been placed on tables just in case the water rose in west downtown.

White was happy that most of the log debris in the Stillaguamish made its way out Hatt Slough to Port Susan. It also helped that the nearby Skagit River didn’t flood at the same time.

The mayor showed off a couple of black-and-white photos from the late 1950s or early 1960s. Flood waters surrounded her father’s veterinarian clinic near what is now Stanwood Middle School.

“When the Skagit goes, too, and the tide is up, that’s when we have the real problems,” White said, pointing to the pictures.

High school students and their families, alerted by the school district phone tree, worked into the evening filling sandbags Sunday. Meanwhile, White went door-to-door downtown, asking merchants to prepare for flooding.

“Then it was just sit and wait. Like waiting for a baby to be born,” White said. “(Deputy fire chief) Darin Reid did a great job organizing our emergency center. People worked hard. Ultimately, though, we just lucked out.”

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Providence nurse’s tearful plea shines light on short-staffed ER

The nurse described an overwhelmed emergency department, as staff have pleaded with the Everett City Council for hazard pay.

FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. A leading doctor who chairs a World Health Organization expert group described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as "a random event" that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File)
Snohomish Health District hiring full-time monkeypox task force

The county is gearing up for more cases. The outbreak will be evaluated weekly to decide if a four-person team is merited.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Body found in impounded car in Lake Stevens

In June, Bothell police impounded the vehicle. Last week, a Lake Stevens business found a body inside.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
California woman dies after motorcycle crash west of Lake Stevens

Kimberly Moore was the passenger on a motorcycle Friday morning. She died the next night. She was 53.

A view of the proposed alternative station location to Everett Station located east of the current BNSF rail tracks in downtown. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could light rail station under Pacific Avenue and over railroad work?

A group representing people around Everett Station wants Sound Transit to study the idea.

State Representative Robert Sutherland, left, gives a thumbs-up to passing drivers as he and a few volunteers wave flags and campaign signs along the side of State Route 9 on July 22, in Lake Stevens. Sam Low, right, talks with seniors on July 20 in Lake Stevens. (Sutherland photo by Ryan Berry / The Herald, Low photo by Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In GOP battle of Sutherland vs. Low, Democrats may tip the scale

The state lawmaker and Snohomish County council member are vying for a House seat. Democrats make up roughly 40% of the vote.

Food forum
Chocolate peanut butter Incredibles

These chocolate peanut butter bars are, as the name suggests, incredible.

SnoTown Brewing’s Frank Sandoval in 2019. (Aaron Swaney)
SnoTown Brewery owner charged with child molestation

Frank Sandoval conceded his conduct with a girl at his brewery was inappropriate, but he denied touching her sexually, charges say.

Everett
Head-on crash in Everett leaves man with life-threatening injuries

A two-vehicle collision in the 11600 block of Evergreen Way shut down southbound traffic Monday morning.

Most Read