Gov. Inslee declares state of emergency in Okanogan

Flash flooding washed out this section of Chiliwist Road.

Photo by Al Camp
Flash flooding washed out this section of Chiliwist Road.

"My heart is with the citizens of Okanogan County, who have suffered an incredibly tough summer."

— Gov. Jay Inslee

— Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency for Okanogan County following severe rainstorms earlier that resulted in flash floods, mudslides and debris flows that blocked two state highways a week ago.


Gov. Jay Inslee

“My heart is with the citizens of Okanogan County, who have suffered an incredibly tough summer,” Inslee said. “This proclamation ensures that every state resource is made available to help our neighbors, our businesses and our infrastructure recover from the devastating storms.”

On Aug. 21, severe storms produced sudden and extreme rainfall over fire damaged areas, resulting in flash flooding, landslides and slope erosion. Debris flows blocked sections of state highways 153 and 20, resulting in road closures, limited access and detours during the busy summer tourism season.

Chiliwist Road also was washed away.

Additionally, the storms caused significant damage to “homes, businesses, farms, public utilities and infrastructure, in addition to road closures and detours impacting the life, health and safety of our citizens,” Inslee wrote in the proclamation signed late Wednesday.

The estimated cost to fix the roads will exceed $800,000.

The state Department of Transportation and local jurisdictions are coordinating resources to repair the damage to the roads and continue to assess the damage caused by the storms.

Inslee’s proclamation directs state agencies and departments to use state resources to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected areas in responding to and recovering from the event. The proclamation will also help in an effort to secure federal highway dollars to repair the roads.


fbiebesh 4 years, 5 months ago

I sure would appreciate it if they were thinking of the folks who are trying to rebuild during this process, rather than just focusing on getting more funding for government programs. Right now, I am looking at 12-15K in sales taxes that we will have to spend on rebuilding. I'd much rather put that money to extra work to be done, which would benefit local businesses supporting the cleanup. Have our state representatives thought about sponsoring legislation to grant a sales tax holiday on rebuilding efforts?

I appreciate the county's temporary reduction of our property taxes, but the money saved on a temporary reduction of the sales tax would really help out.


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