Opinion

Plugged culverts, not development, caused washout

plugged culverts I don't know who is supplying the Woodinville Weekly with its Hollywood Intersection flooding information (Feb. 12 issue), but it sounds as if it's coming from King County Surface Water Management.
   For years after the 1986 pavement washout south of the Old Schoolhouse, SWM personnel showed slides of the washout at public hearings, saying the washout was caused by "rapid development" on the Hill.
   (The one and only cause was a too-small plugged culvert, since replaced and working fine. By now, SWM should have done likewise to the current problem culvert around the corner on 148th--they should also, by now, have modified the right-angle stream turn there.)
   SWM also confuses the data of redirecting the stream that flows downhill behind the Schoolhouse. We moved here in the early 1960s, and it had been redirected by that time. The Little League ballfields had nothing to do with it; they came much later.
   The importance of culverts can't be overemphasized. For those who don't know, the Southeast 287th Place road washout in which a Kent man was killed last week "happened after a culvert plugged up causing water to divert and wash out the roadway..." (Seattle Times, Feb. 9), just like the Hollywood canyon road in 1986.
   On another subject: It's amazing that King County can be so blatantly discriminatory in its treatment of big guy vs. little guy.
   It started with the big master-plan developments near Redmond, and then the one near Issaquah. I remember writing letters supporting those developments because I naively thought if the big guys clustered their housing and left lots of free open space for the public, it would relieve the pressure on the little guys to provide that free open space (ha!).
   Those big guys not only got increased housing densities, but also got upzoned commercial/business areas, and they do NOT pay all costs of road widening, etc.
   Now we're seeing the Kenmore Quality Urban Environment Project, a "demonstration" to "test a variety of innovative ways to implement the 1994 King County Comprehensive Plan in the areas of community involvement...and regulatory and process improvements."
   Again, HA! The big-guy owners of the Kenmore waterfront are being permitted to sink pilings and build artificial islands along the shoreline wetlands, and are being granted high-density residential and commercial zoning.
   There is to be heavy involvement of regional taxpayer funding for necessary road improvements to serve this private project, all starting out with old Bothell Way from Lake City, which is officially recognized as being so substandard, it's beyond fixing.
   Now let's compare the above to what's happening to little-guy Eva Harvick, the elderly white-haired owner of a small acreage directly across Swamp Creek from King County's fire station, police station, library, and park-and-ride complex.
   Over the years, she's utilized every public involvement opportunity to plead for residential zoning equal to neighbors north, south, and east of here, to be able to utilize her urban-area land at just a teensy fraction of the intensity of King County's uses to the west.
   I've heard her beg County Council members at Northshore Plan and Complan hearings with tears in her eyes for equity. They smile, nod, and whatever they adopt does not help her.
   Now she'd settle for the right to divide her land to allow just one more small house on the land she'd like to end her days on, and sell the big house she raised her family in. So far, she can't do it.
   It's galling that the big guys are handed the goodies while the little guys are placed in strait jackets.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville