Homeowners residing on First Street NW, as I do, chose to live by the river and know the risks. That is why we have flood insurance. The city’s so-called “voluntary” buyout would have forced us to take a $50,000 loss.
The 2008 flood did not begin with the river overtopping the earthen levee on the west bank, as many think. Neighborhoods first were flooded through the storm and sanitary sewer systems.
The city’s plan includes a levee on Fourth Street NW. Even with a wall, neighborhoods far from the river will still flood through the sewers, making it harder for the water to drain.
I was on the local-option sales tax oversight committee. This “oversight” committee has no authority; it can only give a recommendation. The committee voted down using LOST for public facilities, yet the City Council used it anyway.
In my opinion, the city did not use LOST correctly. Was 90 percent of it used for acquisition and rehabilitation of flood-damaged housing, as sold to the voters in 2009? No.