Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mayor and the Flood


May 22, 2008

Contact: Marlene Feist
Public Affairs Officer
(509) 625-6740

Part of Upriver, South Riverton now closed

Mayor Mary Verner will tour Peaceful Valley and Upriver Drive today to assess areas affected by Spokane River flooding starting at about 1 p.m. She will be accompanied by City Public Works and Public Safety officials.

The City of Spokane is making sand and bags available to property owners in Peaceful Valley and along Upriver Drive, who may need the bags to keep water out of their homes, as the Spokane River continues to rise.

Sand and bags will be available in the parking lot at the Peaceful Valley Community Center and near the closed portion of Upriver Drive no later than 5 p.m. Updated information will be sent out as soon as it’s available. Citizens can fill the bags and then place them as appropriate on their properties.

Meanwhile, the City’s Street Department has placed sandbags at the boat launch at the end of Water Street in Peaceful Valley, around the Erie Street wastewater pump station, and around the levy in Peaceful Valley at the former Casket Company property.

Upriver Drive from Mission to Greene streets remains closed, and South Riverton, which is on the south side of the Spokane River, is closed to through traffic at Greene Street.

More information on flood preparation and cautions can be found at or at

Meanwhile, City Fire officials continue to repeat their safety concerns about the river. The entire river is running high and fast, and water temperatures remain very cold. The National Weather Service now says the Spokane River will crest sometime on Friday afternoon or early Saturday, however it is anticipated that the river will remain above flood stage until late this month.

Please use extreme caution around the river:

o Don’t allow children to play in the river. Moving water six inches deep can knock an adult off their feet, and the swift current can move a person downstream quickly. Cold water temperatures also can cause hypothermia.
o Don’t attempt to drive over flooded roads. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups.
o Observe road closure signs and stay out of barricaded areas. Remember that portions of the Centennial Trail along Upriver Drive are barricade off. Please obey that signage.
o Be aware of the large debris in the river. Higher water levels are pushing logs and other large debris into the river, increasing the danger to people.
o Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have an emergency along the river! With these conditions, problems can develop rapidly. Don’t wait to make that emergency call.