Devastating floods in the southern Washington community of Chehalis have many tracing the roots of the problem back to clear-cut logging and a long pattern of unchecked floodplain development.
"Last Monday, heavy rain punched into the watershed from the southwest. Faster than anyone had ever seen before, torrents of water gouged hillsides, broke levees and overtopped dikes as flood gauges reached record highs and some blew out altogether. At the worst of it, some 10 feet of water covered parts of Chehalis, and hundreds of people watched their homes and belongings go under. One man was swept away in the deluge."
"Now as the water recedes and residents of Lewis County take stock, many are looking back in time, wondering how much the legacy of development in the floodplain, and clear-cut logging in the upriver drainages, contributed to their woes."
"Many state officials and regional experts, including a former county manager who says he was fired after criticizing floodplain development, say they have been warning for years that the hunger for development was running counter to common sense."