County declares flood emergency

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Bonner County declared a local disaster emergency Thursday, May 21 in response to flooding in Hope due to rapid snowmelt and rain.

County Emergency Management Director Bob Howard brought the formal motion before the commissioners May 26 to be signed. However, Board Chairman Dan McDonald made a verbal declaration May 21, as the emergency was in progress.

Strong Creek roars during spring runoff on May 21. Photo courtesy of the City of East Hope.

Howard said he received a call May 21 that the west branch of Trestle Creek had topped its banks and was flooding nearby residences. Howard and the Sam Owen Fire District responded, identifying debris in the creek that was causing the flooding and deploying sandbags on the banks.

“By the end of the day, the flood water had receded and the flood event had mostly stopped,” Howard said.

Also on May 21, the city of East Hope experienced accessibility issues with its water intake system due to turbulent runoff conditions in Strong Creek. By May 22, city officials contacted Howard to inform him that the city had no water. East Hope declared a disaster the same day.

On May 26, the city of East Hope’s Facebook page provided an update on the city’s water intake system, which is currently buried under two feet of rock and sediment due to the intense runoff.

“The City’s water storage tanks are finally full again,” the city stated in its post. “We have temporary lines providing raw water to the treatment plant for processing now. We are working to develop a plan to repair the intake system.”

Bonner County will remain in a declared state of emergency until East Hope officials feel they will not need any further assistance from emergency personnel. 

Howard said the county has received no additional flood reports since May 22.

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