Everett, Olympia work to prevent sweeping floods as city land sinks

Mar 25, 2024, 4:56 PM | Updated: 7:55 pm

Image: A "road closed ahead" sign was put up on a Lynnwood road due to flooding....

A "road closed ahead" sign was put up on a Lynnwood road due to flooding. (Photo courtesy of the Lynnwood Police Department)

(Photo courtesy of the Lynnwood Police Department)

The City of Everett and the City of Olympia are both taking steps to prevent devastating floods.

The City of Everett is currently collecting public comment on a new hazard mitigation plan.

“The purpose of a Hazard Mitigation Plan is to help ensure resilience to natural disasters through identifying hazards, determining areas of vulnerability, and developing strategies to mitigate risk,” writes the City of Everett’s website.

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The city said the process to implement the plan will take around nine to 12 months.

But the public comment period closes April 5.

Everett residents can give feedback or ask questions about the plan by emailing Director of Emergency Management Jim Sande at or calling 425-257-8109. They can also email Bev O’Dea at or call 253-301-1330.

Residents can also take the hazard mitigation plan survey, on the City of Everett’s website.

Everett is not the only city discussing this as sea-level rise is a growing focus in multiple areas across the U.S.

How the City of Olympia is preparing for heavy rains

In downtown Olympia, residents often have to dodge flooding during high tides and heavy rains.

Olympia Climate Program Manager Pamela Braff said the city’s Sea Rise Committee has a plan to prevent flooding and is trying to figure out how to pay for it. One of the committee’s goals is to put back-flow stops on stormwater pipes.

However, Braff notes that flooding will get worse as parts of downtown sink deeper into a landfill, adding to the city’s already high groundwater.

“The land that we’re sitting on is sinking and it’s due to kind of long-term geologic activity as well as the result of being built on fill,” Braff explained.

The City of Olympia and its partners are expected to propose floodgates and sea walls in areas to help control the flooding increase.

“Rising sea levels can have an impact on groundwater and it can cause potentially unexpected flooding due to kind of water levels coming up from underneath the ground rather than overland flooding,” Braff said.

The city made a YouTube video series last year on flooding efforts.

Another aspect of the project Braff mentioned is raising land around Capitol Lake and Percival Landing, along with planting native vegetation. Raised planters would also be installed to keep flood water at bay.

Recent flooding: Heavy rain in Washington leads to landslides, flooding rivers, closed roads

Braff also said the city would buy vulnerable waterfront properties to make sure they remain protected against damaging water.

Ultimately, the city may need to analyze its combined storm water and sewer system to see if it needs to construct more peak flow management systems, Braff added.

To learn more about the Sea Level Rise plan, visit the City of Olympia’s website.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

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Everett, Olympia work to prevent sweeping floods as city land sinks