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Posts published in “Day: December 5, 2007”

The contours of a flood

Chehalis flood

Flooding at Chehalis/Washington DOT

No part of the Northwest hit by this week's megastorm was hit harder than the Centralia-Chehalis area. That area is so thoroughly underwater - still - that Interstate 5, which runs through, probably will still be inaccessible to traffic well into Friday. Maybe longer.

The disaster is so massive that you wonder what that area will look like when people do rebuild their lives there. And what their attitudes toward things may be.

With that in mind, this section of a flood roundup in the Seattle Times jumped out.

The flooding surrounded much of the recent development along I-5, which includes a Wal-Mart, Home Depot and others.

Some residents believe the development may have helped divert the floodwaters in new directions — and toward homes.

"A lot of people are complaining because they raised the ground in that area," said Agnes Swanson, a longtime Lewis County resident.

Merlin MacReynold, Chehalis city manager, said the development complied with all state and federal regulations, but acknowledged there has been an ongoing debate about the construction.

Eagle: Conventional win

Phil Bandy

Phil Bandy

The final vote in Eagle Tuesday was a vote for a general continuation of city policy, and a vote for a conventional choice. What's noteworthy is how close the unruly opposition got - shy just 153 votes of 4,557 cast (which is why even commenting on this Tuesday night was too problematic).

Phil Bandy, who won the mayoralty in the runoff, is the conventional choice, and he was endorsed by a string of business organizations and also by a number of independents, such as the Idaho Statesman. He has city council experience and has been a planning and zoning commissioner, and serves on the Ada County Air Quality Board, among other things; he was even president of his homeowners association. He has worked for quite a few years as a mid-level manager in several Idaho state departments. He is said to have a fairly smooth and cooperative working style and approach, a large part of what the Statesman, for one, found appealing.

His opponent, Saundra McDavid, has been in Eagle fewer years, has never been elected to office or served on the kind of boards and commissions he has. An attorney, she and her husband have run a newish business near downtown called the Rib Shack (we've lunched there, and had pretty good BBQ eats) which itself has been occasionally controversial in town. McDavid led a slate of candidates - the two council members were elected last month - but otherwise is apparently new to politics and struck some observers as having rough edges. In a guest op in the Statesman, she noted that "Some have criticized me for my passion on this issue, calling me stubborn and uncompromising" - and yes, "some" have.

Eagle is a suburban city, politically and culturally conservative (relatively, a closer match overall to Bandy than to McDavid) and with loads of new residents, not especially easy for an outsider to ride into. And yet McDavid came within 153 votes of becoming mayor. How did that happen?

There's no mystery in town; everyone there knows: "Growth."