Inslee spends day touring flood-damaged communities in North Sound

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee spent Wednesday touring flood-damaged communities in North Sound, determining where people needed help.

In the town of Everson, which was hit hard by fast-moving floodwaters, recovery will take months after the water recedes.

It’s one of the places Inslee visited, where a man was swept away by floodwaters and later found dead.

“I have seen folks who are rescued in front-end loader buckets, folks who are rescued by fast water rescue personnel who sat on tops of their cars for five hours. We’ve had a very unfortunate loss of one life, but frankly it’s extremely good fortune that there has not been more loss of life in this community,” Inslee said while speaking to media in Ferndale.

Inslee also visited Bellingham, which is starting to dry out, for an emergency response briefing.

At a Bellingham building, a KIRO 7 crew saw fans running inside a property owned by the Mills Family since 1908.

“Well, I did come in and try to move stuff when it started happening but by then it was like the finger had come out of the dike and there was no getting ahead of it,” said Stephanie Mills about the building she owns.

The water inside the building had gotten four feet high.

When Mills was asked if she had seen anything like it before, she responded: “Well back in the early 80s, yeah it happened. Same height — four feet back up into the total building warehouse and all.”

Whether it is Mount Vernon or Sumas, areas are still under threat. And the floor disaster on a personal level adds up to a flood disaster on a mass level, resulting in the governor promising help.

“There are two pools of money federally, one is for individualized assistance, one is for businesses and we have had some success getting loans for hard-hit businesses and what we are doing right now is trying to compile the amount of damage so that if we get to a certain threshold, we can get some federal assistance,” the governor said.

KIRO 7 will be tracking any flood damage assistance that is announced.