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Sandbags to stay around 3 Kent schools in Green River Valley

Kent School District officials will keep sandbags around Neely-O
Kent School District officials will keep sandbags around Neely-O'Brien Elementary School, above, and two other Kent schools to help protect the schools from potential Green River flooding.
— image credit: CHARLES CORTES, Kent Reporter file photo

Sandbags will remain around three Kent schools threatened by Green River flooding until at least next spring.

Sandbags placed in 2009 around Mill Creek Middle School, Neely-O'Brien Elementary and Kent Elementary to help prevent flooding will stay in place until spring when their removal will be reevaluated, according to an email from Chris Loftis, spokesman for the Kent School District.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Sept. 16 that it once again can operate the Howard Hanson Dam at full capacity and help prevent flooding in the Green River Valley. Crews have completed most of the repairs at the flood-control dam after a 2009 storm damaged an abutment next to the dam.

Jim Auckland, school district maintenance supervisor, talked with Sean Gee, maintenance supervisor at the Boeing Space Center in Kent, and found out Boeing plans to keep its flood barriers in place for one more winter until the Corps has a chance to evaluate the Howard Hanson Dam at full operating capacity, Loftis said.

King County officials told Auckland they plan to keep flood barriers in place for another rainy season. The cities of Kent, Auburn and Tukwila also plan to keep sandbags along the Green River levees.

"After reviewing the decisions from Boeing and King County to leave their flood barriers in place and wanting to be very careful in removing our flood barriers, we have made the decision to leave our flood barriers in place until next spring at which time we will reevaluate the removal," Loftis said in the email.

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