When Elvin and Patsy Morin bought their house along the Green River in Auburn 30 years ago, they were certain it would be complete with a view of the river. After all, they live on Green River Road.
But in 2009, the city decided to install a 5.5-mile sandbag wall along the river that blocked access for several neighborhoods in Auburn. The wall was designed to prevent flooding that never happened. With that, the Morin’s view disappeared.
But this week, the wall comes down and the sandbags will be removed.
“It’s served its purpose, its time to take it down,” said Elvin Morin.
For more than two years, the Morins have looked out their window to individual 1.5-ton bags, covered with black and white tarps. They were placed along the river after an embankment at the Howard Hanson Dam was damaged by record rainfall.
The Army Corps of Engineers put up the bags to stop the risk of major flooding to cities like Kent, Auburn, Renton and Tukwila.
But the Army Corps now says the dam has been repaired and it can again handle full capacity.
Now, the City of Auburn has awarded the contract to remove flood control barriers to Henderson Partners LLC, a Gig Harbor-based company. The cost to remove the bags is $995,524. That money will be reimbursed by the King County Flood Control District, which is funded by taxpayers in King County.
Regardless of the cost, the time has come to reclaim the river.
“Glad they came in, but glad to see them go,” said Morin.