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City of Longview to buy land on Indian Creek to address stormwater runoff

City of Longview to buy land on Indian Creek to address stormwater runoff

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The City of Longview has agreed to buy 80 acres of land near the Longview Country Club so it can better address stormwater runoff problems.

In a special meeting Thursday, the City Council unanimously agreed to buy 80 acres in the Indian Creek area for $280,000. The money will come from the stormwater fund.

According to the Cowlitz County Auditor’s website, the land, made up of two separate parcels, is owned by Roger and Sonya Tover of Cathlamet.

Indian Creek is a perennial stream located within the city limits. The watershed includes undeveloped land, residential neighborhoods and a portion of the Longview Country Club, according to agenda documents.

There is an unpaved access road on private property that crosses the creek north of Indian Creek Drive with a 24-inch culvert that carries the creek under the road. During heavy rain, the road “serves as a de facto dam, with water backing up in the valley uphill of the roadway,” according to agenda documents.

A 2016 logging permit from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources allowed the private owner to add a second culvert, but when the permit expired in 2019 the landowner was supposed to remove both, according to agenda documents.

That left city staff concerned that downstream properties could flood, which is why they recommend taking control of the culvert by buying the land.

City Manager Kurt Sacha said the city has been trying to address flooding potential and runoff problems, but many of the obstacles surrounded ownership of the property.

“We had DNR involved, we have a private owner that was involved, then there’s us who need to get in there and have access to make stormwater improvement necessary to protect those down below,” Sacha told the council.

When the city learned it was for sale, Sacha said buying it seemed like the most efficient way to handle the problem. The city will make the necessary stormwater fixes, then sell the rest of the parcel, he said. An access road already runs to the area that needs to be addressed, Sacha said.

Councilwoman Hillary Strobel congratulated the city staff “for this creative approach to solving a problem.”

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