Since the initial airing by a news media’s investigative reporter, the work of Drainage Ditch Commissioners has been brought to the public’s attention. The alleged crimes of a couple individuals in our community has cast a dark shadow over the work of many in charge of managing over fifty miles of drainage ditches that have been in existence for decades.
King County Drainage Districts were created to enable communities to maintain these ditches to help prevent flooding. The money needed to complete the maintenance work is collected through a levy assessed to property owners within each drainage district.
There are three Drainage Districts in the Enumclaw area that are led by three elected Commissioners that meet throughout the year to complete the work. King County reimburses vendors for the work after the Commissioners verify the work and the billing.
The work within a drainage district consists of creating and implementing a maintenance plan each year. A budget is completed and the levy assessment is set at the county. For example, the City of Enumclaw is requiring sediment to be removed from approximately 1.8 miles of a single ditch within Drainage District No. 6. The ditch requiring the work was deemed a fish-bearing stream by the State of Washington. Because of this distinction, several permits are required to complete the project. In August of this year, Drainage District No. 6 Commissioners met to review three environmental engineering proposals and approved a bid to obtain the required permits. Before any work can begin on the ditch, the bill to the taxpayers in the district for the permitting process is nearly $40,000. Environmental regulations, local, county and state government requirements along with new construction in the area has all led to the high cost of maintaining these ditches in order to help prevent flooding.
Commissioners have heard local complaints about blackberry bushes overtaking property owners fence lines. Unfortunately, some developers placed fence lines on properties that cut off access to the ditch by mowers so all the work in these areas has to completed by hand. If you reside in one of the neighborhoods, we encouraged you to maintain the area behind your fence line in order to prevent blackberry and various weed invasion.
Elections for Drainage Ditch Commissioners will be held on Feb. 4, 2020. If you are interested in becoming a Commissioner you must file for office between December 9 – 13, 2019. There will be nine positions up for election, as many folks were appointed in August to fill positions only through February of 2020. You must own property within the district to qualify to run for a Commissioner position. If only one person files for election during the filing period, then no election will be held for that position. Please contact King County Elections for additional information.
We would encourage you to serve in any way you are able!
Cathy Dahlquist, John Koopman and Kenny Bosik,
King County Drainage Ditch No. 6 Commissioners