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Mayor issues emergency proclamation to respond to storm

A Metro bus inches by an ice-encrusted, downed tree near the intersection of Auburn Way North and Fourth Street NE. - Shawn Skager/Reporter
A Metro bus inches by an ice-encrusted, downed tree near the intersection of Auburn Way North and Fourth Street NE.
— image credit: Shawn Skager/Reporter

Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis has issued an emergency proclamation temporarily waiving some contracting and budgeting requirements so City staff can respond rapidly to the problems the severe winter storm has created.

The proclamation allows staff to cut through bureaucratic red tape so they can buy what they have to and make the necessary environmental decisions.

Last week's storm affected roadways and caused temporary closures of streets, roads and highways.

Sunday's proclamation grants the mayor authority to enter into contracts, to incur obligations, and to take any other appropriate action to protect the health and safety of people and property. It lets the City provide emergency help.

"In addition, it allows the City to ask King County for help, so we have presented the county with a list asking for barriers and clean-up equipment to repair the damage wreaked throughout the city," Lewis said. "Auburn, in this case, was one of the centers of the storm."

Lewis said staff have done all it could, but the City has exhausted its resources.

The City Council met in emergency session at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers at Auburn City Hall, 25 West Main Street.

Since returning home from a trip to the National Conference of Mayors in Washington D.C. that began one day before the storm hit and left the mayor stranded without a plane ride home, Lewis said he has been driving about Auburn to get a look at things.

"In the first place, I have seen an awful lot of people out working and helping their neighbors," Lewis said. "I saw people who had tree limbs down across their yards throughout the city. I saw elderly people getting help from their neighbors. I saw neighbors pulling small limbs out of the way. I could see very readily that the neighborhoods were helping themselves.

"…The sad part for Auburn is the generational loss of some of the trees put up in community planning projects that were utterly destroyed. There are still trees and branches and falling limbs, even now. My greatest concern is people working to clean up some mess after dark when more limbs might be falling," Lewis said.

Residents should e-mail pictures of the damage to plewis@auburnwa.gov, including an address at least to the 100 block or cross street.

"Show me your pictures, Auburn, so we can document this," Lewis said.

As of Saturday morning, Waste Management has made yard debris containers available so residents can bring excess yard debris in like branches and tree limbs, at no charge. Containers can be found at the following places: Game Farm Park; Les Gove Park; Brannan Park;Auburndale Park; the Parks Department; and the City's maintenance shop on C Street Southeast.

Here is the latest list of street closures:

• Oravetz Road from Kersey Way to Mill Pond Drive: power line and trees.

• Kersey Way from Oravetz Road to the city Limits: power line and trees.

• West Valley Highway between 15th Street Northwest and Peasley Canyon Road: power line and trees.

• 105th Place Southeast: low power line.

• 104th Avenue Northeast from 8th Street Northeast to 106th Avenue Northeast: power line and trees.

• Howard Road from R Street to Riverwalk: power line and trees.

• Green River Road from 104th Avenue Southeast to Mary Olson Farm: power line and trees.

• 2000 block of M Street Northeast, southbound lane: blocked by down trees.

• 4th Street Northeast to D Street Northeast: low power line weighted down by trees and branches.

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