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Lyman residents get $1.2 million after homes tumble into the Skagit River

The Skagit River claimed part of a home in Lyman on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. (Photo: KOMO News)

LYMAN, Wash. – Finally, some good news for homeowners who watched their homes tumble into the Skagit River in Lyman, Washington because of erosion last fall. Federal grant money came through and the Skagit County will compensate three families a combined $1.2 million.

The county signed purchase agreements with Mark Harris, Michael Taxdahl, and Richard and Vicky Guidinger. The county will purchase these homes using Hazard Mitigation Grant Program money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about $150,000 in state Military Department funds, and $150,000 from the county in the form of labor, project management and waste disposal.

The $1.2 million buyout is combined fair market value before the flooding. Two sales will close Friday, according to Kara Symonds, Skagit County Watershed Planner. The third is set for August 23.

“Two of the homes have fallen into the slough,” Symonds said. “The third family is trying to salvage as much material in August.”

Once the county assumes full ownership of the properties, what remains of the homes will be demolished, as step one of the two-part project implemented by the county.

The second part involves cleaning debris from the water and deciding the future of the property under county ownership, Symonds said. The property will be kept as open space with no future development based on guidelines from the purchase agreements.

Next week, Skagit County residents will meet with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put a contingency plan in place as the area will continue to erode overtime, eventually engulfing the Cascade Trail and Lyman’s Main Street.

During flooding last November, the Skagit River reached the highest levels since 2006.

WATCH: Flooding coverage from November of 2017

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“One hundred fifty feet of land at those properties was eroded within 24 hours,” Symonds said. “The county is thinking of a game plan if the next flood event occurs.”

Some of town’s safety precautions may include putting rock along the bank to prevent erosion and armoring the trail to stabilize the bank, Symonds said.

Symonds said she knows of one other land owner interested in a buyout, but there could be others.

“I can’t predict when there will be other applications,” she said. “Conversations have been ongoing.”

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