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City of Milton working to restore flood plain

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MILTON, Wash — One neighborhood in Pierce County plagued with flooding issues hopes a new grant will help stop the onslaught of high water.

After heavy rains and high tides, Hylebos Creek in Milton floods across 5th Avenue and sometimes sends water into homes.

“The water has been up to the sandbags, we keep them there because we never know overnight if it’s going to come up or what,” said homeowner Megan Forthoffer.

Forthoffer said her family bought their home in 2015, not knowing the creek is prone to flooding.

“It was a good find until it rained,” she said.

“Mother Nature is going to do what she wants to do,” said city of Milton engineer, Mark Howlett. “We see that all over the place.”

The city hopes a grant from the local flood control district will help mitigate flood waters in the future.

“With the passage of the Endangered Species Act, you can’t do what you used to do 30-40 years ago,” said Howlett. “It’s really limited the ability, especially in these low-lying areas here.”

The city purchased several properties near the lowest elevation. Crews have already torn one home down and will soon bulldoze another. Eventually the city hopes to raise 5th Avenue above flood stage.

“There are other neighbors that we don’t want to make the situation worse for,” said Jamie Carter, with the city. “There are people living around the periphery of this part of town, they’re able to manage right now and we don’t want that situation to get worse for them.”

Another goal for the city is to return the area to its natural state so salmon runs could return.

Meanwhile, Forthoffer hopes the city expands their program and buys out her home, too.

“If the city wants to come buy my place, go for it,” she said. “Our plan is to be out of here anyways.”