Letter that was mailed to G-Section this week


Hi folks…this is a letter from some of your neighbors across the river…
In March of this year a slow moving land slide permanently closed Mt. Index Road at the top of Sunset Falls.  This effectively cut off all vehicular traffic to any property owner above the slide.  There is no possibility of the road being reopened.  A foot path/ATV trail was constructed around the slide area to allow some access for property owners.  Since March all food, propane, supplies, etc. has to be carried or hauled around the slide by ATV.  No fire fighting equipment, police, EMTs  or any kind of delivery vehicle can get to properties above Sunset Falls.  This has been an extreme hardship on those who live above the falls and made it very difficult for others to visit their properties.  Imagine if this catastrophe had happened on your side of the river and you had no access to your property.
Our only solution to regaining permanent access to our properties is to replace the bridge at Canyon Falls.  With a new bridge costing $500,000. and the 250 property owners above the slide unable to fund that amount of money the MIR board explored the option of partnering with Snohomish County PUD to share in the cost of the bridge.  The agreement we have reached with the PUD obligates them to pay for one half the cost of the bridge in exchange for an easement over MIR owned roads.
A few vocal opponents to the PUD hydroelectric project proposed for Sunset Falls have used opposition to the bridge project as a perceived way to slow down PUD’s progress on the hydroelectric project.  We consider this not only faulty logic but in direct opposition to our goal of permanent access to our homes.  Below are a few facts about our bridge project that might interest you.
-Residents of G-section will not be obligated to pay for the bridge in any way
-It is anticipated that road maintenance from Highway 2 to the bridge will now be shared by 290 property owners instead of the approximately 50 in G-section.
-Although no MIR vote has been taken, there is definitely interest in having both G-section and our side being controlled by carded gates.
-Your electrical power comes through our side.  If our power goes out, as it does frequently above the slide, PUD currently has no way to get heavy equipment in for repair.  You will be out of power if there is even a downed line above the slide.  Power outages which occurred this winter were all the result of the slide and PUD was able to access and repair them from below the slide.
-This is a humanitarian situation and Snohomish County, FEMA and other agencies are dedicated to helping us restore our access.
-Options other than the bridge for access have been explored and no viable, long term route around the slide has been found.
-The bridge will be installed when all proper permits have been obtained and all legal issues regarding easements for the bridge landings have been resolved.
-When the bridge is completed you will see more vehicles on the section of road between Highway 2 and the bridge.  You will see virtually no more traffic into G-section and your lifestyle and security should not be impacted at all.
-Completion of this bridge will have virtually no impact on PUD’s ability to complete their proposed hydroelectric project.  They already have easements to maintain the power grid.  PUD is a property owner in G-section and thus has an implied easement (per Judge Wynne) to use the roads there as they wish  Our granting them another easement will not affect their progress on the hydroelectric project.  The hydroelectric project fight should be fought on another battlefield.
Thank you for listening.  This letter was composed by three MIR citizens who have worked on the bridge project and was not authorized by the MIR board.
If you have any questions or wish to meet with any of your neighbors please call.  We look forward to working with you.
Mark Haenlein  360-793-2239
Earl VanBuskirk 206-300-9800
Mark Bollman   206-940-8855
Correction to letter PUD does not own lots in G-Section, However they do own a number of lots in E-section.