Pullman declares state of emergency

City hopes state will fund clean up efforts to help local businesses



The inside of Kool Nail Design & Spa shows the damage of Tuesday’s flood. Chairs and supplies are strewn around the ground inside.

ELAYNE RODRIGUEZ, Evergreen reporter

The City of Pullman declared a state of emergency today after major flooding caused damages to local businesses and cars on the road.

Pullman Firefighter Mark Johnson said he helped other firefighters clean up and aid affected locations.

He said the flood came down from the north of Missouri Flat Creek because of the flash floods and rain all day Tuesday. About five or six people were rescued from the buildings.

“The maintenance homes operations…provided two large front-end loaders,” Johnson said. “It allows a person to stand to get through the water.”

Pullman City Administrator Adam Lincoln said a couple of people had issues with health, which was one of the reasons to go out and help people, but there is no indication anyone was injured during the flood.

“The amount of rain, the end result, was just traumatic for a lot of our residents and business owners,” Johnson said.

He was out all night with the crews and handled media calls. It was impressive to see the turn out of the staff and who was out there helping, Johnson said.

“We had a couple of staff that had to go in and rescue a couple of people that were stuck,” Lincoln said. “It was heartwarming to see the group come together.”

Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said he suggests affected citizens photograph damages from the flood incident.

Lincoln said some businesses will be able to go through with their insurance, some may not, and nobody knows who has flood insurance.

He said it is probably the big determining factor for how much help those affected will get.

Johnson said he was off-duty during the flash flood and was called in to help communicate with staff in the Pullman Fire Department

Numerous businesses along Grand Avenue, from Davis Way up to Stadium Way, were affected one way or another, Johnson said. The flood shifted a parked car, and it was slanted at a different elevation.

Johnson said the city would try to mitigate problems with erosion on public areas like sidewalks.

Lincoln said now that the Pullman mayor signed the state of emergency declaration and it was passed, the city employees are able to get help with the cleanup.

He said they will reach out to the Washington State Department of Commerce to see if they can receive grant funding for programs to help local businesses on Grand Avenue.

Lincoln said the city has been approved for cleanup but only for the public works project. The state level has a different window to apply, which is 60 days. The state allows for funding to the community and holds certain criteria to be approved, like the property damage value.

“We are expecting someone from the state to come out Thursday morning,” he said.

Johnson said it is the landowners and business owner’s decision to try to clean up the mess on their own.

“When we started the evening, we knew there was a lot of rain. We were watching river levels and within a really short window of time the river climbed over two feet and there was just no way holding it back,” Johnson said.

The flash flood was unpredictable, and the city will take precautions to add a measuring tool to the creek, he said.

“The local economy will face a huge impact because of the flood,” Johnson said. “It is people’s livelihood.”

The article has been updated to reflect that Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson signed the state of emergency declaration, not Pullman Firefighter Mark Johnson.