Families evacuate as shed topples into Skagit River

KING 5's Alison Morrow reports.

The scene in Lyman, Washington, bordering the Skagit River is like a slow motion horror movie for the people who live there.

"It's pretty tough to watch," said Lyman City Councilman Mark Harris.

Harris' property has been sliding down into the water since Wednesday. Large chunks of land tens of feet over the river continue to topple down.

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He bought it 27 years ago. His neighbor's property has been in the family since the 1920s.

"Here I am on Thanksgiving. No Thanksgiving dinner for me. No Christmas. I'm more worried about what I can save out of my house," said Richard Guidinger.

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Guidinger evacuated. He thought his house would disappear today. 

"I feel terrible. The home behind me is going to go in the river. What do you do? They're my neighbors," said Lyman Mayor Eddie Hills.

Hills blames the state and federal government for not maintaining a rock levee that once held back river flow. Deemed a "wild and scenic" river, the focus is now on fish habitat.

"You're putting the fish and the river instead of putting citizens first," Hills said.

Harris has lost almost a hundred feet of land overnight. His retirement plan is toppling down and disappearing with the current.

"Everybody's looking out for a wild scenic river. They don't seem to care about property owners," he said. "I don't think anybody wants to buy it right now. Several hundred thousand dollars down the drain."

The Skagit County Board of Commissioners is seeking help from the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent further erosion. The commissioners say critical infrastructure is now threatened. This development comes after Hills says he made numerous calls and sent emails asking for help.

Late Friday, as the Skagit River waters continued to erode the banks, the shed eventually toppled into the river.

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© 2017 KING-TV


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