Bethany Alvarado, a Maple Valley resident, had a tree fall onto her home during the windstorm Jan. 6. Submitted photo from Bethany Alvarado

Bethany Alvarado, a Maple Valley resident, had a tree fall onto her home during the windstorm Jan. 6. Submitted photo from Bethany Alvarado

Cleanup on Aisle King County

The city of Maple Valley hosted a debris drop off at Lake Wilderness, post windstorm.

The storm Jan. 6 caused 70,357 Puget Sound Energy customers to lose power across King County, according to PSE.

With winds reaching up to 60 miles per hour, trees and debris were hurdled across the area.

Once the power came back on, and all was back to normal, for the most part, the city of Maple Valley hosted a storm debris disposal at Lake Wilderness Park Jan. 12 and 13.

The city partnered with Recology CleanScapes, a resource recovery company. Recology provided containers to put debris in for free, according to Laura Philpot, city manager for the city of Maple Valley.

The city staff recorded a total of 25,000 pounds of debris hauled off on the first day, Philpot said.

She said she showed up later in the day and by that time, the crew said about 40 cars had come through to drop off debris and at that point they still had a couple of hours to go.

While it was hard work, the crews working out there told Philpot everyone who came through was very kind, which made it a little better.

“Everybody who dropped stuff off was super appreciative of the city providing, and I know the crews said that it was much easier to be out there with everybody being so appreciative and kind,” Philpot said.

Philpot said she hadn’t seen any stats from Sunday, but after talking with the city crew, they said it was pretty similar to Saturday.

While many were able to not all community members were able to utilize the debris drop off.

Imogen Holmes, a Maple Valley homeowner, said she and her family had no idea the drop off was going on until after they had started removing debris and burning it.

She said five large trees fell over on her property and she and her husband had to take a couple of days off of work to start clearing them.

“It left quite a mess on our land alone. If we didn’t have a friend/neighbor with an excavator, we’d have been much worse off. My husband helped him clear trees blocking his driveway the Sunday morning after the storm, and then he came to our property and we all went to work. We still have tree stumps that uprooted that are as big as we are tall,” Holmes said in an email. “(We’re) far from done with the clean up.”

To keep community members safe and able to travel if they needed to, Philpot said the city was also quick to clear fallen trees from the roadways.

She said if there was a tree in the roadway, the crews would make sure to cut it up and then move it off to the side.

Once they came back to collect the remainder of the trees they cut up, Philpot said more often than not the trees would be gone because people would come and collect the wood for firewood.

For the most part Maple Valley has been cleaned up, but there are still some branches left on the roadways and sidewalks, Philpot said.

“Looking at some of our shoulders on our roadways, (they) could still be cleaned up a little bit better,” she added.

While some homeowners may still be working on cleaning up down trees on their land.

“Like me personally, we lost a section of our fence in the wind. So we’re working with the neighbors to figure that out. So it’ll be a little while before we have that completely resolved,” she said.

According to Philpot, aside from the positivity at the debris collection event, there has not been much community feedback, which she thinks is good.

She said usually when it’s quiet, that means people are relatively happy with how the city performed.

“We have a pretty small maintenance team, so I was pretty pleased with how fast and much they’ve gotten done in a short amount of time. Talking to our crew that was out there on Saturday and Sunday, they said, every vehicle that dropped stuff off was saying ‘thank you’ because it makes it so much easier to get the debris cleaned up when they only had to go so far as the park, they didn’t have to haul it somewhere out of the city,” Philpot said.

Once all the debris was loaded up, it was taken to Cedar Grove where composting is done, according to Philpot.

Maple Valley homeowner, Imogen Holmes, had five trees fall on her property during the windstorm Jan. 6. She and her husband used their neighbors excavator to move trees and debris from their property. Submitted photo from Imogen Holmes

Maple Valley homeowner, Imogen Holmes, had five trees fall on her property during the windstorm Jan. 6. She and her husband used their neighbors excavator to move trees and debris from their property. Submitted photo from Imogen Holmes

One of the five trees that fell over onto Imogen Holmes’ property lays flat with its roots exposed. Submitted photo from Imogen Holmes

One of the five trees that fell over onto Imogen Holmes’ property lays flat with its roots exposed. Submitted photo from Imogen Holmes

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Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com. To see her columns come to life, follow her on Facebook at Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.
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