Meeting Between Carnation and Seattle Mayors to Review Tolt Dam Warning System Progress and Discuss Next Steps

On Friday, December 8th, the City of Carnation convened a meeting with Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office representatives to advocate for Carnation residents.

The Tolt Dam, owned and operated by the City of Seattle, would cause catastrophic damage to Carnation and force city-wide evacuation if it ever were to break. After 60 years of bearing the risks of living beneath the Tolt Dam, the City of Carnation demands community benefits.

“After historically being a silent partner, the City of Carnation will now be an active partner in project management, safety operations, and strategic communication,” says City Manager Ana Cortez.

Due to a two-year delay in completion, the Tolt Dam Early Warning System project has been a point of contention between the City of Carnation and the City of Seattle. A slew of false alarms prompted Carnation to adopt a State of Emergency Declaration this past August. A few months later, the newly installed siren system caused another wave of public outcry due to volume and clarity concerns.

“The time for excuses and explanations is over,” said Carnation Mayor Jim Ribail. “Carnation wants to see outcomes.”

The City of Carnation wishes to see annual compensation attached to the risks associated with the dam. Franchise fees, mitigation fees, false alarm fines, and funding for annual evacuation drills have been requested of the City of Seattle.

Community benefits discussed include access to mental health resources, environmental sustainability, road infrastructure to facilitate evacuation, and funding for emergency operations personnel in the City of Carnation.

City Manager Cortez reported that Seattle Mayor Harrell’s office was open and receptive to hearing Carnation’s concerns.

The City of Carnation is consulting with subject matter experts on the feasibility of testing the alarm once a month in lieu of the current once-a-week testing.

For more information, contact City Manager Ana Cortez at or via cell at (425) 419-3697.

[Information Provided by the City of Carnation]

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