Green River rises, but nearby homes escape flood danger

AUBURN, Wash. -- A phase-3 flood alert was up on the Green River as it caused moderate flooding upstream from Auburn and Kent. But the water stayed within the levees once it reached the populated areas.

"You're always kind of apprehensive because you never know what Mother Nature is going to do," said river resident Mel Knutson of Auburn. He has lived on the banks of the Green River for more than three decades and most recently had a wall of sandbags between his place and the river.

The Army Corps of Engineers said over the past few years there was a chance a crack in the Howard Hanson dam upstream could lead to a catastrophic release of water flooding the Auburn & Kent Valley. The protective wall stretched for miles all the way to Tukwila.

But nothing happened and the crack has since been repaired. "The river never came up high those three years," said Knutson. "I mean like it is now."

Now that the sandbags are gone is there any alarm? Not to the folks we talked to who live at the river's edge.

"When the river comes up, it's wider and faster and deeper and noisier," said Curt Torfin. "But we're not worried. We appreciate it almost."