City inaction to earthquake preparedness is of shocking magnitude; Yazici mounts defense, decries political “silly season”

  • There will be a candidates forum tonight, Wednesday, October 7, at 7pm at the Boys and Girls Club, Inglewood Hill Road and 228th Ave. NE. It is sponsored by the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce and the Sammamish Rotary. It will not be videotaped or broadcast on Sammamish TV Channel 21, so this is your only chance to see the candidates and ask questions in a forum.
  • Here’s how the story evolved.

When Sammamish Comment learned last month that Sammamish wasn’t going to

Cascadia Rising is a regional earthquake preparedness drill next June. Sammamish wasn’t going to participate–until questions arose.

participate next June in Cascadia Rising, a massive earthquake preparedness drill from British Columbia to Northern California, it was shocking. It was unbelievable. It was a dereliction of duty to public safety of massive proportions.

Issaquah, Redmond, Kirkland, the county, the state, the Sammamish Plateau Water & Sewer District, the University of Washington Medical Centers, fire and police, and on and on signed up last year to participate–but not Sammamish. Training for these agencies was well underway. But not Sammamish.

The issue came to light at the Sept. 1 City Council meeting when Member Ramiro Valderrama asked why wasn’t the City participating in the drill. City Manager Ben Yazici brushed aside the question, a stunning reaction in its own right considering Yazici is a native of Turkey where devastating earthquakes occur, with huge losses to life and property. He of all people should know the importance of being prepared.

Equally stunning was that Valderrama didn’t get one word of support from any other Council Member. Not one. Mayor Tom Vance, who’s the City’s titular leader, sat mute through the entire exchange.

Continue reading “City inaction to earthquake preparedness is of shocking magnitude; Yazici mounts defense, decries political “silly season””

Sammamish scrambles to join multi-state, multi-jurisdictional earthquake drill after skipping sign-up deadline last year

Sammamish had no plans to participate in a regional earthquake preparedness drill, skipping a sign-up last year.

Note: this is 2,900 words with illustrations.

  • Participants, Sammamish Council Members say Sammamish wasn’t going to be involved in four-day drill.
  • Within hours of inquiries, City officials advised Sammamish Citizens Corp and County emergency coordinator that the City will be involved.
  • Neighboring cities, emergency services, King County and other government agencies to participate.
  • Sammamish skipped last year’s sign-up deadline–but can join now; training for others underway for months.
  • Drill scenario calls for a 9.0 earthquake off Washington coast, 7.2 quake in Sammamish.
  • Drill to test preparedness, inter-agency coordination, response.
  • As goes Sammamish, so goes Klahanie area.
Figure 1. Two earthquake fault zones run deep into Sammamish, one through the far south and another on an east-west line entering the city at about SE 33rd Way (around the 7-11) and extending underneath Pine Lake. The entire western bluff of the city is subject to landslides in an earthquake. Click on image to enlarge.

Sammamish city officials scrambled last week to tell the City Council, a city emergency group and the emergency management coordinator for Eastern King County that the City will join a four-day, multi-state, multi-jurisdictional earthquake disaster drill next June after skipping the sign-up last year—something that, King County, fire departments, the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District and every neighboring city have joined.

According to every source contacted by Sammamish Comment, including two City Council Members, and those from other participants in the drill, Sammamish wasn’t participating. Training is already underway with the participating agencies.

Lyman Howard, deputy city manager, told The Comment Thursday that the City will participate, activating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in City Hall to test the City’s abilities in the drill. Others began getting notifications Thursday morning as well.

The drill, called Cascade Rising, will be June 7-10. It’s intended to plan and test local response, coordination between agencies and related activities in the event there is a major earthquake.

The scrambling began within hours of Sammamish Comment filing Public Records Requests for emails related to Cascadia Rising, an interview with Council Member Don Gerend and interview requests with Howard and City Manager Ben Yazici. Yazici referred questions to Howard.

Continue reading “Sammamish scrambles to join multi-state, multi-jurisdictional earthquake drill after skipping sign-up deadline last year”