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By Henrietta J. Burroughs          Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                   Facebook    Twitter         Blog    
Thursday, January 3, 2013        
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East Palo Alto officials declared a state of emergency in the city due to flooding that took place in the Gardens section of East Palo Alto between December 23 and December 24.

The announcement of the state of emergency was made at a press conference held on Wednesday January 2, that was led by East Palo Alto's Mayor Ruben Abrica and Magda Gonzalez, East Palo Alto’s newly hired city manager.

During the conference, city officials presented a Proclamation of Local Emergency that they would like to send to Governor Jerry Brown (Click proclamation link to download the document.) The proclamation requests that he concur with the city's declaration and "proclaim the City of East Palo Alto to be in a state of emergency."

A state emergency proclamation would enable the city to be eligible for immediate state-funded assistance for flood control projects along the levee and the creek bank where the flooding occurred.

The East Palo Alto City Council will hold a special city council meeting tonight to vote to ratify the city's emergency proclamation. The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the East Palo Alto City Council Chambers at 2415 University Avenue.

The flooding, which resulted in the emergency proclamation, occurred when a levee along the San Francisquito creek overflowed affecting houses located along Verbena Drive and along Daphne Way (See map).

In addition to the state disaster proclamation, the city will also consider seeking state financial assistance through the California Disaster Assistance Act Program.

City officials stated that the city sustained an estimated $2, 627,000 in damages, an amount that might be revised upwards depending upon additional engineering studies of the levee and the creek. This initial estimate is based on an assessment of the damage to city facilities and the related cleanup after the flooding.

When the latest flooding started on the evening of December 23, residents were evacuated and given temporary housing in a shelter set up by the Red Cross in the East Palo Alto Family YMCA at 550 Bell Street. Personnel from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District and the East Palo Alto Police Department moved through the flooded area notifying residents and recommending that they voluntarily evacuate during the height of the flooding.

On Monday, December 24, county and state officials, members of the California Conservation Corps and community volunteers worked to put sandbags along the levee banks to prevent further flooding.

The San Francisquito Creek is slated to undergo permanent repairs and upgrading towards the middle of this year.

 

To contact Henrietta J. Burroughs, the author of this article, send an email to epatoday@epatoday.org.

 

Additional East Palo Alto Today related articles:

Emergency efforts are underway to fix damaged creek levee

American Red Cross opens evacuation center for East Palo Alto residents displaced by flooding