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Tensions Erupt During Emotional Lemmon Valley Community Meeting (With Video)

Noah Glick
Lemmon Valley residents sign in and get information from Washoe County at Wednesday night's community meeting at O'Brien Middle School.

Tensions ran high at O'Brien Middle School Wednesday night, as more than 100 Lemmon Valley residents voiced their anger at Washoe County for what they say was an inadequate response to this year's flooding.
Reno Public Radio's Noah Glick reports.

While pumps continued to push water out of homes and streets, local officials announced that Washoe County will be taking over the ongoing management of the flooding situation in Lemmon Valley, moving from response mode to recovery mode.

But resident Linda Walls, who has been living in a friend's camper since mid-February, says the county took too long to act.

"If they'd had started making a wall across the street when they had the chance to do that to keep us from flooding, it would have worked."

Her neighbor, Dan Musich has also been displaced since February. He says it's too late to salvage his home.

"I've been in construction and maintenance all my life, and trust me, it's a loss. All of us that are affected down on that end of Pompe Way are probably looking at total losses."

Credit Noah Glick
Washoe County officials addressed residents Wednesday night (from left): Adult Services Division Director Ken Retterath, Community Services Director David Solaro, Health Department Environmental Specialist Supervisor James English, Sheriff Chuck Allen, and Incident Commander Sam Hicks.

Many residents blame the flooding on recent development in Lemmon Valley, that sent more water down the basin with less sagebrush and soil to soak it up.

Washoe County Community Services Director Dave Solaro, who was the target of many of the night's jeers, disagrees, but acknowledges that current policies need a deeper look.

"This is different than we've seen, so now how does that play into future development code? That's some of the long-term strategies. Do we need to change our development codes to account for the type of storms we had this year?"

Solaro says future plans for the area will be a collaboration among the county, the city of Reno and residents.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
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