Emerald Downs Prepares for Regional Floods

Procedures are in place in the event Green River Valley is impacted by heavy rain.

(from Emerald Downs release)

Emerald Downs is on alert this winter for possible flooding in the Green River Valley, and has outlined procedures to ensure the safety of employees, patrons and horses.

Although Emerald Downs, which sits on 167 acres just north of downtown Auburn, is in a safe zone on a map outlining Green River Flood Impact, the track is taking potential flooding seriously.

"Despite being in the so-called safe zone, we're developing a warning schedule, and we're preparing throughout the plant," said Jack Hodge, Emerald Downs vice president.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced recently that the interim repairs at Howard Hanson Dam have reduced the risk of flooding along the Green River from 1 in 3 to 1 in 25.  The Corps is wrapping up the drainage tunnel and grout curtain projects at Howard Hanson Dam that its staff and contractors have been working on six days a week, 24 hours a day since summer.

Nevertheless, Emerald Downs will closely monitor developments and weather patterns, and be ready to implement a three-stage warning schedule in which many of the company's important assets and items would be moved to safe areas. Also, horse evacuation would become necessary once the stable area reopens on Feb. 1, 2010.

With its six-floor facility and large parking areas, Emerald Downs also could assist the region, especially if other areas nearby were to flood while Emerald Downs did not.

"We're trying to remain as flexible as we can to benefit the good of the community," said Bob Fraser, vice president of operations.