Van Doren’s Landing Park in Kent, part of the $58 million Lower Russell levee project along the Green River. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Van Doren’s Landing Park in Kent, part of the $58 million Lower Russell levee project along the Green River. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Leaders celebrate completion in Kent of Lower Russell levee

$58 million project along the Green River includes reopening of Van Doren’s Landing Park

City of Kent and King County leaders held a grand opening to celebrate the completion of a $58 million levee project along the Green River that included the relocation of Van Doren’s Landing Park.

Leaders cut a ribbon June 28 at the park to make the completion of the Lower Russell Levee Setback project official. The improvements to the 1.4-mile levee along the east bank of the river between South 212th Street and South 228th Street (Veterans Drive) will help protect surrounding residential and commercial development from flooding and create additional flood storage and fish habitat.

“We are so proud of this project,” Kent Mayor Dana Ralph said, according to a city of Kent press release. “The Lower Russell Levee provides enhanced flood protection for our residents and businesses here in Kent and improves conditions for salmon and other wildlife in the Green River, plus we have an amazing new destination park that offers so many recreational opportunities.”

Most of the funds for the $58 million project are from the King County Flood Control District’s property tax measure, which is about 7 cents per $1,000 assessed value.

Grants that helped fund the work included $4.9 million from the state Department of Ecology; about $4.8 million from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board through the state Recreation and Conservation Office; and $300,000 from Cooperative Watershed Management grant, according to the King County Water and Land Division website.

The project replaced a levee that was old, outdated and originally constructed to protect agricultural lands instead of the many homes, businesses and economic infrastructure that now exist in the Kent Valley, according to the press release. The project also provides improved riparian and aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife in the Green River, including endangered Chinook salmon and steelhead.

“Ten years ago, we at the Flood Control District set out with an ambitious goal: to make the Green River Valley the most beautiful, environmentally friendly and safe urban corridor in America,” said Regan Dunn, a King County Council member and King County Flood Control District chair. “Today, we have reached that goal. I extend my gratitude to our regional partners who worked to make this cross-jurisdictional, multi-benefit project a reality and deliver greatly improved flood protection for the people who depend on it.”

At $58 million, the project is the largest multi-jurisdiction, multi-benefit project that the King County Flood Control District has ever funded, according to the city’s press release. It was initially proposed by Dunn, and expanded to include many partners, including the city of Kent, King County and the Muckleshoot Tribe.

“The Lower Russell Levee project is a wonderful example of what we can achieve for public safety, salmon and recreation when we partner with cities and tribes,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who represents the area and served as the previous chair of the Flood Control District. “This project - and the partnerships that support it - are a model for the kinds of flood district projects we should be supporting up and down the Green River.”

King County and the city of Kent worked closely with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe on the project design and archaeological review. The site was and continues to be culturally important to tribes, and now features multiple learning sites, fishing eddies and cooking stations for tribal use.

The event also celebrated the newly renovated city of Kent Van Doren’s Landing Park, 21901 Russell Road. As part of the project, the park was relocated and rebuilt. Park renovations included expanding the parking lot and open lawn area, two park shelters, horseshoe pits, Wiffle Ball field, pickleball court and a children’s play area that offers a Mount Rainier-inspired climbing structure and Kent’s first zipline.

The site offers a vast network of trails, including a trail separated from Russell Road for pedestrians and cyclists, and boasts a wide variety of nature experiences in the Green River Natural Resources Area.

City crews closed the park in 2020 for the project.

Other attendees at the grand opening included former Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke; Warren KingGeorge, historian with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe; Kent City Council members Brenda Fincher, Toni Troutner, Zandria Michaud and Satwinder Kaur; King County Council member Pete von Reichbauer; and Michelle Clark, executive director of the King County Flood Control District,whose board is composed of members of the King County Council.


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King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn at the June 28 grand opening of Van Doren’s Landing Park. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn at the June 28 grand opening of Van Doren’s Landing Park. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Former Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke attended the June 28 opening of Van Doren’s Landing Park. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Former Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke attended the June 28 opening of Van Doren’s Landing Park. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Kent Mayor Dana Ralph speaks at the June 28 grand opening of Van Doren’s Landing Park along the Lower Russell levee on the Green River. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Kent Mayor Dana Ralph speaks at the June 28 grand opening of Van Doren’s Landing Park along the Lower Russell levee on the Green River. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove at the June 28 grand opening in Kent of Van Doren’s Landing Park along the Green River. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove at the June 28 grand opening in Kent of Van Doren’s Landing Park along the Green River. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Warren KingGeorge, historian with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, speaks at Van Doren’s Landing Park. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Warren KingGeorge, historian with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, speaks at Van Doren’s Landing Park. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Michelle Clark, King County Flood Control District executive director, speaks at the grand opening of the Lower Russell levee along the Green River. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Michelle Clark, King County Flood Control District executive director, speaks at the grand opening of the Lower Russell levee along the Green River. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

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