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Pierce County couple’s 'dream' home demolished due to flood concerns

Workers in Pierce County tore down the house on Tuesday because it was determined to be a danger from flooding along the Puyallup River.

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — A home near Graham was torn down on Tuesday by Pierce County workers because of concerns about flooding along the Puyallup River.

The owners bought the home more than a year ago.

"This was going to be our dream,” said Shauna Pelley.

"There is a herd of elk that come down there. There's deer that steal our apples,” Kevin Pelley added. “It was absolutely a dream until it wasn’t."

The house that sat on five acres near the Puyallup River was torn down on Tuesday because of a severe flooding event 13 months ago.

"We bought the house in October of 2022, and on November 6 there was a record flood event,” said Pelley.

The flooding brought the Puyallup River to their backyard. 

"The river that used to go straight north-south decided it wanted to head west towards us,” said Kevin Pelley.

He added that the river that was 100 feet away was re-directed after the flood, carving into their property up to the foundation, forcing them to reconsider their dream. In November of 2022, they began working with Pierce County because the tremendous amount of bank erosion was so concerning.

"We had hoped we'd be able to move the house to another location on the property, but without any sort of aid or funding or anything we weren't able to do that in time before this flood event,” he said.

"I know this is a really tough situation and a really tough place to be,” said Nick Waggood, Pierce County building and code enforcement manager.

Shauna and Kevin Pelley were told on Saturday that the house was determined to be a danger and would need to come down.

"With the storm that we are currently seeing now, and the water rising we had to make that call,” said Waggood.

"It is not something you experience every day,” said Shauna Pelley, who is now focused on closing this chapter.

"We can start being done with it and not have it hang over our head anymore,” she said. "It is traumatizing. It is depressing. It's stressful. It is all of the things, but at this point, I have made peace with it."

“From homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, federal insurance, state, county, nothing was available and that was just extremely frustrating. We wanted to be able to recover from this. We wanted to save the house, save our dream home,” said Kevin Pelley.

They are hoping the flood insurance comes through and that they can work with their mortgage company to recover.

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