Hamilton, WA

The town of Hamilton today

hamilton, washington

Tucked in a deep oxbow of the Skagit River, 90 percent of Hamilton’s residential neighborhoods are at increasing risk of catastrophic flooding. Forterra is combining efforts to buy-out homes for salmon habitat with a development strategy for 48-acres it purchased with donor dollars as the town’s future residential growth area.

Providing the community an opportunity to shift its residential area to higher ground will enable further restoration of a section of the Skagit that serves as a spawning area for five native species of Pacific salmon, producing 60 percent of the Puget Sound’s endangered Chinook salmon. This stretch of river is also the ancestral land for local tribes — including the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Upper Skagit Indian Tribe and Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe — who have led restoration work on the Skagit for decades. Continued restoration along the Skagit will preserve our region’s natural legacy while supporting threatened salmon and orca populations.


Since 2018, Forterra has worked closely with the town’s leadership and community members to explore practical means for advancing their visions for priced housing, business, and community space. Given the challenging economic environment facing every development project in the given interest rates, labor and supply chain costs, Forterra is seeking practical approaches to move this project forward in the near term.

Floodplains by Design Funding Opportunity

Forterra and partners received a Department of Ecology Floodplains by Design Grant. The grant directly supports the work in Hamilton in three main ways:
  • Developing a Community Emergency Education and Preparedness Program: Materials and outreach efforts to ensure that homeowners understand their options, responsibilities and liabilities related to owning property in the floodway.
  • Floodplain Acquisitions: Project development which includes educating property owners on voluntary buyout options, property owner negotiations, due diligence and closing transactions. The grant provides an opportunity to acquire 9-12 properties in the floodplain.
  • Structure Demolition and Replanting/Restoration: Once properties with structures are acquired, Forterra can begin to restore the land. Demolition will include removal of all structures including infrastructure like septic tanks, foundations and utilities. All materials and trash will be removed, and the sites will be planted with native species that will contribute to natural floodplain functions.


For decades, the town of Hamilton has faced historic floods. Hamilton sought Forterra’s help in funding the purchase of a 48-acre parcel of land to serve as the town’s urban growth area out of the river’s reach. Together they are working with residents to create new housing options that address these economic and environmental concerns.


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Forterra and partners are applying for a Department of Ecology Floodplains by Design Grant to develop a Community Flood Education and Preparedness program, support property owners with voluntarily selling their vulnerable properties through a buy-out program and restore the floodway through structure demolition, septic removal and planting of native species on acquired properties.

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