On a voice voice without objection, the House of Representatives approved legislation Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Steve Knight to establish a St. Francis Dam National Memorial and Monument in Saugus.
H.R. 5244, the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial Act, would create a national memorial at the site of the 1928 St. Francis Dam Disaster in the San Francisquito Canyon, which claimed the lives of an estimated 431 people. The memorial would be funded by private donations and would establish a 440-acre national monument encompassing the designated national memorial area that was devastated in the resulting flood.
“This memorial site is important for the people of the Santa Clarita Valley and I am proud to be part of the effort to educate the public and honor the individuals who perished in the St. Francis Dam Disaster,” Knight, R-Palmdale, said in a statement.
In May Knight testified in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands about the need to memorialize the victims of the disaster. He was joined in the hearing by Dr. Alan Pollack, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, who detailed the dam’s history, beginning with its flawed design and construction and ending with its abrupt and devastating collapse. The bill then passed the Natural Resources Committee with unanimous support.
Pollack, on behalf of the Historical Society, together with Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel of the local Community Hiking Club, had worked with Knight in developing the legislation. Pollack expressed his gratitude Tuesday.
“I thank the House of Representatives for passing HR 5244,” Pollack said. “Thank you to our congressman, Steve Knight, for his dedication and leadership in getting this bill passed.”
“This legislation is long overdue,” said Knight. “The victims of the St. Francis Dam Disaster deserve to be memorialized, and that’s exactly why we are here today. I am pleased that my colleagues in the House recognize the importance of honoring the individuals who perished in the St. Francis Dam Disaster.”
On Tuesday Knight spoke on the House floor, again urging his colleagues to support the Memorial. After his speech, the House voted unanimously to pass the legislation.
“Now we move on to the Senate,” said Pollack, “where we hope for a swift bill passage so that we can finally and appropriately honor the memory of all those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy.”