Friday, July 31, 2015

News From The Drainage District

Flood Safety Monthly, July 31, 2015
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Protecting lives, property and the environment through innovative, proactive, flood plain management
Peninsula Drainage District #1 | Peninsula Drainage District #2 | Multnomah County Drainage District #1 | Sandy Drainage Improvement Company
Upcoming Events
Columbia Slough Regatta
Aug 2, 9 am - 1 pm
1880 NE Elrod Dr.
(more details below)

PEN 1 Board Meeting
Aug. 24,  9:00-10:00 am
MCDD Conference Room
1880 NE Elrod Dr. 

4MAT Meeting
Sep 24 , 10:00 am-2:00 pm
MCDD Conference Room
1880 NE Elrod Dr. 

Levee Ready Columbia*
Sep. 24? 

*Formerly "Oregon Solutions Levee Improvement Program

4MAT Meeting
Oct. Time and Date TBD
MCDD Conference Room
1880 NE Elrod Dr. 

Bookmark our eventscalendar here

Oregon Solutions becomes Levee Ready Columbia!

July was an important month for the levee program. As many readers may know, for the last two years MCDD has been working with community, environmental, business and government partners to ensure to that our levee system meets federal standards and provides flood protection for our community.
On July 17th partners formalized their commitment to this effort through the signing of a Declaration of Cooperation. The Declaration, though not legally binding, articulates the program's goals and principles, and documents how the partners will work together to ensure that our community continues to protect the important economic, social, and ecological benefits provided by our levee system. Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Baileycaptured the significance of the event in his remarks,
"We move today from exploration to  analysis and action... critical for our community’s safety and resiliency, for our region’s business and economic health, and for our responsibility as stewards of these levees. Thanks to Oregon Solutions for developing this partnership, framing this table and fostering the goodwill and collaboration that is a hallmark of your organization... Signing on formally together today, solidifies that strength and makes sure we have a foundation for the future."
In addition to signing on to the Declaration of Cooperation, the partners adopted a new name for the program: Levee Ready Columbia: Flood Protection for the Portland Community. Look for more news and updates on Levee Ready Columbia this fall. Until then, you can always learn more at, or by contacting Levee Ready Columbia program office (located at MCDD) at (503) 281-5675, or 1880 NE Elrod Dr. Portland, OR 97211. 

Above: The Oregon Solutions Levee Ready Columbia partners gathered for the signing of the Declaration of Cooperation on July 17, 2015.
Columbia Slough Regatta on Sunday!
MCDD is proud to be hosting the Columbia Slough Regatta on Sunday Aug 2. In addition to providing access to the slough and free kayak or canoe rentals, this year's event will have a live band, food vendors, and tours of the levee and pump station. MCDD values its partnership with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and we are very happy to help introduce paddlers to the importance of conservation on the slough as well as the important public safety and flood protection work of the Districts.
For more information on the Regatta, visit:

Recent Operations and Maintenance

Vanport Wetlands draw down
While MCDD's primary responsibility is drainage and flood protection we examine every opportunity to work with our partners and deliver on our mission to protect the environment too. One example of this is our partnership with the Port of Portland to manage water levels in the Vanport Wetlands. By carefully managing water levels in the wetlands, MCDD has helped create habitat used by over 100 species of birds, This time of year, MCDD is drawing down the water level in the wetlands by about 6 inches every two weeks. This will result in some mudflats by August, to support migratory shorebirds. For more information visit the Port of Portland.

Levee maintenance update
MCDD field crews continue to progress the through the annual schedule of levee maintenance. This includes mowing the grass on the levees and removing harmful vegetation. This time of year most of the maintenance in PEN 1 and PEN 2 is complete (save some areas that must be cleared manually). Mowing work will continue west to east through MCDD and into SDIC over the next month. As you can see in the picture below, MCDD also got a new sign to alert auto traffic and trail users to our maintenance work.

Tree and stump removal near the airport
If you've noticed a lot of trees down, stumps, or work crews along Marine Dr. just east of the Airport recently, you've seen MCDD at work. The trees in this area did not comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations. MCDD worked with the Port of Portland to have them removed. To ensure that the Marine Dr. levee was unharmed, the stumps and roots had to be carefully removed so that decaying roots wouldn't damage the levee.

Above left: MCDD levee maintenance in progress, mowing along the Marine Dr. levee just west of I-205.
Above right: Tree stumps that were removed along the levee to comply with U.S. Corps of Engineers standards.

Emergency Preparedness

Throughout July, MCDD staff have been working hard to improve the flood emergency action plan for the Districts. Two major improvements were accomplished this month include:
  • Drafting levee patrol areas to guide inspections during a high water event
  • Clarifying triggers for action and how they coincide with the National Weather Service’s flood categories. (An example “trigger for action”: water elevation at Vancouver Gage reads X feet so Y response must be initiated.)
MCDD personnel will continue to work on the flood emergency action plan throughout the summer.
Though we are currently not experience flood conditions or high flood risk, we are experiencing extreme heat this summer. Access Multnomah County’s webpage, "Help for when it's hot" to learn about how to stay safe and cool in this weather. Cooling center hours and locations and more can be found on this site.
Stay Prepared – Stay Safe. As always, if you have questions about emergency preparedness at the Districts, please call us at 503-281-5675. 

Noteworthy Links

Vanport the Musical  on July 31st and August 1st.

Columbia river levees still inadequate for flood 

Portland shuts of back up water supply (Columbia South Shore Well Field)

Riverfront greenway as flood control in Cedar Rapids

El NiƱo update


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