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US Army Corps of Engineers Feasibility Study

of the Portland Metro Levee System

Current

US Army Corps of Engineers Feasibility Study

A Pathway to Modernizing our Levee System

In mid-2018, after advocating for several years with our Levee Ready Columbia (LRC) partners, Congress designated a “US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New Start Feasibility Study” for our levee system focused on flood risk management.  The USACE Feasibility Study is a formal three-year process that culminates in a final report used by Congress to determine if there is federal interest in reinvesting in local flood safety infrastructure like our levee system.  For us, this is an important opportunity to bring expertise and federal funds to our area and help make the necessary repairs and improvements to our levees to meet safety standards and ensure continued reduced flood-risk for communities, property, and the environment.

US Army Corps tours the Portland Metro Levee System
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How does the study's process work?

Since 2012, USACE feasibility studies have been guided by the “3 x 3 x 3 rule.” This means that all studies must take no more than three years to complete, cost no more than $3 million, and must involve regular review at all three levels of the USACE –district, division, and headquarters. This format has been established to help keep the study moving forward and ensure there aren’t any major delays when it comes time to deliver the recommendations to Congress.  Below is a high-level overview of the study’s major milestones.

How is the Feasibility Study Funded?

The funding for this study came from a special appropriation package for USACE to work specifically on flood and storm damage reduction projects. Because of this special appropriation, the study is 100% federally funded and does not require any local match. It also means that USACE must focus exclusively on issues related to flood safety in their study. Although the allotted funding goes directly to the USACE, their investigation and modeling will greatly benefit our local efforts, and their recommendations may result in some federal funding for the repairs needed to our local levee system. We are working closely with USACE throughout the process to contribute to their recommendations, integrate local priorities, and fully maximize the opportunity.

Estimated Timeline

Will they fund all the work needed?

We are hopeful that this process will culminate in some federal re-investment in our system but do not expect that it will be enough to complete all the work that is needed to recertify and modernize the system. For this reason, we will continue to run our own local process alongside the Corps’ study to integrate our previous efforts and goals into the feasibility study and so we can begin to plan the projects that will need to be addressed at the local level. This is, however, an important opportunity to bring federal funds and expertise to the table to help make the necessary repairs and improvements to our levees. Without this opportunity, all the necessary repairs and improvements would need to be paid for by Oregonians.

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

After the public comment period for the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) closed on Friday, February 14th, 2020, MCDD and Corps staff have worked together to provide additional public involvement opportunities to hear your ideas and concerns related to their study and concepts included in their TSP. In the Spring of 2020, we collaborated on a series of a series of neighborhood walks to capture site-based concerns, questions, and suggestions.  As a result of COVID-19, we have put some of these in-person walks on hold but are working with community leaders to find alternative virtual public involvement options.

 

In the Fall of 2020, each District board will host community update meetings in partnership with the Corps to provide briefings on the study’s process and gather community input and ideas.  We’ll continue to update this page regularly so please check back for updates on dates, times, and other logsitics.

 

SPRING/SUMMER NEIGHBORHOOD ALIGNMENT WALKS

To ensure that the Corps hears and understands community concerns associated with concepts in the TSP, we’re working with Levee Ready Columbia and Corps staff to host a series of neighborhood walks. This is an opportunity to get out on the levee with Corps staff and to get really specific about your neighborhood and property. These are not intended to be broadly attended public meetings with formal programs. Instead, we will meet at a specific location and walk a stretch of the levee with the property owners and other interested parties.

 

BRIDGETON ROAD | View Map
Date:
 Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Time: beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Meeting Location: The western end of Bridgeton Road, in front of Blue Frog Landing (near 448 N Bridgeton)

 

PORTLAND YACHT CLUB & MARINE DRIVE (EAST COLUMBIA) | View Map
Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Time: beginning at 8:30 am
Meeting Location: Portland Yacht Club

 

COLUMBIA SLOUGH SIDE OF PEN 2 
Date: TBA
Time: TBA
Meeting Location: TBA

 

RIVERSIDE GOLF COURSE
Date: TBA
Time: TBA
Meeting Location: TBA

 

HERON LAKES GOLF COURSE
Date: TBA
Time: TBA
Meeting Location: TBA

 

FALL DISTRICT UPDATE MEETINGS

In the Fall of 2020, each Drainage District Board will host a Community Update Meeting to provide an update on the study’s process and hear your concerns.  The meetings will be held at the Drainage District office unless otherwise noted.

 

PEN1 COMMUNITY UPDATE MEETING

Date: September or October 2020
Time: TBD
Meeting Location: MCDD Office, 1880 NE Elrod Dr, Portland, OR

 

PEN2 COMMUNITY UPDATE MEETING

Date: September or October 2020
Time: TBD
Meeting Location: MCDD Office, 1880 NE Elrod Dr, Portland, OR

 

MCDD COMMUNITY UPDATE MEETING

Date: September or October 2020
Time: TBD
Meeting Location: MCDD Office, 1880 NE Elrod Dr, Portland, OR

 

SDIC COMMUNITY UPDATE MEETING

Date: September or October 2020
Time: TBD
Meeting Location: MCDD Office, 1880 NE Elrod Dr, Portland, OR

THE DRAFT FEASIBILITY REPORT & TENTATIVELY SELECTED PLAN

On Monday, January 6, 2020, the US Army Corps of Engineers released their Draft Integrated Feasibility Report & Environmental Assessment, which includes information about the analysis they have conducted to date, the vulnerabilities that have been identified within the levee system, the potential solutions that have been considered, the final array of alternatives that have been evaluated, and the alternative that has tentatively been selected as their preferred plan.

and here are some additional resources to help digest what’s in the Corps’ draft report:

READER’S GUIDEMAPS OF THE ALTERNATIVES | PUBLIC MEETING SLIDES

QUESTIONS?

Contact Us

Mark Wilcox, mwilcox@mcdd.org, ext. 318 – for technical and site-specific questions

Karen Carrillo, kcarrillo@mcdd.org, ext. 302 – for public involvement questions, such as hosting a community walk or presentation

To learn more about the U.S. Army Corps Feasibility Study process, please visit the document library on Levee Ready Columbia’s website.

Date

March 17, 2020

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