The City of Portland is one of 250 local jurisdictions in Oregon that will have to respond to new direction from the federal government to ensure new development in the 100-year floodplain does not affect species on the Threatened and Endangered Species List.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP establishes allowances and minimum standards for development in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), also known as the 100-year floodplain.
All federal agencies are required to ensure their programs do not harm federally protected species. To do so, FEMA consulted with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the federal agency responsible for many of the protected species in Oregon.
In April, NMFS issued a formal biological opinion that concluded the scope of development currently allowed in the SFHA jeopardizes the continued existence of threatened or endangered species. In turn, FEMA recently sent a letter to more than 250 local jurisdictions in Oregon, informing the City of Portland and others about future changes to the NFIP in Oregon.
New regulations likely to be developed
The NMFS’s biological opinion includes recommendations for changes to the NFIP administered by FEMA. Implementation of these recommendations may result in significant changes to:
- Development restrictions and permitting requirements within the SFHA, and
- The geographic area affected by the regulations, due to future re-mapping of the SFHA.
Full implementation of the recommendations will take several years; but some changes may be implemented sooner. Any future city code changes will go through a public process.
The City of Portland is monitoring direction from FEMA on the timing and scope of implementation of these changes, though many details are uncertain at this time.
More information and resources
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD).
- FEMA letter to Portland, the same notice sent to 250 Oregon jurisdictions.
- Excerpt from the NMFS Biological Opinion, "Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives."
- To find out if a property is located within the Special Flood Hazard Area (100-year floodplain), visit FEMA’s National Flood Hazard map. For more information on how this may affect a property, you may also wish to consult an attorney or planning professional.
Contact: Bureau of Development Services, 503-823-7300
NMFS Biological Opinion (excerpt)
An excerpt of "reasonable and prudent alternatives" from the NFMS Biological Opinion.
FEMA Letter to Portland
FEMA sent this notice to 250 Oregon jurisdictions