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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Heavy rainfall causes localized street flooding

UPDATE: December 10, 2010

Although hundreds of flooded intersections drained overnight, several intersections around the city still have standing water, so the public is advised to travel with caution. Transportation crews are making their way around the city clearing clogged catch basins today in preparation for more rain today and through the weekend. For information how you can help lessen street flooding and keep everyone safe, see yesterday's release below.



December 9, 2010


Contact: Cheryl Kuck

Portland Bureau of Transportation



Heavy rainfall causes localized street flooding

(Portland, Ore.) — Surges of heavy rain and showers have resulted in localized street flooding around the city today. The National Weather Service forecast calls for continued heavy rainfall tonight and through the weekend. Currently, no streets are closed due to high water, but the traveling public is advised to be extra careful. Portland Bureau of Transportation crews are responding to reports of flooded intersections and are clearing clogged catch basins.

Individuals, households, and businesses can help lessen street flooding by cleaning the storm drain inlets near their property before and after a heavy rainfall. When catch basins (grated storm drains) get clogged with recently fallen leaves and debris, water can no longer be drained from the street. Water ponds along streets and can flood intersections and homes.

To clear debris from a catch basin, stand on the curb and use a rake or pitch fork to remove fallen limbs, leaves, and debris from the grate so that water can drain easily. Do not attempt to remove the grate, only the debris on top of the grate. Dispose of the debris properly by putting leaves and branches in your curbside yard debris containers and other debris in your trash receptacle. Do not sweep the debris into the gutter. For leaves that have fallen on the street, rake them about a foot from the curb, allowing water to flow to the catch basin without the leaves.

If you are unable to clear a catch basin yourself, notify the City’s Dispatch line at 503-823-1700 that help is needed at a particular location. Crews will respond as resources and conditions allow.

The public is advised not to drive through standing water; instead, turn around safely. Slow down when streets are wet, stay away from puddles, try to drive in the tire tracks left by the vehicles in front of you, and be on the lookout for pedestrians and bicyclists making their way around standing water, especially in low light conditions.

Do not drive around barricades that close or restrict access to a street due to high water, downed trees, downed power lines, or debris slides. Disobeying a barricade that has a street closure or other message sign on it is a Class B violation according to Oregon Vehicle Code and may result in a $360 fine. Driving through high water creates wakes that can cause property damage and flood houses and businesses. If downed power lines are hidden under standing water, there is a risk of electrocution. For information on local street closures and other service alerts related to winter weather emergencies, visit