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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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Alert: City of Portland prepares for possible flooding on Johnson Creek

(Dec. 19, 2016) The potential for heavy rain, combined with melting snow, could cause limited flooding along Johnson Creek between midnight tonight and early afternoon on Tuesday, Dec. 20.

The City of Portland continues to monitor the forecast and flood gauges. While we expect minor street flooding because of heavy rain in the area, we do not expect streets to be flooded by the creek. Flooding could affect some low-lying areas along the creek where homeless individuals camp and some private properties in the area.

The Sycamore Gauge on Johnson Creek near 152nd Avenue and Foster Road is at 2.59 feet as of 4 p.m. At 11 feet it is considered flood stage, when the creek overtops its banks in some places.

The gauge is expected to reach 11 feet at about 5 a.m. and crest at 11.8 feet by late morning on Tuesday. The flooding threat is expected to be reduced by early afternoon.

The bureaus of Transportation (PBOT), Parks & Recreation, Emergency Management (PBEM), Environmental Services (BES) and the Portland-Multnomah County Joint Office on Homelessness are working together, with support from 211info, to warn residents, businesses and property owners along Johnson Creek that of the potential for flooding overnight.

Today, as a precaution, Portland Parks & Recreation park rangers joined area social service providers to do outreach.  Rangers and social service staff contacted people experiencing homelessness - near areas along Johnson Creek that are likely to flood – and issued warnings about the potential dangers of tonight’s rain and possible flooding.

The Joint Office of Homeless Services is working with shelter providers to identify available shelter beds for individuals displaced due to the flooding. Individuals seeking additional information about the flooding risk and available shelter should call 211info. (Dial 2-1-1 or visit the website, www.211info.org.)

Sandbag locations are stocked and ready

To help residents and business owners prepare for a flood emergency, sand and sandbags are available at no charge to anyone who wants to use them to protect their property from flood damage. PBOT crews keep the sites stocked with sand and sand bags. No shovels are provided, so the public must bring their own. 

Sandbag locations are:

  • SE 88th Avenue just south of Holgate Boulevard in the parking lot at Lents Park. Enter parking lot at the bottom of the hill, and follow one-way traffic to the sand pile at the exit on the east side of SE 88th;
  • SE 111th Avenue and Harold Street at the southeast corner of the intersection; and
  • SW 42nd Avenue and Vermont Street in the lower parking lot of Gabriel Park; enter Gabriel Park from Vermont.

Restoration projects have reduced severity of flooding

To reduce the severity and frequency of flooding along Johnson Creek, the Bureau of Environmental Services is continuing to implement a number of restoration projects along Portland’s portion of the 26-mile creek. Most notably, the Foster Floodplain Natural Area, completed in 2012, transformed a flood-prone neighborhood into a natural area that absorbs and filters excess rainwater. 

On Tuesday, Environmental Services field science teams will monitor water levels along the creek and evaluate the performance of restoration areas in absorbing and channeling this event’s snowmelt and rainfall. Environmental Services web site offers more information about the Johnson Creek area and the Foster Floodplain Natural Area.

In the event that streets are closed, PBOT asks the traveling public to obey all road closed signs. Do not move them or drive around them. The roads have been closed because of hazardous conditions. If drivers ignore the signs, they are potentially putting themselves, other travelers and PBOT crews at risk.

To report downed trees or street flooding that are causing a hazard and covering a travel lane, call PBOT's maintenance dispatch at 503-823-1700.

Stay up to date!

  • Sign up for email or text message alerts of traffic advisories from the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

  • Sing up for PublicAlerts, the system the City uses to notify the public of emergencies, including any need to evacuate due to flooding. To register and to update address, mobile phone and email information, visit www.PublicAlerts.org/signup.

News Media Contacts:

Dylan Rivera,
PBOT Public Information Officer
Cell: 503-577-7534

Diane Dulken,
BES Public Information Officer
Cell: 503-823-6724

Mark Ross
Parks & Rec Public Information Officer
Cell: 503-823-6634

Felicia Heaton
PBEM Deputy Public Information Officer,
Cell: 503-209-0549