Flooding hits south county

February 15, 2014
Flooding hits south county

Sunriver and La Pine see road closures, rainwater affecting homes

By Elon Glucklich / @EGlucklich 

Warming temperatures and a series of rainstorms have flooded parts of south Deschutes County one week after record snowfall slammed Central Oregon.

And more rain is likely across the region this weekend, the National Weather Service reported, which issued a flood warning for south Deschutes County from Friday morning through this afternoon.

In Sunriver, melting snow and new rain have brought storm water onto the decks and into garages and crawlspaces of 30 to 40 homes, Jim Bennett, Sunriver Fire Department spokesman, said Friday.

“We have at least two homes where water actually entered the living quarters of the house,” he said, adding that water in those homes was about 8 inches deep.

Deschutes County road officials closed much of Darlene Way, a gravel street east of U.S. Highway 97 in La Pine, meanwhile, after overnight rain swamped the roadway.

Pendleton-based National Weather Service meteorologist Diana Hayden said residents from Sunriver to the southern edge of the county should expect rain and possibly snow early this morning. She said another storm system could hit the area Monday.

“This has the potential to be an all-hands-on-deck situation,” Deschutes County Public Works director Chris Doty said. He said road crews were sweeping the county looking for areas where rain and melted snow were accumulating and using pumps to clear water off the streets.

Areas of Bend also reported some flooding. But one historically flood-prone area — the Third Street underpass beneath the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway — appears to be holding up to the weather, following a $3.4 million renovation project last summer.

The underpass “has become an asset, rather than a liability,” Bend’s streets division manager Hardy Hanson said, adding that city road crews have been able to head through it to reach flooded areas in other parts of the city.

Sunriver and La Pine seemed to be taking the brunt of the flooding Friday.

Bennett said he hasn’t seen this much rainwater affecting roads and homes in more than five years with the fire department. Most of the affected homes are along Juniper, Timber and Tamarack lanes, he said. And the risk to homes seemed to be growing Friday, though crews working with the Sunriver Owners Association were making contingencies, piling sandbags and digging trenches to channel the floodwater in certain areas. Crews closed South Imnaha Drive Friday afternoon after water covered the road.

“At this time, there are no evacuations planned, but the flooding is starting to spread,” Bennett said.

In La Pine, there was flooding Friday at the Lazy River South subdivision, Doty said. He also said there was high water on Riverview Drive, Bridge Drive and Huntington Road.

“There is just a lot of stormwater runoff going around the roadways in those areas,” he said.

Last week’s snowstorm dropped 1 to 2 feet throughout the region. Much of the snow has melted, but the ground is frozen in many places, preventing the soil from absorbing the water, Doty said.

If needed, he said road department crews could take on extra shifts this weekend to clear streets of floodwater, though no plans for additional shifts were made as of Friday afternoon.

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, eglucklich@bendbulletin.com

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