In January, we published our 2019 legislative agenda and set to work with members of the state legislature to reduce our risk of flooding across the state. Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Tina Kotek, Senator Lew Frederick, Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, Representative Chris Gorsek, and Senator Betsy Johnson, we’re thrilled to share that the state legislature approved all of our policy proposals, taking action to:
We also asked the legislature to support Levee Ready Columbia’s efforts by matching the total contribution made by the other project partners. The State’s support of our project will not only augment the work we can do but also show Congress that the State of Oregon is committed to flood safety and modernizing our levee system in Multnomah County, which does not currently meet federal standards set by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). One the final day of session, the legislature passed House Bill 5050, which included an allocation of $500,000 for Levee Ready Columbia during the 2019-2021 biennium. This funding will restore cuts that were made to our 2019-2020 budget and provide for:
- More robust technical support and coordination throughout the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Feasibility Study of our local levee system, as well as our local project planning process;
- Additional studies, engineering, and technical evaluations needed to complete levee projects;
- More extensive public education on the risk, need, and costs associated with modernizing the system and meeting federal safety standards;
- Analysis and planning to support the identification and implementation of a sustainable revenue structure to support the new special district created by the legislature to manage the levee system; and
- Additional engagement of individual community members and stakeholders in all of our planning work.