The Executives & Electeds of the partnership and the Project Team meet to review progress to date and legislative concepts under development for the upcoming legislative session. Partners agree to move forward with filing three legislative concepts during the 2019 legislative session:
- Senate Bill 254/House Bill 2323 would authorize Business Oregon’s Infrastructure Finance Authority (IFA) to award more grants from the Special Public Works levee assistance subaccount. This account was established primarily as a loan fund in 2015. Although it has proved immensely beneficial to some communities, there are many in Oregon that cannot afford to pay back a loan, even at the state’s modest interest rates. This leaves levee projects incomplete, putting residents and businesses at greater risk. Additional grant funding is needed to support these communities.
- To ensure there are funds in the account for the next biennium, Senate Bill 432/House Bill 2324 would appropriate $10 million in lottery dollars to the levee assistance subaccount.
- Senate Bill 431/House Bill 2008 would create an Urban Flood Safety & Water Quality District within Multnomah County’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) to manage and improve the Columbia Corridor levee and drainage system, enhance flood safety, and contribute to water quality in the managed floodplain. After forming and establishing a sustainable revenue structure, this district would absorb the four existing drainage districts that currently manage the 27-mile levee system. This new oversight and funding structure has been designed to meet long-term flood safety needs while allowing for a more equitable distribution of costs based on services and benefits received. It also allows for improved environmental stewardship along the levees and drainage canals in the managed floodplain, which is currently prohibited under the drainage district statute.