Urge Portland City Council to Protect Our Floodplains 

On Wednesday August 30, Portland City Council held its first hearing for the Portland Floodplain Resilience Plan. Healthy and intact floodplains (areas that are most likely to flood) are essential for the health and safety of our community to protect water quality, provide fish and wildlife habitat, and provide resilience in the face of climate change. Today, we’re asking you to email City Council members to urge them not to cave to developers and instead remove loopholes that weaken the plan. As more and more communities across the world suffer catastrophic floods, the importance of floodplain protection looms larger and larger. Read about how Bird Alliance of Oregon’s successful lawsuit jump started the revision of this plan.

Flooding in Cathedral Park
Flooding in Cathedral Park in mid June 2022. Photo by Bob Sallinger.

Implementing this plan should be an opportunity for City leadership to take a significant and timely step towards increasing our communities’ climate resilience and doing its part to protect significant wildlife habitat along the Willamette River. But the plan, as currently written, includes significant exemptions for special interests, and unnecessarily delays the protections it will put in place for two years!

City Council Members Email Addresses:

Subject: Floodplain Resilience Plan

(Please note: It will still be helpful and have an impact to send emails after the meeting on August 30 — City Council members need to hear from you.)

Talking Points for Emails to City Council

    • City Council Members will have a legacy of either passing a flawed plan that could place future development and residents along the river in peril, or one that directs a holistic development approach that respects the environment and leads to the creation of vibrant, safe, and healthy communities
    • Remove the 2 year delay
      The delay will signal to developers that they can avoid the new regulations by starting their projects under the current code and potentially put the City and these projects in legal risk
    • Remove key exemptions for industrial zoned lands and South Waterfront
      Projects in the floodplain on Industrial zoned properties and in South Waterfront will have the same negative impacts as projects elsewhere, putting people and the environment in harm’s way – so they should be held to the same standards
    • Close loopholes for existing buildings and “vested” projects
      These loopholes will only perpetuate harmful and risky developments in the floodplain
    • Hold public projects like Centennial Mills to the highest standards
      Public projects should include the highest level of floodplain protections to ensure they provide a balance of public benefits, including preservation and restoration of natural resources and prioritizing human safety

Check out the joint comment letter that Bird Alliance of Oregon and partners submitted to Council on the plan.

Thank you for taking action for our region’s wildlife and the habitat it relies on.

The Floodplain Resilience Plan is an opportunity for the City to prioritize increasing climate resilience, and to set a statewide and national example of what climate leadership should look like – and it must be done with urgency and uniformity.