Portland, OR – In response to requests by Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, FEMA announced today that they have changed their flood mapping process to take into account all local levees, a move that will help alleviate potential flood insurance costs for some Oregon communities.
“FEMA was off base in not taking all local levees into account. Communities were facing skyrocketing flood insurance costs and it just didn’t make sense,” said Merkley. “Fortunately, FEMA has finally taken those concerns into account so that communities in Oregon will not be hurt by oversimplified maps.”
“The National Flood Insurance Program needs to accurately reflect the flood risk to private and public property,” Wyden said. “That was not necessarily the case before, but could well be in the future thanks the FEMA’s decision to change its mapping process, which, if implemented properly, will reduce the cost of flood insurance for all affected property owners.”
Earlier this year, Senators Merkley and Wyden, along with 25 of their colleagues, called on FEMA Administrator Fugate to alter the mapping process to ensure that Oregon communities who have levees that are not certified but still provide flood protection would not be categorized as “without levee.” Communities in Oregon that are designated with the “without levee” category would face huge increases in flood insurance, even though there is in fact a levee in place.
In a letter back to Senators Merkley and Wyden, Administrator Fugate today acknowledged that the flood mapping process has been a concern to many and that some changes in the program needed to take place in the near term. FEMA has therefore, replaced the “without levee” modeling approach with a “suite of methodologies that are technically sound, credible and cost effective.”