Flood losses in Tillamook County exceeded 60 million dollars over 1996-2000. This includes damages to homes, businesses and infrastructure. The following information has been prepared by the Tillamook County Department of Community Development to help protect those who are vulnerable from future flooding.
Low-lying areas between the Coast Range and the Pacific Ocean are subject to periodic severe flooding caused by any combination of heavy rains, melting snow, high tides and strong winds. Land adjacent to or near rivers, creeks, sloughs, bays and the ocean are most vulnerable to flooding; however, flooding can occur in any lowland area in Tillamook County, including those removed from waterways. The most vulnerable time is from November to April, but experience shows that flooding can occur any time of the year.
Federal, state and local governments in Tillamook County are involved in a collaborative effort with local citizens to do everything possible to lessen the adverse impacts of flooding. This includes:
The Board of Commissioners' adoption of a Floodplain Management Plan shortly after the February 1996 flood.
The Board's hiring of a full-time Emergency Management Director and assistant to be pro-active on flood issues.
The formation of a citizen-led Flood Control Group to advocate flood mitigation measures.
The County's securing over 1.3 million dollars in federal grant monies that have been used to elevate more than 60 homes over the past three years.
Tillamook City's use of federal funds to buy out the Tillamook Inn at a price agreeable to the owner. This business had experienced more than $400,000 in flood damage over the past several years.
Securing grant monies to repair dikes and tidegates.
The Board of Commissioners' success in achieving a "disaster resistant" Project Impact designation for Tillamook County which creates opportunities for additional assistance in addressing flood issues.
County encouragement of the Corps of Engineers' Feasibility Study which will help identify and justify flood mitigation projects.
The County's qualification for the federal (FEMA) Community Rating System (CRS) which will result in a substantial reduction in flood insurance Premiums.
Public information on flood protection, including this website.
County Flood Services
You should check the flood hazard on property that you own or may purchase. Flood maps and flood protection information are available in the Tillamook County Library. You can visit the Department of Community Development in the basement of the County Courthouse where you can determine if you are in a mapped floodplain and the extent of flooding that may be anticipated on your property. Information is available on selecting contractors who have done elevation projects in the County. If requested, Community Development will do a site visit to review potential flood problems and explain ways to stop flooding or prevent flood damage. You may call the department at 503-842-3408. These services are free.
Prepare Before a Flood
Floodproofing your property before a flood is the best preparation. Elevating your structure can assure that it won't be flooded. None of the more than 60 homes that have been elevated in Tillamook County over the past three years received subsequent flood damage. You may also make your walls waterproof or place watertight closures over the doorways. (This method is not recommended for houses with basements or if flood waters may exceed two feet. These and other measures may be discussed with Community Development staff.
If you are a newcomer to the area, find out if you live or work in a flood-prone area. Talk with your neighbors, especially those living in Tillamook County during the 1996 and 1999 floods, or call the Tillamook County Department of Community Development at (503) 842-3408. Remember that the next flood could be larger than previous floods.
Find out if there is a neighborhood notification system set up in your area. If there isn't, organize one. Pay particular notice to contacting and helping the elderly and handicapped.
Develop an evacuation plan. Learn the safest route from your home, farm or business to high, secure ground. Remember, low lying bridges or roads can be swept away or covered by floodwaters. Establish a safe meeting place on high ground for all family members in case you are separated.
Make an itemized list of personal property, including valuables, furnishings and clothing. Photograph your home inside and out. Keep your list, photos and any insurance policies in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box, outside the floodplain.
Buy Flood Insurance. Protection against floods is not covered under a homeowner's policy. Contact an insurance agent about your eligibility for flood insurance offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Don't wait until the last minute -- there is usually a 30-day waiting period before the policy is effective.
Stock up on non-perishable food and store drinking water in containers. Keep a flashlight, battery-operated radio, and plenty of extra batteries on hand. Make sure you have easy access to warm clothing, rain gear and any medicine you may need. Remember electric power will probably be out during a flood.
Be sure you have a first aid kit and learn how to use it. Heart attacks and injuries increase during a flood. Get CPR training if you can.
If you live in an area where you would benefit from using sandbags, get some. Availability may be limited during the time of a flood.
CONTACT THE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (503-842-3408) TO OBTAIN ANY REQUIRED PERMITS BEFORE PLACING ANY FILL OR DOING ANY GRADING IN A FLOODPLAIN.
During a Flood
The most important consideration during a flood is the safety of you and your family. Heavy rains, melting snow and high tides can combine to cause devastating floods in a very short time. Be prepared to evacuate before waters reach your property. Keep your radio tuned to KTIL FM 94.1, your local Emergency Alert System (Emergency Broadcast System), to find out if you need to evacuate and how much time you have.
A Flood Warning from the National Weather Service means flooding is occurring or will occur soon. Evacuate if you are told to do so.
IN A FLOOD WARNING, TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS:
Secure your home before leaving. Turn off electricity, gas and water if possible.
Fill your car's gas tank. Gasoline pumps will not be working if electricity has been cut off.
If there's time, some items to take with you are:
Food if you require a special diet
Clothing - enough for at least 24 hours
Personal items - toiletries, documents, photo albums, etc.
Bedding - sleeping bags, blankets, pillows
Baby or child supplies
Money - cash, credit cards, checks
Proper identification - especially important for small children.
FLOOD WATERS - THE MOST DANGEROUS
Rushing water from floods and flash floods is extremely deceptive and dangerous. It is possible to be swept away in floodwaters only one-foot deep.
Police barricades are there for your protection. DO NOT DRIVE AROUND THEM.
Walking or driving through floodwaters is the most dangerous thing you can do.
If you aren't staying with relatives or friends, designated shelters operated by the Red Cross may be available. Listen to the Emergency Broadcast system or call the Tillamook County Department of Emergency Management at (503) 842-3412 for locations.
After a Flood
If damage occurs, contact the County Department of Community Development (842-3408) for an inspection. Repairs are subject to permit requirements. Repair of substantial damage may require elevating the structure.
Enforcement of Flood Regulations
Enforcement of the regulations for Flood zones is managed through several avenues. These include Planners with a CFM doing all final reviews of Building Permits within Flood Zones for compliance with land use. It also includes a Building Inspector with a CFM reviewing Building Plans.
All Planners and the majority of Building Inspectors have attended classes on the NFIP and CRS programs. In addition, 2 Building Inspectors have completed the retrofitting courses offered through EMI.
Services to Lending Institutions, Real Estate and Insurance Agents
As a public service, Tillamook County will provide you with the following information upon request:
Whether a property is in or out of the Flood Hazard Area (FHA) as shown on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) of the County.
Additional flood insurance data for a site, such as the FIRM zone and the base flood elevation or depth, if shown on the FIRM.
The Main Library in the City of Tillamook has copies of the FIRMs.
We have a handout on the flood insurance purchase requirement that can help people who need a mortgage or loan for a property in the SFHA.
The Tillamook Department of Community Development maintains elevation certificates for review.
The Tillamook County updates the Flood Insurance Rate Maps as needed when revisions are made to the maps.
If you would like to make an inquiry, please call and give us the map and tax lot number of the preperty. Call us at the Department of Community Development 503-842-3408 or drop by the office at 201 Laurel Avenue. There is no charge for this service.
Contractors Experienced in Retrofitting Structures for Flooding
COLEMAN CONSTRUCTION MDI 39305 Hwy 53 Nehalem, OR 97131 368-5710
COON CONSTRUCTION 4225 Highway 101 North Tillamook, OR 97141 842-4678
RCA CONSTRUCTION MDI P. O. Box 630 Rockaway Beach, OR 97136 355-8493
DON SHELDON CONSTRUCTION 15266 Green Timber Road Tillamook, OR 97141 842-7421
CHARLES VANDERPERREN MDI 36200 Highway 53 Nehalem, OR 97131 368-6967
KELLY VICE 235 Bluebird Lane Tillamook, OR 97141 842-6537
SHELDON CONSTRUCTION 4005 Yellow Fir Road Tillamook, OR 97141 842-9247
Information For Property Owners with Repetitive Losses
Your property may be in an area that has been flooded several times. Over time, the drainage system of ditches and culverts could handle all but the largest storms. Since then, urban development in and upstream in Tillamook County has increased the amount of stormwater runoff. Now, heavy rains and super tides can overload the system more often. As a result, your area floods on an average of every 3-4 years.
Tillamook County is concerned about repetitive flooding and has an active program to help you protect yourself and your property from future flooding. We are seeking funding support to elevate homes and businesses within the floodplain.
Meanwhile, here are some things you can do:
Check with the Building Section () on the extent of past flooding in your area. Department staff can tell you about the causes of repetitive flooding, what the County is doing about it, and what would be an appropriate flood protection level. County staff can visit your property to discuss flood protection alternatives.
Prepare for flooding by doing the following:
Know how to shut off the electricity and gas to your house when a flood comes.
Make a list of emergency numbers and identify a safe place to go to. - Make a household inventory, especially of basement contents.
Put insurance policies, valuable papers, medicine, etc. in a safe place.
Collect and put cleaning supplies, camera, waterproof boots, etc. in a handy place.
Develop a disaster response plan - See the Red Cross' website: www.redcross.org for a copy of the brochure "Your Family Disaster Plan"
Get a copy of Repairing Your Flooded Home. We have copies at the PublicWorks Department or It can be found on the Red Cross' website, too.
Consider some permanent flood protection measures:
Mark your fuse or breaker box to show the circuits to the flood able areas. Turning off the power to the basement can reduce property damage and save lives.
Consider elevating your house above flood levels. This was done on McDonald Road in Nehalem and Resort Drive in Pacific City. In subsequent flood events, water went under these houses without damaging them.
Check your building for water entry points. These can be basement windows, the stairwells, doors, and dryer vents. These can be protected with low walls or temporary shields.
Install a floor drain plug, standpipe, overhead sewer, or sewer backup valve to prevent sewer backup flooding.
More information can be found in Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding. Copies are in the Tillamook County Public Library or at www.fema.qov/hazards/floods/lib312.shtm
Note that some flood protection measures may need a building permit and others may not be safe for your type of building, so be sure to talk to Community Development.
Talk to Community Development regarding information on financial assistance:
Get a flood insurance policy - it will help pay for repairs after a flood and, in some cases, it will help pay the costs of elevating a substantially damaged building.
Get a flood insurance policy
Homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However, because Tillamook County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. This insurance is backed by the Federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have not been flooded.
Because your area is not mapped as a Special Flood Hazard Area, you may qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy, which has special low premium.
Some people have purchased flood insurance because the bank required it when they got a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building's structure and not the contents. During the kind of flooding that happens in your area, there is usually more damage to the furniture and contents than there is to the structure. Be sure you have contents coverage.
Don't wait for the next flood to buy insurance protection. There is a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect.
Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage.