City moves forward with Lake Boren flooding mitigation plan

June 3, 2011

By Tim Pfarr

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The City Council has directed city staff members to move forward with a plan aimed at mitigating flooding from Lake Boren.

The lake’s water level rises in winter, flooding residents’ basements and yards on the north end of the lake.

China Creek roared into the north end of Lake Boren in December 2010 with heavy rain, flooding residents’ properties and dumping a slew of gravel and sediment on their lawns. By Tim Pfarr

City staff members presented a draft scope of work at the May 13 council meeting, seeking feedback regarding how to proceed with the project. The staff members proposed collecting data from the lake and identifying ways to mitigate the lake level.

In addition to addressing flooding on the north end of the lake, the draft said the project would also include exploring ways to make the north end of the lake more accessible.

The draft listed numerous possible solutions for keeping lake levels from rising, including:

  • Creating more drainage ponds upstream from the China Creek inlet, on the north end of the lake.
  • Retrofitting existing drainage ponds to better control water flow.
  • Making changes to the China Creek channel upstream from the lake.
  • Flood-proofing homes.
  • Constructing a water flow-control structure at the lake’s outlet on the south shore.
  • Dredging the lake, so it can hold more water.
  • Dredging the outlet channel, so it drains more efficiently.
  • Building a bypass route to channel water away from the lake during peak flow times.

Council members agreed they did not want to pursue flood-proofing homes on the north end of the lake. Councilman Rich Crispo said flood proofing would not address the source of the problem.

“That’s the wrong approach,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “I wanted to deal with the causes, not the effects.”

City Manager Rob Wyman said city staff will get cost estimates from engineering firms and then report back to the council regarding the project’s next steps. New Public Works Director Mark Rigos has also started working on the project.

“He’s all over it,” Wyman said about Rigos. “He already had some great ideas.”

The council allocated $50,000 to the project this year, asking for a tangible fix to the flooding problem. Wyman said city staff members will do as much work as they can in-house to save money for physical labor.

“It’s a lot of information, a lot of detail, and I think we’re just looking to have somebody present to us the options and what they will cost,” Councilwoman Lisa Jensen said.

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