Crews inspect Columbia River levees as water continues to rise - KPTV - FOX 12

Crews inspect Columbia River levees as water continues to rise

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Engineering teams are out to inspect the levee along the Columbia River, and they're concerned about how well the levees are holding up with all the rain that has fallen in the metro area.

Portland saw record-setting rain in February, and March is on track to also be a very wet month. All of that rain just adds to the river level already at flood stage and the possibility of erosion.

Engineering teams from Multnomah County and the Army Corps of Engineers were on land and in boats on the river Friday inspecting the lengthy levee along the Columbia for any erosion, slides or any other issues.

“It's perfectly normal that small slides will happen, but we're making sure those slides don't worsen and they don't impact the critical design section of the levee,“ Multnomah County Drainage District Manager Colin Rowan explained.

The levees are designed to protect Portland, Fairview, Gresham, Troutdale and Portland International Airport from major flooding events like those that happened in 1996. The crews have already found areas of concern and are now monitoring them on a daily basis.

“They're making sure that that's not sliding out and that the river isn't taking any of the critical material off the levees,” Rowan said.”

He also noted that at just under 17 feet, the river is the highest it's been since 2011, and crews have to make sure it can handle the runoff expected from the major snow that's accumulated in the cascades.

Rowan says so far everything is as it should be, but if something comes up that requires emergency attention crews are ready to handle it.

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