Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Numerous entities collaborate to find a fix for flooding problem that has plagued city.

DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - Heavy equipment works with large culverts outside of Culver, as work on the water diversion project gets underway. Culver is partnering with other entities, including Jefferson County and ODOT, on the project, and the Culver School District has supplied an easement.Iris Lane, in Culver, is the temporary home to excavators, a large pile of culvert pipe and bright orange construction signs as the city, in partnership with other organizations, works to better divert future flood water from downtown Culver.

The project doesn't really belong to one entity, according to Donna McCormack, city recorder and manager in Culver, but it is a collaboration in which the city is working with the county, state and the railroad, as well as others, to accomplish the task.

Mayor Nancy Diaz said, in regard to the purpose of the project, "At times, when we have a really bad rainstorm, the water will come in (to town) and it has even been known to flood out the post office.

"It's not just a thunderstorm that comes by; it has to be something with a lot of water," she said. "It's usually not a problem, but when we have the heavy snow like we did this last year, then you notice."

"I am excited to finally get it done," Diaz said, noting that during the winter when the runoff occurs, it has the potential to freeze at the intersection of State Highway 361 and Iris Lane and it can make the road there real slick.

"During the winter, it can be really dicey," said Diaz.

When completed, the project will better divert water that runs off frozen fields in the winter months and into town, where it can flood businesses and homes. Essentially, the project will run a culvert all the way down the length of Iris in town — going under the railroad tracks, and Highway 361.

Kym Symons, public works supervisor for Culver, "On the east side, up Iris, there will be an open ditch with catch dams that will catch some silt (that comes with the runoff water)."

The route will then head into the culvert near the highway and continue past the school, under the railroad tracks and out.

The project has been a long time coming for the city, according to McCormack. The first feasibility study that indicated the city needed to do something about excess runoff water is dated 2004.

The project has been tricky in a sense because of how many agencies and entities have to be involved. The land that the pipe runs through doesn't belong to the city, but the line itself is owned by the city. McCormack said the U.S. Department of Agriculture has also been involved in the project since the water is running off agriculture land and into town.

"There are a lot of players to put it together and try to come up with a solution," she said.

Iris is a county road, Highway 361 is a state highway, the school district has allowed an easement for the project, and the railroad and the city will have to work together to get the culvert routed under the tracks.

The project won't be completely finished until the end of October, or possibly in to November, with a round estimate of the total cost being somewhere around $385,000. McCormack said that the number is always apt to change, but that is the number they are currently shooting for.

The Oregon Department of Transportation also contributed $50,000 toward the project.

Unfortunately, according to Symons, the project is going to cause traffic congestion. At one point in the process, for a period of probably three or four days, it will require a total of five flaggers directing traffic at any given time.

Upon completion, there will be several different manholes along that stretch of Iris, so that maintenance workers will be able to have access to the culvert.

McCormack and Diaz agree that the project really has been, and continues to be, a team effort.

"We really appreciate the cooperation we have received from everyone," McCormack said. "The problem came from everyone and the solution came from everyone."

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