City to aid Lents, Powellhurst-Gilbert homeowners jeopardized by spiking flood insurance prices
The Portland Housing Bureau is piloting a new Flood Insurance Savings Program to help Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood residents withstand spiking flood insurance prices that some fear could price people out of their homes.
An estimated 630 homeowners in Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert lie in the 100-year floodplain of Johnson Creek, meaning there is a 1 percent chance each year their home could get flooded by raging waters of the creek. Those are two of Portland's lowest-income neighborhoods.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the nation's flood insurance fund was in the hole. So Congress mandated, in 2012 and 2014, that homeowners across the country pay yearly rate hikes of up to 18 percent, which are expected to last for several years.
One affected Lents resident interviewed by the Portland Tribune last year was Chris Taylor, a 77-year-old widow living on $2,000 a month fixed income. She had to use her credit card to pay her 2016 flood insurance tab of $1,400, and the bill was expected to jump to $3,200 a year by 2020.
The new Portland Housing Bureau program, which launched this month, will help a limited number of low- and moderate-income homeowners reduce their flood hazard insurance premiums, as well as identify opportunities to make home improvements that increase their resiliency in case of floods.
Applications for the new program are due July 5. To apply, check www.enhabit.org/flood.
503.823.2373, or visit www.portlandoregon.gov/phb/floodplain.
For a past Portland Tribune article on the issue, see: portlandtribune.com/sl/332996-212856-an-end-to-lents-flooding