City moves to finalize preliminary FEMA floodplain map

May 26 - At last Monday’s City Council meeting, two agenda items received significant discussion: the FEMA Floodplain Map Update and a presentation on a new lobbying organization focused on addressing the impact of state policies on small rural cities’ priorities.

FEMA Floodplain Map Update

City Planner Eric Mongan was praised for his extensive efforts to protect the economic interest of local property owners as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) moves forward in finalizing its preliminary Central Lane County floodplain map. FEMA provides the flood hazard data to support the National Flood Insurance Program. The information identifies the level of flood risk and type of flooding.

Lane County and the cities of Cottage Grove, Creswell, Eugene and Springfield are part of FEMA’s update to the current 1999 Central Lane County floodplain map.

Properties within the floodplain that have a federally-backed mortgage are required to carry flood insurance, which can be as much as $400 per month. Other private mortgage lenders may also make this requirement. The preliminary map adds 710 properties into the high risk zone that includes the Frontier Mobile Home Park and the Village Shopping Center. Any significant improvements to properties within this zone would require the property to be elevated at great expense or if heavily damaged it could not be rebuilt.

The City sought assistance from Branch Engineering and West Consultants to generate data to challenge FEMA’s assumptions that expand the high risk zone within the city limits.

We’ve put forward our best strategy that includes equity, economic hardship and science,” Mongan said. If we are successful in our discussions with FEMA staff, our best hope is to reduce the proposed 710 new properties down to 250 structures.”

Small Municipalities Advocacy Coalition (SMAC) Presentation

At the invitation of Mayor Candace Solesbee, Brownsville City Administrator Scott McDowell and Sean Tate, owner of Tate Public Affairs, introduced a new organization dedicated to lobbying state legislators from the perspective of small town officials. Currently six Linn County cities have joined the organization.

The League of Oregon Cities (LOC) represents the interests of all of Oregon’s 240 incorporated cities. McDowell said, “LOC lobbyists are caught between the state’s rural/urban divide when providing testimony on bills that have impacts on all municipalities. Too often the large cities overshadow or compete with small town priorities.”

In other council business…

The City accepted a $6,000 grant from the State Historical Preservation Office earmarked to hire a consultant to conduct a marketing analysis of the Downtown Historic District.

The City transferred its fiscal responsibility to Lane Transit District to manage ODOT grants and the assets of South Lane Wheels.

The Council approved the Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) for Pine Springs, LLC to redevelop the Village Green Resort property to build 121 residential units.

The City’s Urban Forestry Committee Chair Reilly Newman offered her annual “State of the Trees Address” and updated the council on the committee’s 2022 accomplishments and its future plans.

The Council appointed Mayor Solesbee to join Councilors Jon Stinnett and Greg Ervin to interview three candidates applying for vacancies on the City’s Historic Preservation Commission.

Mayor Solesbee invited council members to attend the Memorial Day Community Observance on Monday, May 29, at 11 am at the Cottage Grove Armory.



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