By NR Staff • 

Floodway issue resolved

Now that map lines have been redrawn, moving the floodway of the South Yamhill River to accommodate a Riverbend Landfill berm erected in 1981, Yamhill County is no longer in violation of federal rules prohibiting development in floodways, according to a letter the county received Tuesday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In a bizarre example of bureaucratic tangles, FEMA was involved in both redrawing the map and in pursuing the violation — simultanenously.

More than 30 years ago, a berm to contain Riverbend Landfill was constructed alongside, and partially in the floodway of the South Yamhill River. According to the county, it was relying on a floodway determination made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which decades later was found to conflict with FEMA’s floodway determination.

The county was frustrated that FEMA failed to notice the problem for 32 years, then moved to find the county in violation six days before granting a map revision the county had requested to resolve the issue.

The map revision “addresses FEMA’s concern and resolves any potential violation,” according to Mark Riebau, chief of FEMA’s flood plain management and insurance branch. So the violation will no longer be pursued.

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