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Fixing Bend's Flash Flooding Problem

Published On: Jan 19 2012 07:49:14 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 20 2012 11:42:01 AM CST
BEND,Ore. -

Flooding and huge puddles are taking over the streets of Bend as rain falls on top of the melting snow.

But at what point do drivers have to worry about what the water could do to their car?

And is the city doing anything about flooding that happens nearly every time it rains heavily, as in summer thunderstorms, or Wednesday's snow followed by rain?

Wednesday's snowy, then soggy weather had water gurgling up and out of storm drains and trucks practically swam through intersections.

It rained for hours on end Wednesday, and it collected in huge puddles because it really had nowhere to go, but it became a real threat for drivers in those underpasses.

Crews shut down the Franklin and Third street underpasses so they could pump out the water Wednesday afternoon.

But by Thursday morning, the flooding returned, as it seems to every time we get heavy rain in Bend.

Mechanics say running your car through high water could cost you big time.

"If you do ingest water into your engine, it could blow up your engine and it would be a few thousand dollars, plus labor and days without your car," said Chris Fouts, the master diagnostic technician for Toyota Scion of Bend.

So who's to blame besides Mother Nature?

Some drivers are taking aim at the city.

"The city should do something to make a better drain system, especially in the area where it does flood," said Bend resident Bob Beggs.

Which for the past few days, seemed to be just about everywhere.

Bend Assistant City Engineer Jeff England told NewsChannel 21, he knows and understands the high water triggers doubt our tax dollars are being put to good use.

"They say, 'Gee I wonder what's going on with that, I wonder whether somebody is looking at that and somebody is working on fixing that situation,'" England said. "And the answer is, yes, we are."

A little more about that plan the city has.

England says they are 60 percent through the design phase for an automatic pump to be installed underneath the Third Street underpass.

In the next few weeks, the city will talk with area businesses and homeowners about detours during construction, which is expected to begin next fall.

The fix will only be for the Third Street underpass, England says a fix for the Franklin Avenue underpass will take more money and time.


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