Portland bracing for heavy rains, flooding

The City of Portland is starting to fill sandbags as it prepares for the potential of flooding.

PORTLAND, Ind. (WANE) The City of Portland is hoping its upgrades to infrastructure and advance planning will prevent flooding like it saw two years ago.

In June of 2015 downtown Portland was under several inches of water for days following heavy rains. Since then Mayor Randy Geesaman said they’ve been taking steps to prevent that from happening again. First, they upgraded several of the pipes that carry water away from town.

“We’ve taken that 18 inch line and made it a 42 inch, so instead of a restriction we’ve actually let the flow get away more,” Geesaman said.

He said  they’ve also been clearing out blocked drains and fixing pipes blocked by debris.

After the extreme flooding in 2015 the city of Portland received a flood response planning grant. Through that, city leaders have learned what to do before the rain ever comes. For example, Geesaman said they’ve learned that wrapping the buildings in plastic before putting up sandbags helps prevent more water from getting in. They’ve also learned that they can pinpoint problem areas through the National Weather Service.

Taking what they’ve learned from two years ago and the improvements made, all are hoping to avoid a situation like the June 2015 flooding.

“You can’t beat mother nature, but what we think we’ve implemented has a much better chance to get away quicker and faster now than it had beforehand because of some of the measures we put in,” Geesaman said.

The city is also looking for volunteers to help fill more of those sandbags.

“If we all work together we’ll get through this whether it’s bad, whether it’s good. Let’s hope for the best,” Geesaman said.