Portland residents ‘thankful’ very little flooding

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

PORTLAND, Ind. (WANE)- Upgrades to the city of Portland’s infrastructure and an emergency flood plan may have prevented heavy flooding near the downtown area.

In June of 2015 downtown Portland was under several inches of water for days following heavy rains. Mayor Randy Geesaman says he’s learned from the past.

“Two years ago we  would have already had the downtown draped off and there would have been three or four feet of water,” he said.

Friday the streets were clear. The city has upgraded several of the pipes that carry water away from town. In addition, they have cleared out blocked drains and fixed pipes blocked by debris. The city also got a head start on sandbagging.

Mayor Geesaman said 80 tons of sand bags were distributed and there are still 20 tons ready for people to pick up.

“Before we would wait until after it started raining to do the sand bags,” said Geeseman. “What we accomplished Wednesday night and Thursday is a bunch of sandbagging was already done.”

People in Portland are thankful. The city is usually hit hard by flooding. Those closest to the Salamonie River are at a greater risk. Don Spencer’s rental office sits near the river.

“Very thankful,” said Spencer. “Praise the Lord. I have a lot of rental properties around town so I checked some of the basements and they’re all good shape.”

Mary Adair recently moved to a house near the river. Adair remembers all too well the flood of 2015.

“I’ve only been there for about a month so I’m really nervous,” she said. “In 2015, I walked barefoot through knee deep water to get to work.”

Residents are glad that the city has taken preventative measures.

“It’s easier to pick them up and put them back in storage than it is to at the last minute get a couple thousand,” said Spencer.