New Story Collection – Life Along the Columbia: Stories from Behind the Levees

"We are all thinking about how we can reduce flood risk while also being in tune with our environment and our community, and maybe learning how to live with a certain amount of risk as well." Quote from Brian Eberhardt, MCDD
Community members share perspectives from life in the Columbia South Shore floodplain. Courtesy MCDD.

New Story Collection – Life Along the Columbia: Stories from Behind the Levees

While it’s been more than 70 years since floodwaters surged over Vanport and inundated homes and businesses across the south shore of the Columbia, flood risk in north Portland is by no means a thing of the past. Today, development in north Portland—include on the former site of Vanport—is protected by a system of levees carefully designed and maintained by the Multnomah County Drainage District (MCDD).

These levees control water levels, channel flows through waterways like the Columbia Slough, and help keep events like the Flood of 1948 from recurring. But they also shape life for a diverse community of people who live, work, and recreate in the Columbia Slough floodplain. This fall, MCDD is coordinating with FEMA Region 10 to share some of these people’s stories in a collection called Life Along the Columbia: Stories from Behind the Levees (English) or Historias De La Vida A Lo Largo Del Río Columbia (Spanish). The collection was recorded during the Annual Columbia Slough Watershed Council’s Regatta in August 2019 and features 8 stories, told in a mix of English and Spanish. Check them out here!