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City says Bureau of Reclamation needs to step up

Flood damage to the flow of McKay Creek through Community Park is pictured in this photo by Don Ferguson.

PENDLETON, Oregon – The city of Pendleton, Umatilla County, property owners and officials from the Bureau of Reclamation continue the discussions about the McKay Creek Flood and how similar events could be prevented. City Manager Robb Corbett says the Bureau of Reclamation needs to make changes to the equipment it uses to determine outflows.

“Some of the measuring instruments at certain levels don’t operate as they should,” Corbett said. “Some of the other measurements, like rainfall – there’s not enough of them.”

Corbett said that there have been three significant floods on lower McKay Creek in the last 30 years, and as far as he’s concerned, that’s too many. He wants the Bureau of Reclamation to address the stream bed itself, especially after changes to the flow have been made during this latest flood.

The concern about changes to the stream bed were dramatized by a dam that built up in Pendleton Community Park during the flood. The city received special permission to deal with the new, flood-made dam.

“We actually ended up excavating 200 cubic yards immediately after the flood out of concern that we might see another event in the remaining months,” Corbett said. “And, in fact, we did.”

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