Mix sues Ashland over flash flood
Mix Sweet Shop is suing the city of Ashland after water from a flash flood inundated the bakery.
The owners are seeking $156,000 in the lawsuit, which was filed in 2016. The case is scheduled to go to trial April 3, according to Jackson County Circuit Court records.
On July 7, 2015, a summer thunderstorm dumped 1.64 inches of rain, causing a flash flood to roar down the front and back of Mix Sweet Shop and other businesses on the downtown Plaza, according to news reports at the time.
Water rose at least thigh-high behind a retaining wall lining the Calle Guanajuato, a public pedestrian walkway that runs between Plaza businesses and Ashland Creek, according to newspaper accounts.
In its lawsuit, Mix Sweet Shop says, "Storm water accumulated downhill at the bottom of Guanajuato Way due to a wall installed by defendant. The wall, which was constructed between Guanajuato Way and Ashland Creek, acted as an artificial water barrier. A small water drain at the bottom of Guanajuato Way was overburdened and failed to drain water to Ashland Creek."
Mix Sweet Shop says the city failed to place holes or other drainage systems in the wall that would allow water to drain into the creek rather than build up and flood the bakery. It says the city also didn't keep debris cleaned out of existing Calle Guanajuato drainage system pipes and inlets.
The lawsuit alleges the flooding damaged the bakery and its contents and also caused the business to incur additional repair and clean-up costs.
The lawsuit claims Mix Sweet Shop was also flooded by a rain event in 2014 and the city of Ashland was notified of the problem. However, the lawsuit says, the city failed to take action to fix the problem.
In addition to monetary damages, the lawsuit seeks a court order forcing the city of Ashland to fix the wall's drainage problems.
Attorneys representing the bakery and the city of Ashland did not return phone calls requesting comment about the case, including whether the city has since made changes to the wall.
In its written answer to the lawsuit, the city of Ashland says a heavy flash flood from a rainstorm overwhelmed the city's storm drain capacity throughout the area, including along the city-owned Calle Guanajuato.
The city says the bakery was negligent because it stored goods and property in a place where it knew or should have known flash flooding could occasionally occur.
The bakery also failed to take additional steps to divert floodwater, such as using sandbags, and didn't have a metal storm door that could be used immediately in the event of a flash flood, according to the city's response to the lawsuit.
Low-lying Plaza businesses that line Ashland Creek weren't the only buildings impacted by the heavy rainfall, according to newspaper accounts about the deluge.
Water, mud and debris flowed through the hillside Oregon Shakespeare Festival campus, and city crews responded to fallen trees and power line breaks around town, according to newspaper reports.