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Building with floods in mind

A creek runs in one end of Bob Taylor's basement and out the other, thanks to the latest in flood-friendly building codes

Bob Taylor wasn't worried when the floodwaters from Little Butte Creek raced into his Eagle Point house last Friday.

The water flows in here and flows out there, he said, pointing to specially designed louvers that automatically open in the basement to let the water out. The good news is that it works.

While 67-year-old Taylor planned for a flood that could rise as high as 5&

189; feet into his basement, he didn't expect it too happen while the house was under construction.

Taylor, who is building a subdivision on Shasta Avenue near Highway 62, was busy scooping up the mud that had settled in the basement. He said it didn't really bother him, but, surveying the mud, he added, Ask me at the end of the day.

The 2,050-square-foot house, which sits about 20 feet from the edge of the fast-flowing creek, was designed with the latest building codes in mind.

— Dale Bohannan, an Eagle Point building official, said the city follows federal floodplain guidelines as part of its building requirements.

He said buildings can't be constructed in the normal stream channel, which is defined as the floodway. However, homes can be built in the floodplain as long as the finished floor area is built above the highest water level.

We get questions about this all the time, he said.

Bohannan said Taylor used materials designed for complete water submersion. The footings for the foundation are also built to withstand a flood, he said.

He said many homes built in floodplains have an open area underneath the building to allow the water to flow unimpeded.

Even though homes can be built in the floodplain, he said, We can't guarantee it won't get flooded.

Taylor, who plans to use the basement area for storage, said he also plans to build a retaining wall along the creek that should also help keep floodwaters away.

Taylor said he wasn't worried about any prospective buyers looking askance at the just-flooded property, saying, You're looking at the owner.

Building with floods in mind"dmann@mailtribune.com.

Bob Taylor?s new home on Little Butte Creek was designed with flooding in mind. Louvers visible behind the wheelbarrow allow floodwater to pass through the basement. But it?s up to Taylor to shovel out the muck that?s left behind. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell