Stormwater issues in Fitchburg/Oregon

John Brown, Town of Oregon resident who lives just south of the City of Fitchburg boundary, sits in what’s left of his basement. A rising water table forced him to take action last fall, when he filled the basement with around four feet of concrete to prevent water from collecting. His basement, previously a height of a little more than eight feet, has been reduced to around four.

Flooding has gotten so bad that when Tom Thayer purchased his home in the 1980s, it was half a mile from Lake Barney. If you look to the south while traveling on County Hwy. M, you can see the flood barriers and water pumps now keeping the water at bay, stopping it from completely encroaching on his property.

Across the street, John Freiburger has seen almost two dozen of his pre-Revolutionary War hickory trees die; drowned as the water table has risen. A quarter of the land in his fields wasn’t able to be planted because of sitting water.

A few miles to the northwest, the city opened the Fitchrona-Nesbitt roads roundabout in early October, but travelers couldn’t fully use it because Fitchrona Road near Goose Lake was closed due to high water.

It’s not the first time Fitchrona Road has been closed in the past two years because of high water. The increase in precipitation has resulted in multiple closures in 2018 and 2019.

These are just two examples of water issues in the city, and there are plenty more throughout the rest of the nearby rural areas.

– Kimberly Wethal