The information on this webpage is for informational purposes for properties located within or adjacent to the flood plain. Please take the time to read the information below, and if you have further questions, or would like additional information, a variety of contact information has been supplied at the end of this webpage.
FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps
The FEMA Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) were adopted in 1981, updated in 2011, and are currently proposed to be updated effective April 1, 2017.
The FIS and FIRMs are used by federally-regulated lending institutions and determining who must purchase flood insurance and the cost of that insurance, should it be required. In addition the maps are used by city and county officials for floodplain management and permitting purposes.
To determine whether your property is in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain please visit their Map Service Center.
National Flood Insurance Program: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart
2017 FIRM and FIS Update
On February 7, 1017, the Ashland City Council will hold a public hearing to review the revised Flood Insurance Study (FIS), Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM)
The revisions were completed for Jackson County, including the City of Ashland. This revision was prepared by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This revision updates the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) showing the areas that would be inundated by the one percent annual chance flood (Base Flood or 100- year flood).
The floodplain changes reflected in the new FIRM maps only impact properties along Neil Creek along the eastern perimeter of the city. The FIRM floodplain designations for the other regulated creeks within Ashland’s City Limits (Ashland Creek, Bear Creek, Kitchen Creek, Tolman Creek, Cemetery Creek, Clay Creek, Hamilton Creek) are unchanged from those previously adopted in 2011.
The people most directly affected by the issuance of this study are those owning property and/or living in the identified flood hazard areas.
The digital maps will be used by federally-regulated lending institutions and insurance agents in determining who must purchase flood insurance and the cost of that insurance, should it be necessary. In addition, the maps will be used by city and county officials for floodplain management and permitting purposes.
The revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps are also available for review at the Community Development Building located at 51 Winburn Way.
- Planning Staff Report regarding 2017 FEMA map updates
- DRAFT Ordinance adopting the Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Insurance Study
- 2017 FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (large file - 12MB)
- 2017 Flood Insurance Study (large file - 16MB)
- 2017 FEMA 100 year Flood Plain Neil Creek Comparison Map
City of Ashland Adopted Ordinances
The City of Ashland has adopted ordinance pertinent to floodplain development. In addition to the FEMA flood plains the City of Ashland in 1989 adopted their own flood plains for Ashland, Bear and Clay Creeks which provide, in some instances, additional area to the floodplain beyond the FEMA flood plains. The maps below depict the Ashland Flood zone boundaries.
2011 Flood zone comparison maps
The following maps were prepared by the City of Ashland to assist in comparing the 1981 FEMA flood zones the new digital flood plains. This is not an official FEMA FIRM map and should only be used for general identification of the potential impacts of the flood boundary changes. This map is a very large file (8MB) in order to retain sufficient detail for comparative purposes, thus high speed internet access is recommended for download.
Areas not shown in the detail area maps above can be seen in the large format: Citywide Flood Zone Comparison Map (large 9Mb file)
Areas not shown in the detail area maps above can be seen in the large format:
Citywide Flood Zone Comparison Map (large 9Mb file)
Flood Protection Information
The City of
Recent Flooding Events
While some sort of seasonal flood-related damage occurs nearly every year, the flooding and associated landslide events of December 1996 and January 1997 represent the most recent significant flooding. On New Years Eve 1997, prolonged precipitation accompanied by an early snowmelt caused many streams and creeks throughout the Bear Creek watershed to rise to 100-year flood levels, leading to flooding in both urban and rural areas.
Although the 1996/1997 flood represented a large-scale disaster, accounting for 4.5 million in damages, such an event is not unprecedented. In both 1964 and 1974 the flooding caused millions in damage state wide and many Oregonians lost their lives.
Causes of Flooding in the City of
Flooding occurs when weather patterns, geology, and hydrology combine to create conditions where stream waters flow outside of their usual course and ‘overspill’ beyond their banks. In the City of
Flooding is most common from October through April, when storms from the
Riverine, flash, shallow area and urban flooding are the primary flood types that affect the City of Ashland. Riverine or over-bank flooding is the natural process which adds sediment and nutrients to fertile floodplain areas. Flash floods are characterized as a sudden, localized flood of great volume with short duration. Flash floods are typically caused by unusually heavy rain in a semiarid area. These can reach their peak volume in a matter of a few minutes and often carry large loads of mud and rock fragments. Shallow area flooding is best described as when 3 feet or less of water spreads across a broad area where no defined channel exists. Urban flooding results from the conversion of lands from open areas to parking lots and roads, both of which diminish the ability of the land to absorb rainfall.
The City of
Membership within NFIP – and the availability of flood insurance to City of
Federal financial assistance requires the purchase of flood insurance for buildings located within the SFHA – a requirement that affects nearly all mortgages financed through commercial lending institutions. This mandatory requirement stipulates that structural coverage be purchased equal to the amount of the loan, or other financial assistance, for the maximum amount available, which is currently $250,000 for a single family residence. While mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements have been in effect for many years, not all lending institutions required flood insurance in the past. Today, however, most institutions are now requiring the flood insurance purchase, and some are reviewing all mortgage loans to determine whether flood insurance is required and should have been required in the past. Upon refinancing a loan, nearly all lending institutions will enforce the flood insurance requirement. It is the lender’s responsibility to check the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) to determine whether a structure is within the SFHA.
Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement does not apply to loans or financial assistance for items that are not eligible for flood insurance coverage, such as vehicles, business expenses, landscaping and vacant lots. The requirement also does not apply to loans for structure not located in a SFHA, even though a portion of the lot may be within SFHA. Persons located within SFHAs who received disaster assistance after September 23, 1994 for flood losses to real or personal property must purchase and maintain flood insurance coverage, otherwise future disaster assistance will be denied.
Floodplain Understanding and Regulation
Maintaining the flow capacity in streams that cross properties requires cooperation and assistance to prevent flooding and bank erosion. The following are some suggestions and information for understanding the ways that flood plains function and how the City regulates the floodplain in order to protect property and lives, while affording the City of
Do no dump or throw anything into ditches or streams: A plugged channel cannot carry water, and when it rains the excess water must go somewhere. Trash and vegetation dumped into a stream degrades water quality of both the stream itself and its receiving waters, and every piece of trash contributes to flooding. The City of
Debris, trash, loose branches and vegetation: Trash, brush and other debris can impede the flow of water in stream channels. Do not remove vegetation that is actively growing on a stream bank. Streams side vegetation is tightly regulated by local, state and federal regulations. Before undertaking any removal of stream side vegetation, contact the City of Ashland Planning Department at (541) 488-5305 and the Division of State Lands at (503) 378-3805. Please report any observations of clearing of vegetation or trees on stream banks to the City of
Obtain a floodplain development permit and / or building permit, if required: To minimize damage to structures during flood events, the City of Ashland requires all new construction in the flood plain to be anchored against movement of floodwaters, resistant to flood forces, constructed of flood-resistant materials and flood-proofed or elevated so that the first floor of living space, as well as all mechanical services, are at least two foot above the flood elevation. Where no specific elevation exists, new construction must be constructed to the standards described in AMC 18.62.050. Habitable basements are not permitted for new or existing structures or additions within the floodplain corridor. The elevation of the finished lowest habitable floor shall be certified to the City of
Additionally, most other types of development within the floodplain also require a floodplain development permit, such as grading, cut and fill, installation of riprap and other bank stabilization techniques.
Staff is available to make site visits to review flooding problems, drainage and sewer problems. For further information contact the City of
Recognize the natural and beneficial functions of flood plains to help reduce flooding: Flood plains are a natural component of the City of
Reduce risk of damage to homes: Practical and cost-effective methods for reducing or eliminating the risk of flooding are available to property owners whose homes have experience damage from flooding in the past, or may experience damage in the future. Such techniques include elevation of the home, relocating the home to higher ground, flood-proofing and protecting utilities. For further information, contact the City of Ashland Planning Department at (541) 488-5305 and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region X at (425) 487-4600.
During times of flooding, homes that have not been retrofitted can be protected during emergencies by the installation of sandbags. For further information about sandbags and the locations of sites where sandbags are available during flooding, contact the City of
City of Ashland Floodplain Information Services: the City of Ashland can determine the relationship of a particular property to the floodplain, including: 1) whether the property is located within the Special Flood Hazard Area; 2) Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Zone for the property; 3) Base Flood Elevation for property, if available; and 4) whether the property is located within the Floodway. Contact the City of Ashland Planning Department at (541) 488-5305 for further information.
Flood Safety Tips
The City of Ashland Emergency Operations Center has flood warning information available that can be accessed by calling them at (541)552-2490, by tuning into 1700 AM, the Ashland Emergency Radio Frequency or through their website at: Page.asp?NavID=1229. The website includes information about sandbag location (when necessary) and ways to contact and listen to the National Weather Service. People may also call the Jackson County Civil Emergency Hotline at (541) 776-7339.
Following is a list of important considerations that should be followed during times of flooding:
Prepare an evacuation plan: Before floodwaters hit, develop an evacuation plan among all members of a household that includes a meeting place outside of the house, as well as an escape route our to the floodplain and away from floodwaters.
Do not walk through flowing water: Drowning is the number one cause of flood related deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock a person off of their feet. If you walk in standing water use a pole or a stick to ensure that the ground is still there.
Do not drive through flooded areas: More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around road barriers: the road or bridge may be washed out.
Stay away from power lines and electrical wires: The number two cause of flood related deaths after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the City of Ashland Electric Department.
Shut off gas and electricity and move valuable contents to higher ground: Be prepared in advance with a detailed checklist because warning of an impending flood may provide little time for preparation prior to evacuation.
Look out for animals, especially snakes: Small animals that have been flooded from their homes may seek shelter in your. Use a pole or stick to turn things over and to scare off animals.
Look before you walk: After a flood, the ground floors are covered with debris including broken glass and nails. Floor and stairs that have been covered with water can become very slippery.
Be alert for gas leaks: Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns or other open flames unless you know that the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
1) City of Ashland Community Development Department
Phone: (541) 488-5305
2) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Phone: (425) 487-4600
3) Jackson County Emergency Management
Phone: (541) 776-7206
4) Jackson County Public Library - Ashland Branch (Houses floodplain publications and other flood
Phone: (541) 774-6996
5) 1700 AM –
6) Division of State Lands (DSL)
Phone: (503) 378-3805
7) Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)
Phone: (503) 872-5268
8) Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF)
Phone: (503) 945-7200
9) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Phone: (502) 808-4510
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