MAPLETON, OR - Located in the unincorporated coastal region of Lane County along the Siuslaw River, Mapleron has experienced flooding most recently in December 1997. This logging town has been subject to recurring floods throughout its history. The Siuslaw River valley is narrow, with steep mountains that rise up directly from the floodplain. The coastal range mountains are famous for their high rainfall and unstable soils, both factors that contribute to recurring flood events. The State climatologist has indicated that the area is entering into a cycle of wet years, which will ensure the continued impacts to the community if no action is taken. In February 1996, the rapid rise in the Siuslaw River and heavy rain caused numerous problems in Lane County, including landslides and heavy flooding.
In August 1997, Lane County decided to mitigate the recurring damages caused by the heavy rains and flooding in Mapleton. The objective of this project was to mitigate damage to structures in future flood events by elevating 20 structures above the base flood elevation.
On December 28, 1998, after the first phase of elevations was complete, the river came knocking at their doors, but it never found its way in for the residents who participated in the elevation projects. The Siuslaw at Mapleton was more than 9 feet above flood stage. This time, the residents who raised their homes escaped with minimal damage. The December 1998 flood was a 25-year flood. Thus far, the project saved over $900,000 in avoided damages for the residents in Lane County.
Standard Homeowner's insurance policies do not cover flood damage. The National Flood Insurance Program makes Federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in participating communities.