The Sauvie Island Drainage Improvement Company has just launched its website at http://www.sidrainage.org.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this island organization, we thought this would be a great opportunity to tell you more about it.
First, a bit of history. According to Omar C. Spenser’s The Story of Sauvies Island, the passage of the Federal government’s Flood Control Act of 1936 marked a major change for agriculture and land use on the island. The new law allocated $1,364,900 to build a 32-foot dike around 11,171 acres of agriculturally sound land on the southern half of the island. The dike, which the Army Corp of Engineers began in 1938 and completed in 1941, was not without cost to landowners. Among other things, they would have to organize a drainage district to assess and collect taxes from property owners, ensure right-of-ways, and maintain the dike once it was constructed. Farming methods would also change. Protected from the soggy effects of seasonal rains and annual snow melts, the island’s wild pastureland was transformed into solid ground for tractor use, cultivating domestic row crops and paving roads.
In 1995, the original Sauvie Island Drainage District was reorganized as an Oregon nonprofit corporation now known as the Sauvie Island Drainage Improvement Company. It is responsible for managing and maintaining the 18 miles of levee and more than 30 miles of canals and ditches used to drain excess water from inside the district. In addition, the company operates five pumping facilities, with a main pumping plant built in 1941 that uses four high-voltage 250- to 300-horsepower pumps. These pumps have the capability to discharge 125,000 gallons of water per minute from inside the district into the Multnomah Channel. Every year the Army Corps of Engineers performs annual an inspection to be sure the levee system is operating within its guidelines and restrictions.
The Sauvie Island Drainage Improvement Company is funded by assessments on all property owners within the district, based on elevation and acreage they own. It is managed by a three-member Board of Directors, and each director serves a three-year term. Any property owner in the district is eligible to run for the board of directors. Current board members are David Fazio, Bob Egger and Mark Hepner. The board meets on the second Tuesday of each month and holds an annual meeting in October. Day-to-day operations of the district are overseen by District Manager Tim Couch, who reports to the board.
For questions or more information, contact Tim Couch, District Manager, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 503-621-3397.