Pendleton, Oregon - The Bureau of Reclamation reported the inflow is dropping and the rate is currently at 1500 cfs from McKay Dam. The goal is to reach a rate of 1200 cfs by Wednesday, through a gradual decrease.
The State Fire Marshal returned the command back to local authorities this afternoon. Both City of Pendleton and Umatilla County will continue to work in partnership as we transition into recovery stage.
Struve Bridge at Kirk Ext. in the City of Pendleton, has been opened for resident access.
The water levels are flowing freely below the private bridge located near the City of Pendleton Wastewater Treatment Plant.
It is still recommended sandbags remain in place for the time being.
The community meeting is still scheduled at Sherwood school located at 3235 SW Nye Avenue, Pendleton, tomorrow, Wednesday, April 17 at 6:00 pm pertaining to the situation on McKay Creek. The main purpose of this meeting is to provide information to the community members being affected along McKay Creek. Representatives from agencies involved will be present to provide information pertaining to the flooding.
The Bureau of Reclamation has provided the following informational statement:
McKay reservoir is authorized primarily for irrigation purposes, with a limited amount of storage for flood control purposes. This spring, with the much higher than average snowpack, McKay reservoir was kept below the normal full capacity to capture increased runoff, in addition to forecasting with the best available historical knowledge of past spring storms.
Two back-to-back rain events in the McKay Creek watershed produced unprecedented precipitation totals. The over 3 inches of rain produced by rain events is well above the monthly average total for the entire month of April. These storms generated more runoff than was available in the remaining storage of reservoir for flood purposes while keeping outflows within the downstream safe channel capacity for the community of Pendleton downstream.
An interagency team was established to collaboratively make decisions on increasing releases. The team comprises Reclamation officials, the Umatilla County Sheriff, Umatilla County officials, the City of Pendleton, NOAA Northwest River Forecast Center and the National Weather Service. This interagency team has met regularly to receive updates on changing conditions and forecasts that inform timely and accurate decisions on operations.
McKay Dam reservoir operations captured the unprecedented high inflows, which were over 900 cubic feet per second higher than the highest outflows, all to minimize downstream impacts to the community while best preparing for the continued pattern of predicted high flow events upstream.