New plan cuts flood insurance costs

Don’t wait until Johnson Creek floods again! Read this now; the deadline to apply for this program is July 5 …

Speaking with experts, Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert residents learn how to lower the flood insurance costs for their outer East Portland homes.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A new program from the Portland Housing Bureau can help reduce long-term flood insurance costs for residents located in the Lents or Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhoods that fall within the Johnson Creek 100-year floodplain.

That’s what participants learned at a workshop held at Earl Boyles Elementary School in a June 3 meeting.

Portland Housing Bureau’s Jacob Sherman and Enhabit CEO Tim Miller show a map of the affected area to be covered by the new program.

“Homes that qualify could get a free ‘Elevation Certificate’, proving their home’s exact elevation, which could save the homeowner hundreds of dollars in flood insurance costs over the next few years,” explained Portland Housing Bureau Lents Stabilization and Job Creation Collaborative City Lead Jacob Sherman at the event.

“This means that the program will send a professional licensed land surveyor to accurately determine the actual risk of the home for flooding,” Sherman told East Portland News.

However, it’s important for homeowners to apply by the cutoff date – July 5.

Exhibitors from Green Lents, telling how homeowners can borrow tools to make repairs and upgrades, are Tool Library Coordinator Spencer Ward – and Ty Wilkins, a Portland State University student, and Green Lents intern.

“At the same time, Enhabit, our project partner, will be offering free home audits, looking for repairs and other improvements that could be made to improve the safety of the home, as well as make it more resistant and resilient to flooding,” Sherman said.

Flood insurance rates are set by Congress; but because FEMA is nearly $25 billion over budget, a homeowner paying $1,400 a year now may be charged double that amount within five years, warned Sherman.

State representative Jeff Reardon (D) extols the “Elevation Certificate” program.

“We’re really concerned that increase might cause a homeowner to be displaced from the residence where they’ve lived for years; especially someone on a fixed income, or a low to moderate income homeowner,” he added.

Free is a very good price for an “Elevation Certificate”, for which professional surveyors typically charge about $1,300.

To find out more, and sign up, visit this webpage at Enhabit’s site: CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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