Press Releases

New floodplain map simplifies data search


ROSEBURG -- Searching for floodplain information and documents has just gotten easier in Roseburg.

The Roseburg Community Development Department has created a new, interactive Floodplain Information Map that can be found on the City’s website.

Property owners, homebuyers, realtors and insurance agents can use the map to find floodplain-related documents needed for property sales and flood insurance purposes for properties in or near flood zones.

The documents had already been available on the City website. However, locating those important documents and data online is now faster and simpler, thanks to an interactive web map that uses cloud-based geographic information system mapping software from Esri called ArcGIS Online.

“We knew it could be utilized a lot better by putting it into a mapping system,” said Community Development Department Director Stuart Cowie.

The purpose of Roseburg’s Floodplain Information Map is to provide floodplain documents -- such as elevation certificates and letters of map amendments -- for existing houses or other buildings.

Elevation certificates are used to get flood insurance and to show a building in a special flood hazard area (where flood insurance is required for federally backed mortgages) is properly elevated above the base flood elevation, or the regulatory-standard level that flood water could rise in a “base flood,” which is sometimes referred to as a “100-year flood” but for which there is a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any year.

Users now have two ways to find floodplain documents: By typing a street address into the map’s search window or clicking on the document icon located directly on the map.

Previously, members of the public could find those documents on the City website. But without the cloud-based mapping software, the process could be time consuming. Properties were found by first locating a street name, and then scrolling through the list of addresses on that street.

The new feature, which can be found on the Community Development Department webpage, contains a color-coded map of Roseburg and its floodplain, or the area prone to flooding during heavy rain or snowmelt, along with numerous high- or moderate-risk flood zones in yellow or light blue along the South Umpqua River and creeks such as Deer and Newton. The map also shows pink “floodway” areas where moving floodwaters would be expected to discharge or flow.

The webpage includes key-term explanations, links to online floodplain documents for property parcels, and features that users can turn on or off, such as color-coded floodway or floodplain-risk areas and city limit boundaries.

The Community Development Department hired RARE AmeriCorps member Kate Bentz to work for a year as a long-range planning assistant so she could tackle this and similar projects. Bentz, who grew up in Scio in rural Linn County, learned about geographic information system software while earning her bachelor of arts in planning, public policy and management from the University of Oregon. She gained experience working with ESRI’s ArcGIS software during an internship at the UO Location Innovation Lab.

Bentz reworked the City’s Floodplain Information webpage, which also contains a link to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program that provides flood insurance information to property owners, renters and businesses. She set up an ArcGIS map of Roseburg and its parcels and matched relevant floodplain documents to the city’s parcel data using the ArcGIS program.

The map also provides links to “letters of map amendments,” which were produced by surveyors hired by property owners who did not agree with an existing elevation certificate’s data listing the parcel as located within a floodplain.

“We hope this map can be a successful tool for realtors, insurance agents and the general public searching for important floodplain documents on specific properties within Roseburg,” Cowie said.

For more information, contact the Roseburg Community Development Department at or 541-492-6750.

Posted by RoseburgAdmin