Lake Oswego Flood Zone Changes

Lakefront property owners in Lake Oswego are pretty comfortable overall with the knowledge that the lake is managed and dammed, and so concerns regarding rising water during heavy rains etc are not prevalent. The lake is owned and managed by the Lake Oswego Corporation (LOC), a local entity to which lakefront residents establish membership and pay dues. Every few years the lake is drained for a few months to allow residents to clean and repair boat docks along the lake and canals, and generally speaking, it is understood that the lake is a controlled body of water. Even so, in the flood of 1996, water did spill over in some areas because it was not able to be released quickly enough at the dam to compensate for the heavy inflow.

FEMA recently completed a study of the Lake Oswego area and has determined that it will change the flood zone designation for properties on the lake, as well as properties surrounding the canals, Tualatin River, and Spring Creek. The maps for the 100-year flood zone have been altered, and are available for viewing at The city’s website states: “Text amendments are intended to comply with FEMA’s regulations so that the City can retain eligibility for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.”

Lake Oswego must be compliant with FEMA’s requirements in order for Lake Oswego residents to be able to take advantage of their flood insurance policies in the event of a natural disaster. Lake Oswego property owners, especially those near the lake, would be well advised to double-check their property’s location on these new maps and its relation to the new flood zones, as they may be required to carry flood insurance now, even though that was not the case when the property was purchased.

According to Kelley Woodwick at Chicago Title, there is good news for sellers, in that flood insurance contracts may be transferred to new buyers at grandfathered rates and zones. Again, check the city’s new maps before June 18th to acquire information on the grandfathered areas… after the 18th, I am told that the information will most likely be removed from the website.

There are also new regulations resulting, including elevation requirements for remodeling and new construction. Significant remodeling jobs now require that the structure be at 104.5 ft elevation as compared to the old standard of 103.5 ft. New construction after June 18, 2008 will also be required to meet a 104.5 ft elevation requirement.

Checking with the City of Lake Oswego is always a good idea, and much information can be found at their website (above). Stay informed, stay protected, and stay dry!