A level-one pre-evacuation notice for Canyon Creek between Grant Union High School and the Nugget Street Bridge is still in effect, according to Emergency Management Coordinator Ted Williams.
The level-one notice advises residents in the area to be aware of the danger and monitor local media for information. Residents should take note and make preparations for relocating if needed. The National Weather Service is predicting a chance of showers for the rest of the week, but has not re-issued a flood watch.
The Inland and Nugget Street bridges are still closed, and local officials are keeping an eye on high water levels in the area. Canyon Creek was running at roughly 750 cubic feet per second on Tuesday morning, Williams said. He predicts the creek could escape its banks at 850 to 900 cubic feet per second, though he admitted working with the new berms put in place around the creek is a learning experience.
There has been some erosion of the banks below the Inland Street Bridge, but they are holding. Williams is most concerned about the area between the bridges and high school and anticipates high water levels throughout the week. He reported, because of the raised water table, water was leaking into the high school’s basement.
Driskill Memorial Chapel also reported having 4-6 inches of water in the business basement. An employee said it was not affecting operations, and they were pumping the water out.
“We’re just waiting for mother nature to make its next move so we know what to do,” Williams said.
County and city officials are ready with sand bags and heavy equipment in the event of increased flows or a log jam, which could cause the creek to flood its banks. They are setting up eco block barriers to contain water should it rise, according to Williams.
Flooding has become a prominent concern for Canyon City and John Day residents following the Canyon Creek Complex fire in 2015. A lack of vegetation in the burned area allows rain and snow-melt to quickly descend into populated areas.
“We have no control,” Canyon City Public Works Director Les Percy said. “We just have to take it as it comes.”