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Village of Oregon addresses flood concerns in forum

OREGON (WKOW) — In Oregon, chronic, persistent flooding has been a concern for years, hitting its peak in the past two years.

For Todd and Michelle Wieser, it’s been an issue since 2008.

“Our sump pump runs every 30 seconds,” Todd said.

They live off of Park St. on the east side of the village and as one of the lower-lying homes in their neighborhood, Michelle said they have a problem every time it rains.

“Two-thirds of our yard or more is completely filled with a good eight to 12 inches of water,” she said. “We have no clue what else we can do.”

According to the village public works director, Jeff Rau, there are problem areas across the village. We’ve covered similar issues on Jefferson St. just west of downtown and seen some of the highest water around Lake Barney on the border of Oregon and Fitchburg.

“This is a problem we’re experiencing in Dane County and even regionally in the state,” Rau said.

He put together a panel Monday night to address those concerns village-wide. The panel included public works officials and engineers from Oregon, Fitchburg and Dane County as well as 27 Storm Track Chief Meteorologist Bob Lindmeier.

Lindmeier explained the impact of the past several years of heavy rainfall. He said the trend of heavy precipitation has brought the groundwater table up across the area. Lindmeier predicts that trend will continue, making Oregon’s flood concerns the new normal.

Rau said that’s why the village has begun work to find a solution.

“We’re actually dedicating quite a bit of funds both in our current budget and in our future budget in rectifying some of these problems,” he said.

Rau said they’ve already started some of those solutions. The village dredged the Badfish Creek to get water moving through the Jefferson St. area faster and Fitchburg and Oregon are working together to research a way to lower the level of Lake Barney without causing more flooding in the village.

Still for those like the Wiesers, it’s hard to remain patient.

“I think they’re looking at the bigger picture, which is terrific for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren but right now it’s not helping me,” Michelle said.

During the forum, Michelle expressed frustration about neighbors pumping their sump pump water into her yard. She suggested an ordinance regulating where you can pump, as a possible solution.

Rau said he would try to get one passed in the next two years.

Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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