Levee improvements could save Ore. town money

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MILTON-FREEWATER, Ore. (AP) -- The levee system along the Walla Walla River is badly in need of repair in one Eastern Oregon town, costing homeowners a flood insurance premium until the system is fixed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stopped certifying the levee system near Milton-Freewater, Ore., in 2007. The corps said it discovered damage during inspections that rendered the levee unusable.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency then redrew flood maps as if no levee were in place. Homeowners were forced to buy flood insurance.

The East Oregonian reports voters approved a $2.85 million bond in November to pay for improvement. Project managers say the bond's cost to individual property owners is less than the premium for flood insurance.

The work -- and new FEMA maps -- are expected by next summer.

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Information from: East Oregonian, http://www.eastoregonian.info