One man's dam is another man's flood

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Over the weekend, record-breaking rainfall in Oregon left the Lawnridge neighborhood in Springfield a standing water hole.

There was so much water on Lawnridge Avenue that one driver even gave inner tube rides behind his pickup truck.

By Monday, it was clear skies, but Rick Lynch's front yard is still a lake.

"Well, the water was up almost to the bottom of that guard rail," said Lynch on Monday in front of his home on the corner of Lanwnridge Ave. and Bradley Way.

Lynch said the block is no stranger to a little high water from year to year, but never like this.

He asked, "When's it rained last? A day and a half ago?"

"And we still have enough water down there you can't walk through it," he added as he pointed to his front yard, with six inches of standing water.

Lynch said this amount of water hasn't drained because it has nowhere else to go after a neighbor built a dam in his backyard.

"He's built a dam in there, full of concrete," said Lynch, now pointing to concrete blocks stacked inside a drainage ditch.

The make-shift dam was put in by the homeowner at 1555 Hayden Bridge Rd. A fence stands on top of the blocks, and dirt has been piled on top of the blocks. In front of the dam is a pool of water with a Mallard duck swimming in it.

Underneath the bike path that separates Lynch's home from the house with the dam is a drainage system put in by EWEB. Lynch, who has lived in his home since the 1980s, says he's never seen the flooding this high or stick around quite so long.

Resident Jan Cabaniss, who also had flooding over the weekend at her home on Lawnridge Ave., said she has lived on the street for more than 37 years.

"It has never been like this in all these years," said Cabaniss. "I couldn't get out of my driveway for a day because I was afraid my breaks were going to be so wet I wasn't going to be able to stop."
"How do I feel? I'm pissed off," said Lynch.
The owner of the home with the dam called KVAL News with a statement, but did not want his name printed or broadcasted.
He said the dam was built on private property, and that it is his right to divert flood waters from his land. He also said the City of Springfield is to blame for not planning adequate drainage for the neighborhood.
"The people that live down on Hayden Bridge are probably happy too because they don't have water coming into their back yard anymore," said Lynch as he walked away from the dam. "So, three people win and 30 people lose. I guess that's fairfor him."
" I would like to see it where this street is just like any other street," he added, "it rains and the water drains away. Plain and simple."
Springfield City community services manager Jackie Murdock said they just heard about this problem on Monday. She said maintenance crews are looking into any possible land use or building code violations.