Portland rainstorm leaves big mess on streets, sidewalks, businesses

Storm water flows into the dining room of Stammtisch in Northeast Portland on Wednesday. (Contributed Photo)

Signs of flooding lined the streets of Northeast Flanders and 28th Thursday afternoon, serving as a reminder of torrential rain that fell Wednesday night.

During the dinner hour, rain started coming down fast all across Portland.

Graham Chaney is the head chef at Stammtisch. He says they deal with a little flooding every year, but last night was different.

“What’s different about this one was the speed that it came up and the level it came up. We have never seen it nearly as high,” Chaney said.

Not only did it cross the threshold of the restaurant, it filled the dining room.

“I would say it was a solid foot, foot and half, inside the building,” Chaney said.

Across the street, a similar situation. Chaney snapped a photo of a man knee deep in water.

Portland Bureau of Transportation says the city's drainage system couldn’t keep up with the amount of rain falling.

“There was a lot of rain in a short amount of time. That’s the activity that can really overwhelm the system,” PBOT Spokesperson Dylan Rivera said.

Making matters worse, there are more storm drains than manpower.

“There are about 50,000 of them and 300 of us, so we are heavily outnumbered,” Rivera said.

That's why residents and restaurants like Stammtisch pitch in to help out and prepare, just in case.

“We will make sure to sweep leaves off the drains and make sure we have sandbags set up, but this just was not usual,” Chaney said.

Rivera says after a storm is an important time to clean the storm drains in preparation for the next rainfall. He says you should never lift the grate. If you can’t get debris, call PBOT.

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