Floodplain Development

​Prior to construction, development, or change of use activity within the floodplain or Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you must obtain a floodplain development permit from the City. The goal of this process is to help reduce risks to people and property in areas that are subject to flooding.

​Get a permit

Please contact us to determine if you need a floodplain development permit as well as what documentation or information is required for issuance of the permit. At a minimum, you will need to provide:

  • a description of the work to be covered by the permit
  • plans drawn to scale showing the nature, location, dimensions, and elevations of the area
  • a list of existing or proposed structures
  • information about fill, storage materials, and drainage facilities
  • the location of the activity

These permits do not require a formal application form and can be submitted electronically to a floodplain manager or in person at the Public Works permit office.

Approved activities without a permit

Common activities that do not require a floodplain development permit include:

  • minor landscaping
  • minor repairs or modification of existing structures for which no building permit is required
  • residential accessory uses such as lawns, gardens, parking areas, driveways, and play areas
  • paved areas that do not require grading or fill

Definitions

To determine building requirements for new or substantially improved structures in the floodplain, it is important to understand the definitions of some terms used for floodplain management purposes.

  • Structure or building - a walled and roofed building, including a gas or liquid storage tank, that is principally above ground, as well as a manufactured home. It does not include open pavilions, bleachers, carports and similar structures that do not have at least two rigid walls and a roof.
  • Substantial improvement - any repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, replacement, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement. This term also includes structures which have incurred substantial damage.
  • Substantial damage - damage sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its condition immediately prior to the damage would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

Requirements for structures

To minimize damage to structures during flood events, the City requires all new and substantially improved structures in the floodplain to be anchored against movement by floodwaters, be resistant to flood forces, and to be constructed with flood resistant materials. In addition, new structures and substantial improvements to existing structures must be elevated so that the lowest floor (including the basement) is at least one foot above the base flood elevation. All electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and other service facilities shall be elevated to the base flood elevation or higher. This can be done in one of the following ways:

  • Elevation on fill
  • Elevation on piles, posts, piers, or columns
  • Elevation on walls or a crawlspace
  • Dry floodproofing for any non-residential structure

Builders should work closely with a registered professional land surveyor, engineer, or architect authorized by law to certify elevation information. It is helpful to involve your survey professional early in the planning stages of a project so that minimum required elevations can be marked on-site. An elevation certificate will be required prior to permit issuance or scheduling a foundation inspection. You will also need to provide an elevation certificate after completion of the proposed structure.

To review Salem's floodplain regulations please view the Salem Revised Code Chapter 601

Questions or concerns

If you have concerns about construction activity or structures being erected in the floodplain without a permit, you can file a complaint about building construction and a floodplain manager will investigate the concern.

Contact us

Public Works Department
Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 325
Salem OR 97301
Phone: 

​Additional resources

  
Phone Number
  
  
City of Salem, Community Development, Planning
503‑588‑6256
Tree Trimming or Removal PermitCity Planners can provide information about protection of vegetation and trees along waterways and tree removal.
City of Salem, Emergency Preparedness
503‑588‑6211
Emergency and Disaster PreparednessFor assistance in an emergency, call 911. Contact us to learn more about preparing for a disaster or for information on the City's emergency management program.
City of Salem, Public Library
503‑588‑6052
Salem Public Library WebsiteThe library collection contains floodplain publications and other floodplain-related information.
City of Salem, Public Works Dispatch
503‑588‑6333
Call dispatch if you discover problems with a street or your water / sewer service (i.e. broken pipe, pothole, environmental spill, clogged street drain).
City of Salem, Public Works, Development Services
503‑588‑6211
Contact Development Services to speak with a Floodplain Manager or if you have questions about the interactive floodplain map.
Mid Willamette Valley High Water Watch
503-588-6333
Mid Willamette Valley High Water WatchView current stream levels and rainfall data in near real-time from a number of sites across the City.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
1‑888‑379‑9531
Floodsmart WebsiteThe Floodsmart website provides information about the National Flood Insurance Program, answers questions about flood insurance, and provides assistance to find local insurance agents that offer flood insurance.
Oregon Division of State Lands (DSL)
503‑378‑3805
Oregon Division of State Lands WebsiteDSL reviews and issues removal/fill permits for development activities in waterways and wetlands.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
503‑808‑4510
USACE Flood Risk Management WebsiteTo find out more information about the USACE Flood Risk Management Program.