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Erosion by Half Shell getting worse

March 16, 2017 GMT

The eroding riverbank by Roseburg’s Half Shell is getting progressively worse, said Public Works Director Nikki Messenger.

The department is in the middle of designing a solution to prevent soil from breaking into the South Umpqua River.

“When the river comes up, that’s not the biggest problem,” Messenger said. “It’s when it goes back down, it takes soil with it as it’s receding.”

The erosion is creeping closer to an irrigation pad. If the city can’t fix the issue soon, it will have to relocate the pad. It has already had to relocate the pad once before.

“So we’re really interested in getting it fixed as quickly as possible so we don’t have to move that pad again,” Messenger said.

Erosion has been a problem in the area for at least two decades, Messenger said. It got particularly bad after the December 2015 storm, when it damaged the Half Shell. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided a grant that covered 75 percent of the funds to build a new frame for the Half Shell.

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Now the city is designing a solution to fix the erosion. FEMA will cover 75 percent of up to $60,000 for the design work and construction.

The design will be a fish-friendly solution, Messenger said. That could be a combination of installing logs, rocks, plants and other natural things on the bank.

Messenger hopes to get the design work done by the end of April. If the department can get all the permits it needs quickly, then it could start construction by this summer.

“We would need to get permits fairly quickly to construct this summer,” she said.