First Advisor

Heejun Chang

Date of Publication

Summer 8-28-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Flood control -- Oregon -- Portland, Floods -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 77 pages)


Pluvial flooding is caused by rainfall events that overwhelm drainage systems and do not allow excess water to be absorbed by soils or water infrastructure. This type of flooding occurs frequently in urban systems and leads to public inconveniences and infrastructure deterioration, which could cost more than fluvial flooding over time. Increased rainfall intensity, which is projected to increase with climate change, could result in increased pluvial flooding. This study aims to examine the vulnerability of pluvial flooding in Portland, OR (2010-2017) by incorporating an interdisciplinary framework that examines the physical and socioeconomic vulnerability of flooding through citizen-reported flooding data. We use a spatially dense network of 5-minute interval rainfall measurement to examine 3-day storm events associated with flooding reports to correlate storm size with the frequency of reports. Additionally, we use a Topographic Wetness Index (TWI) to identify the hotspots of pluvial flooding over space and characterize the sociodemographic and building characteristics of hotspots by performing a spatial analysis using census tract and tax lot level data. We investigate how individual neighborhood characteristics (i.e. ethnicity, education, gender, age, income) and building characteristics (i.e. building type, building age) contribute to reported flooding. This research seeks to identify where pluvial flooding occurs across the city, and how flood management planning can better address flood vulnerability through the biophysical and socioeconomic characteristics that exists amongst communities in Portland.


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