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Jul 22, 2013 7:56 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

Frequent flooding ruffles midtown Tucson resident

TUCSON - When Tom Porter moved into his home in the Jefferson Park neighborhood back in 2006, it was the last calm before his big storm.

"You have 15 minutes from when a hard rain starts falling, to when the front of my house is inundated," Porter says.

He says every summer stormwater runoff, mainly from The University of Arizona, rolls right into his yard. Sometimes the water level reaches as high as two feet. "It comes down the street and it has no place to go because my house is at the end of the street," Porter says.

Over the last six yearS, Porter has spent nearly $20,000 to build a six-foot concrete wall in front of his house, as well as to elevate the entrance to the house. "There was no way of knowing when I bought the property that there was an issue," Porter says. "They sold it right after the monsoon."

Peter Dourlein, Assistant VP of Planning, Design & Construction at The University of Arizona, says flooding into the Jefferson Park Neighborhood has grown worse over the years, as new buildings cover desert land that once absorbed the rain.

But he says the university is taking action to alleviate the problem. "We have built two relatively large detention basins, with grass and trees," Dourlein says. "They're inverted so they catch a lot of the water and meter it out after a storm."

Ward III Councilmember Karin Uhlich is also working with Porter to find a solution. "We have submitted an application for Tom's house to be purchased through the flood control district and I believe that's the most straight-forward way of finding relief for him," Uhlich says.

But until Porter sees action, he won't even stay at his house during the monsoon. "Any night it can just inundate and the stress is so high that I don't want to spend the night here," Porter says.

Porter will be meeting with Councilmember Uhlich, UA leaders and leaders from the Pima County Regional Flood District on August 5.

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