For immediate release:       May 20, 2020

Contact:                                 Jiselle Halfmoon, Public Information Officer, (541) 969-4801


Umatilla Indian Reservation residents urged to prepare for flooding

MISSION - The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) urges residents of the Umatilla Indian Reservation to monitor river conditions and be prepared to evacuate if water rises quickly.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Pendleton issued a Flood Warning on May 20 at 8:32 a.m. for urban areas and small streams in Umatilla County and several other areas in northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington.

“Please continue to monitor river conditions at sites that historically flood first.We have sand bags ready to be deployed  to sites that may need to be reinforced,” said CTUIR Public Safety Director Rob Burnside. “The public should be ready to evacuate their home in case water starts to rise quickly.”

According to the NWS, flooding is ongoing or expected to begin shortly in the warning area. Between one and two inches of rain have fallen.Rapid rises will continue on numerous small streams, creeks and rivers across the warned area with many reaching bankfull and seeing flooding today through tonight. People along creeks and streams that were affected by the February flooding should be extra cautious as high water levels may not behave as they have seen in the past.


CTUIR recommends the following preparations:

  • Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.


  • Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.If needed, identify a place to stay that will accept pets. Most public shelters allow only service animals.


  • Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.


  • Always follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster.


  • Come up with a family/household plan to stay in touch in case you become separated; have a meeting place and update it depending on the circumstance.


  • Assemble supplies that are ready for evacuation. Prepare a “go-bag” you can carry when you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling longer distances if you have a car.



  • If you have a car:

- Keep a full tank of gas if an evacuation seems likely. Keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.

- Make sure you have a portable emergency kit in the car.


  • If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if needed. Decide with family, friends or your local emergency management office to see what resources may be available.


  • Check with local officials about what shelter spaces are available for this year.  Coronavirus may have altered your community’s plans.
  • Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home in another town or a motel. Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.



  • If you evacuate to a community shelter, follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for protecting yourself and your family from possible coronavirus: people over 2-years-old should use a cloth facial covering while at these facilities. -  Be prepared to take cleaning items with you like cloth face coverings, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces.

- Maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and people who aren’t in your immediate family.

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is made up of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla Tribes, formed under the Treaty of 1855 at the Walla Walla Valley, 12 statute 945. In 1949, the Tribes adopted a constitutional form of government to protect, preserve and enhance the treaty rights guaranteed under federal statute.


Tribal Service: Government: