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Angry Residents Complain About San Francisco's Response To Weekend Flooding

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Angry residents of San Francisco's West Portal neighborhood vetted their simmering frustrations Wednesday night over the city's response to runoff from a potent weekend storm that flooded their streets and damaged their garages and basements.

Their ire was focused on San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, who walked through the Wawona and 15th Ave. neighborhood, meeting with residents.

"I think it's disappointing for us as a neighborhood that you didn't say hey -- 'Let's check on West Portal,'" a neighbor told Yee.

Those were comments echoed by others and the reason for Yee's walking tour.

"I'm doing this to give them a chance to vet a little or air out some stuff," Yee told KPIX 5. "And for them to give good suggestions."

Aging sewers have left the area vulnerable to flash flooding. On Saturday, an intense downpour overwhelmed the drainage system, leading to a knee-deep torrent of water collecting at Wawona and 15th, spilling into about a dozen homes.

It was the third time since 2013 that a storm has flooded the neighborhood. But Saturday's storm unlike anything they experienced in the past.

"It happened very quickly," Marina Simonian told KPIX 5. "I ran downstairs to try to open the garage door and get a rake to take out some leaves and the water was already in the garage."

Wawona Street is slated for a massive project to improve storm drainage, but it's not expected to start until 2021. Homeowners fear this neighborhood can't wait years for a solution.

"The work maybe starting in '21 and not done until '23 and that is just not acceptable," said local resident Suheil Totah.

"It means another couple Winters of repeat performances, that's just not acceptable," Simonian added.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission says even after the capital improvement project is in place, the area still may face flooding issues just because of its location.

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