Community Member

Oella•Catonsville Flood Solutions

Oella, Maryland

Oella∙Catonsville Flood Solutions was formed in 2023 to educate west Baltimore County, Maryland communities about flood hazards and to petition elected officials to do more to help mitigate flooding in the area. Oella, a historic mill town, and Catonsville are located between the Patapsco River and Baltimore City. It is no secret that flooding occurs in Old Ellicott City, Howard County, Maryland, but across the river, Baltimore County also floods – caused not only by “bottom-up” flooding from the Patapsco River and “top-down” stream flooding from both counties, but surface flooding. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes devastated area homes, businesses and infrastructure. Several more recent 100-year floods, in 2016 and 2018, caused additional damage and claimed three lives. In light of these ever-increasing flood events, due to a combination of climate change and the need for infrastructure improvements, the group is demanding that the county identify and fund flood mitigation and safety measures.

Ellicott Mill flood damage from Hurricane Agnes in 1972

Oella-Catonsville Flood Solutions was founded by Winnie Carpenter, due to her desire to prevent continued damage and loss of life because of flooding in her community. She, and her neighbors, have also become aware of development which will exacerbate flooding in the area. The “Ellicott Mill” plan proposes redevelopment to convert a 190,000 sq ft flour mill into apartments, retail and restaurant. Carpenter discovered that Baltimore County, eager for the mill to be redeveloped, granted numerous waivers, from reducing open spaces and removing trees to adding three more floors to the already massive building – all in a flood plain. In 2021, Carpenter organized a group that distributed flyers, created a petition, testified at hearings and filed a lawsuit to bring awareness to the community and to overturn the approved waivers. The group has since reorganized to address flooding issues in the wider Oella-Catonsville community.

27 Frederick Road at Ellicott Mill (Photo courtesy of Winnie Carpenter)

For more information:

Harborplace critic ought to rethink his plans for Oella | Reader Commentary, March 2024

Keep District One Safe from Floods!, EveryAction Petition

Unresolved Issues at Ellicott Mill, Petition

Dorothy Terry

Dorothy Terry

Dorothy Terry is a journalist by profession, having worked as a daily newspaper reporter on both coasts and a contributing writer for several national magazines. She is a former Congressional press secretary and has worked as a communications manager and consultant for corporations and nonprofits.


Winnie Carpenter, Founder

Climate Impacts


Environmental Justice Concerns

Fighting Development/Destruction of Wildlife/Extinction of Species


Community Farm/Gardens, Community Organizing and Education, Legal/permit challenges to development, contamination, pollution, etc, Policy Reform, Political activism, including protests, petitions, and lobbying, Risk mapping and/or monitoring e.g. flooding/contaminants etc

501c3 Tax Deductible


Accepting Donations