This article examines issues surrounding flood control measures for the Jacobs Avenue community located in Eureka, California. This area of northern California is experiencing some of the most rapid rates of sea level rise recorded throughout the state. Researchers conducted interviews with stakeholders, developed geospatial analyses, and reviewed policy documents in order to understand the social, environmental, and political context related to sea level rise planning for Jacobs Avenue. From this information we developed a scenario-based set of management options to guide stakeholders in future decision-making regarding the fate of Jacobs Avenue. We explored the potential challenges and benefits of three possible scenarios: no action, levee improvement, and strategic retreat. Our analysis reveals that there are no easy solutions. Lack of funding and lack of a clear political path towards retreat make it extremely difficult for planners to take proactive steps that might ultimately contribute to increased safety, as well as economic and environmental benefits, for flood-vulnerable communities. The scenario framework developed in this paper can be a useful tool for a wide range of coastal communities, in particular those of geographically isolated northern California and southern Oregon.