Flooding causing big problems in Oregon, Washington State

Residents and officials are dealing with floods brought on from record-setting rains

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Though the intense rains are subsiding, the floods they spawned continue to cause problems throughout Oregon and Washington Wednesday.

All access in and out of Vernonia was cut off for several hours Wednesday morning because of multiple landslides, a bridge failure and flooding.

Kalama

KOIN CLOSINGS, DELAYS

Cowlitz County, Washington declared an emergency in each of its cities Tuesday night in response to major flooding.

Several landslides were reported north of Kalama River Road. One landslide wiped out a residence and trapped the homeowner. Dispatch said the man was pinned against a wall by rocks and debris. He was freed and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Jenipher Storms, one of the people evacuated from Camp Kalama RV Park, told KOIN 6 News authorities were going door-to-door about 2 hours before the water crested.

“Once the river eroded over one of the banks, we only had, like, 30 minutes and everyond started pulling out,” she said. Deputies, state and local police were there along with “a boat load of Carl’s Towing with giant wreckers and tow trucks” to help move as many RVs as possible.

Storms said one of her best friends’ RV “is a total loss.”

The mayor of Kalama discussed the flooding that went through his town, Dec. 9, 2015 (KOIN)
The mayor of Kalama discussed the flooding that went through his town, Dec. 9, 2015 (KOIN)

She said she was grateful people got out safely. “We had people in there, from young people like us to old people on oxygen or dialysis,” she said. “Everyone was helping. That was great.”

The mayor of Kalama said all their flood control pumps are operating at full capacity. One pump failed Tuesday night, he said.

The Kalama police department, fire department and city hall are all under water, and all those services were switched to other locations, he said.

“We are going to be building a berm under the overpass with sandbags so we can pump some of the water that has settled down there so we can gain some capacity,” he told KOIN 6 News. “If more rain is coming and with the high tide coming this afternoon maybe we can get a jump on it. A hope and a prayer.”

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In St. Helens, Milton Creek flooded.

Milton Creek in St. Helens flooded, Dec. 9, 2015 (Cheryl Wright)
Milton Creek in St. Helens flooded, Dec. 9, 2015 (Cheryl Wright)

 

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The Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook is closed because of the flooding.

Rockaway Beach to the North also flooded.

Flooding in Rockaway Beach, Dec. 9, 2015 (COURTESY Marilyn Elkins)
Flooding in Rockaway Beach, Dec. 9, 2015 (COURTESY Marilyn Elkins)

 

ODOT continued to recommend drivers delay travel in Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook Counties where multiple landslides were reported Wednesday morning.

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