Soggy days – ‘Snorkels recommended’

Maggie Rothauge captured this overwhelming flood scene on Ricketts Road on Monday morning, April 8. Ricketts Road is located just north of Creswell on Highway 99, and runs west.southwest off the highway to Sher Khan and south of Camas Swale. Maggie Rothauge/Community submission

While people are still trying to catch their breath from the aftermath of the February snowstorm that collected over 19 inches of snow, Creswell again fell prey to weather conditions between April 5-8 – this time being hit by loads of rain.
Dan Grousbeck at Dan’s Plants on Davisson Road keeps track of the rainfall, and said his property received 7.37 inches of rain. The ground has become too saturated with water, that there is simply no place for it to go.
This weather has been no good for his property, his plants, or his business, Grousbeck said, and hopes to see sunnier days by the time of his plant sale later this month.
But, all things considered, Creswell fared fairly well. City Manager Michelle Amberg was busy trying to get a shelter put in place in case of evacuations at New Hope Baptist Church. No one used the facility, South Lane County Fire & Rescue Fire Chief John Wooten said on Monday, noting that no one from Creswell ended up being evacuated.
Our neighbors in Cottage Grove had tougher luck. Chief Wooten said that last he knew on Monday, that about 50 Grovers used the Red Cross shelter at the Cottage Grove Community Center during evacuations.
All residents, over 100 at Riverstone Mobile Home Park in Cottage Grove, were evacuated on April 7 as the Cooley Creek and the Coast Fork Willamette River levels began to rise. He said on Tuesday that most of the residents in the mobile home park were able to return home, and that the flooding is now isolated to the very northwest corner of the park affecting only a small portion of trailers.
There were 464 evacuation notices issued by police in the 100-year floodplains of Row River and the Coast Fork of the Willamette River, between Dorena Reservoir and Mt. Pisgah, LCSO Sergeant Carrie Carver said in another report.
Lane County Emergency Management was notified by the US Army Corps of Engineers that water was released from Dorena Reservoir at historic rates to avoid reservoir overflow. Rates of flow being released from Dorena were expected to be higher than recorded in the 1996 flood.
Chief Wooten said the biggest problem areas are spots in which rivers hit bends and curves, but on Tuesday, Wooten said that while it may not seem so, things with the rivers and flooding are improving.
The Corp of Engineers assured Chief Wooten that neither Cottage Grove nor Dorena dams are in any danger of failing. The rumors of cracks and breaks are completely unfounded, he said at Monday’s council meeting. The Dorena dam is designed for water to come over the top of the spillway. Release from both Dorena and Cottage Grove will continue until the amount of water coming into the dam has slowed.
”Both dams are doing exactly what they were built to do,” Chief Wooten said.
He said the Coast Fork Willamette and Row rivers are beginning to recede; however, they will remain high for several days. Areas of flooding along the banks will remain as water continues being released from the dams.
”Flippers and snorkels are recommended,” Wooten said, joking.
Humor aside, he said if you receive a notice to evacuate, do just that. ”You can look at the rain in the daylight and think, ‘that doesn’t look so bad,’ but come 2 or 3 a.m. you look out the window and you can’t see…and then it’s in your house.”
He said it puts everyone in danger, including the emergency responders who have to go into the flooded buildings to fish out people.
Residents who live near rivers should closely monitor the water levels near their property and homes, as LCSO is urging motorists to not drive on roadways that have been overtaken by water, moving or not. Fast moving water can quickly sweep a vehicle or person away, creating a dangerous situation. Additionally, it is easy for vehicles to drive off the roadway when it is not visible due to fast moving water.



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