Columbus Day Storm: More Memories From 1962

OPB | Oct. 4, 2012 midnight | Updated: Oct. 16, 2012 5:20 a.m.

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Jan Frutiger

Now a resident of King City, she lived in Vancouver and was a 12-year-old student when the storm hit.

“The day started out normal. I was 12 and going to Lewis Junior High. In the afternoon the air seemed funny and the sky looked odd. All of a sudden aluminum garbage cans started flying by. It was exciting when the neighbor’s patio roof flew by. The sky had an eerie light and the wind howled. The picture window glass was billowing in and out.”

Steve Worral

A Tualatin resident now, he was an eighth grader at West Salem’s Walker Junior High when the storm hit.

“We had a long row of fir trees alongside our home, and as we watched the growing storm, the full force of the wind hit so hard that limbs, fir cones and other detritus flew out of those trees and hit the house and broke a window. A 12 foot tall dogwood in the front yard got caught in an eddy and spun off its trunk and blew down Orchard Heights Road … We were without electricity for four days, so we ‘roughed it.’ Our prune and pear orchards were a total loss; we later bulldozed every tree; even the ones still standing were so badly damaged they had to go. Our cherry trees were damaged but salvageable … I had nightmares for a while afterward, but we never talked out our fears. We just responded by putting our home and lives back together.”

Cindy Morris

Of Portland was living in the city’s Laurelhurst neighborhood and attending second grade when the storm hit.

“Without a doubt, this was the most frightening night of my childhood. I spent the entire night on my mother’s lap, not typical for a 6 year old; perhaps it was also that I feared my father was out in the storm. That night has had a lasting impact on me. I only came to realize this as an adult while spending nights at our family beach house during the usual winter storms at the coast, or the occasional windstorm in Portland. These events give me a real terror and a sleepless night.

Judy Jensen

A Beaverton resident, who was living in Junction City at the time with her parents and 11 siblings.

“We had a wood stove that we used to keep warm and to cook food. Because we lived a short distance from the town boundary we had well water, but I’m sure that the pump wasn’t working and remember it being too dangerous to go outside anyway. There was a very large fire in our town, as well, destroying several city blocks. My final memory was that the local Dairy Queen restaurant gave away all of the ice cream in their coolers, so to a kid, that action took away some of the fear we felt and replaced it with joy! “

Mark Pedersen

A resident of Damascus today, he lived in Rock Creek when the storm hit, and was 11 years old.

“As the house groaned and shuddered and we watched the trees bend to their limit, a large branch hit the house and four of those large plate glass windows were destroyed. We were only 3-4’ back. Mom, the baby in her bassinette, Echo, and I were all right there, facing these windows as they shattered and blew in. We all were hit. There were no serious cuts although we had minor nicks, and Echo was bruised. My front teeth were broken and I said so. The cinders from the fireplace were flying around and Echo began to stomp them out.

My mother looked to the baby and found that luckily the blanket was covering her head; she was unhurt, even though there were large shards of glass on the blanket.”

 

Cameron Denney
Portland resident

“My five-year-old heart was delighted by the drama of the winds which carried shingles and bits of house parts wildly past by so I went outside with my red umbrella to see if I could fly like Mary Poppins. I was disappointed when the wind turned the umbrella inside-out and when I jumped off a little rock wall I landed on my feet as if there were no umbrella and no wind. Not at all like Mary Poppins.”

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