This week marks the 20th anniversary of the 1996 floods that inundated much of northwestern Oregon and southwest Washington.
Then Portland Mayor Vera Katz asked for help piling sandbags along the Willamette River.
“At this time, right now, there is no need to evacuate downtown. So I want to put those rumors to rest, and basically say that for today and tomorrow, there will be no rumors,” Katz said.
On Feb. 9, 1996, the Willamette River crested at 28 1/2 feet — more than 10 feet above flood stage. It was the river’s highest level in the last 50 years.
Flooding meant evacuations near Salem and water-filled streets in Tualatin.
Parts of Tillamook County were under six feet of water with every road cut off.
Researchers say the 1996 flood taught lessons on everything from hydrology to urban planning.