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Warmer Temperatures Bring Flooding, Evacuations

Flooding, landslide and snowslides across the state on Thursday.

View Oregon Weather in a larger map. Created Arashi Young.

UPDATED 2:49 p.m. 

Conditions continued to worsen on Thursday as snow turned to rain and rivers began rising around Oregon. Up to 10 inches of rain fell on the Oregon Coast Range in a 36-hour period, and more rain and flooding is on the way.

Marion County appears to have been particularly hard-hit. Officials there issued a news release with information about sandbags and warned them of $110 fines for anyone who ignored barricades.

In a news release sent just before 2 p.m., officials said they’d ask the governor for assistance. Benton County and the City of Corvallis have issued emergency declarations.

Several state parks were also closed. Western Oregon University cancelled evening classes.

Salem Fire Rescue assist in the evacuation of Turner residents. Courtesy: Salem Fire.

Later Thursday morning, officials said schools were closing:

Marion Co. Schools:

Salem-Keizer Sch. Dist.: Due to expected higher water, the district is encouraging parents to pick up their students early.  School will remain in session and any child still at school will be cared for as long as necessary.  Please do not take chances with your own safety. Additionally, all district after school and evening activities are canceled. Buses will be operating at regular release time.

Rosedale Elementary closed due to high water.  UPDATE

Highway crews worked through the night to remove snow that had buried a tanker trailer on Santiam Pass - Courtesy ODOT


Independence and Monmouth issued this release about flooding and related issues:

“Members of all emergency services have met and are responding to the problems as they arise. In addition to localized flooding that has closed several streets, the Independence Sanitary Sewer System is at capacity and currently overflowing. People may notice this backing up in their basements and should know to use caution as it may be contaminated water. The city has brought in 2 high capacity pumpers to help resolve the issue.

There are 3 areas set up for citizens to get sandbags. These are self-serve stations for the most part with bags, sand, and shovels. The Polk County CERT team has also been activated and are assisting with sandbagging. The location are: 1) Polk County Fire District #1 back parking lot. 2) Monmouth Public Works in the “S” curves. 3) Gravel parking lot north of the Independence Civic Center on Main Street. Citizens may help themselves to sand in these areas.

The previous message said that the sandbags were available effective Friday the 20th, but they are currently available now.”


Many of the people in the Willamette Valley town Scio are being evacuated because of rising water.

City Manager Ginger Griffith says the water is pouring down Main Street and “we need to get people out.”

She says about 870 people live in Scio, which is east of Albany, and about three-quarters are expected to leave. Residents are being notified by an automated dialing system, and a church has been designated as a refuge.

She says some homes have been flooded, and the fire department evacuated some residents overnight.

The water is coming from Thomas Creek, which flows out of the Cascade Range toward the Willamette River.

Scio’s police chief told OPB’s April Baer thatabout two dozen had been evacuated.


In Turner, 40 families were evacuated Wednesday night.

Fifty to sixty homes are being evacuated downtown this morning, Turner’s mayor Paul Thomas told OPB.

Emergency crews are having to use boats.

The city was relocating those were evacuated to a retreat called Aldersgate Center on the east side of town.


Flooding in Turner

Kristian Foden-Vencil reports from just outside of town.

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OPB’s Kristian Foden-Vencil was on the scene Thursday morning and filed this report:

I’m just outside the city of Turner which has been blocked off by thick brown flooding. The road is closed and police are stopping people from going through. Marion County is experiencing really heavy rains and melting snow. Crews of county staff and also inmates are clearing debris that’s blocking culverts and causing flooding. About five boats have been dispatched here to Turner to help rescue people. Both the Wheatland and Buena Vista ferries have closed. Barriers have been set up and police are warning you not to cross them otherwise you face a $110 fine. Sand bags and sand is available at public works departments in Salem and the post office in Turner as well as Aumsville and Stayton. Parts of 22 between Salem and the mountains are closed. Police are saying be careful out there.


Rescuers in Albany recovered the body of a mother and child after a car was swept into a creek near a grocery store.

A school bus partially rolled over in Salem after hitting high water, the Statesman Journal reported.

Mt. Bachelor closed Thursday.

Thousands of PGE customers were without power.


In Salem, the city was handing out sandbags and the city activated its Emergency Operations Center. In a news release, they warned residents of rising rivers and gave locations for sandbags.


Authorities in Corvallis and Benton County said multiple locations were suffering from high water and flooding and made sand bags available. Click here to read their full news release.


The National Weather Service in Portland issued flood watches and advisories.


Water rushed out of a culvert on Portland's Macadam Street Thursday.

Mt. Bachelor closed because of the heavy snow and a power outage. 

“The combination of 5 feet of new snow in 3 days, strong winds and power outages has resulted in extreme operational challenges. We lost power at approximately 9 p.m. last night. We’re optimistic that power will be restored by midday today. In the meantime, we are running on our backup generators. This enables us to “keep the lights on” and to operate some of our lifts slowly for maintenance and cleaning purposes,” according to the resort’s website.


Photos captured a snowslide that swept across Highway 20 near milepost 79. There were no injuries.


ODOT announced these road closures:

Kristian Foden-Vencil / OPB
Water runs into the yard of a home near Turner.

— ODOT/SW Oregon: Oregon 38 will remain closed Thursday. A sinkhole opened between Scottsburg Park and Loon Lake Road, east of Reedsport. Drivers are advised to use Oregon 42 as an alternate route between Interstate 5 and U.S. 101. More than 1,000 yards of material eroded from the highway. ODOT maintenance and geology staff are on scene developing a repair plan. There is no estimated time to reopen the highway.

For more information, contact: The latest state highway and weather information is at, 5-1-1, and 800-977-6368.

ODOT/Valley, No. Coast: —Highway Update for Linn County — High water is affecting travel on a few state highways in Linn County.

— OR 226 (Albany-Lyons Hwy) is closed approximately 13 miles east of Albany due to high water. No vehicles will be allowed through.

— OR 226 (Albany-Lyons Hwy) is partially blocked by a landslide approximately two miles south of the intersection with OR 22.

— OR 228 (Halsey-Sweet Home Hwy) is experiencing high water just east of the I-5 interchange. Flaggers are on scene. Traffic is being allowed through.

— I-5, milepost 235: The on-ramp to northbound I-5 at the Millersburg interchange is closed due to high water. In addition, there is standing water on I-5 northbound in the right lane in that area.

Motorists should reduce speed and be prepared to encounter high water and debris on the roadway.

— ODOT/Valley, No. Coast: OR 36 (Mapleton-Junction City Hwy) is now closed at milepost 23, near Triangle Lake in Lane County due to a landslide. Only local traffic will be allowed between Mapleton on the east and Triangle Lake on the west. 


Marion County News Release

Heavy rains and melting snow have created high water and flooding issues in many areas of Marion County. Marion County Public Works crews, assisted by Inmate Crews, are working to clear debris and open roadways.

The City of Turner has been especially hard hit. Marion County has dispatched deputies, work crews, five MCSO boats and another from the Salem Fire Urban Boat Water Rescue to assist the City of Turner.

Both the Wheatland and Buena Vista ferries are closed.

Barricades have been posted to warn drivers of closures. Violators who disregard the barricades will face a $110 citation.

Sand and Sand bags are available at the following locations. Bring your own shovel and be prepared to bag your own sand:

  • City of Salem: Public Works at 1410 20th Street SE, Building 22
  • City of Turner: Post Office parking lot
  • Marion County Public Works, 5155 Silverton Road NE, Building 1
  • City of Aumsville – 115 Main Street
  • City of Stayton – 41816 Stayton-Scio Road
  • City of Keizer 3800 Block of Rickman Road, next to the skate park
  • The following areas should be avoided due to high water and road closures:


  • Highway 22 at Sublimity
  • Homestead Road at River Road
  • Duckflat Road SE
  • Gates hill Road SE at North Fork Road SE
  • Wintel Road SE at Buena Vista Road S
  • 55th Avenue SE at Hennies Road SE
  • Marion Road SE at Mill Creek Road SE
  • Marions Road SE at Little Road SE
  • Marion Road SE at Stayton Road SE
  • North Fork Road SE at Highway 22
  • West Stayton Road SE at Washington Street
  • Witzel Road SE at Glenwild Court SE
  • Torvend Road NE at Hazelgreen Road
  • Jorgenson Road closed from Marlatt to Buena Vista

High Water:

  • Highway 22 – milepost 22 & 31
  • Cole Road at Bates Road in South Salem
  • Cascade Highway SE at Evergreen
  • Parrish Gap at Summit Loop N
  • Skelton Road at Jefferson-Marion Road in Jefferson
  • Hazelgreen at Brush Creek
  • Mt. Angel Highway and Nusome Road
  • Belden & Stayton Road
  • Shaff Road & Gold Club Road
  • State Street & 63rd Ave
  • Delaney Road SE, between Battle Creek and Interstate 5
  • Meridian Road & Abiqua Road
  • Bishop Road SE at Porter Road SE
  • Highway 99 at Waconda Road

Road information will be updated throughout the day via this release.

Marion County Road Closures are also posted at:

Salem News Release

Posted: January 19th, 2012 10:39 AM

Due to high water throughout the area and the expected continued precipitation, the City of Salem has activated its Emergency Operations Center. There are numerous areas of flooding throughout the region, and the City of Salem is mobilizing resources to address the safety of the public.

Most of the creeks in the Salem area are at very high levels, and with precipitation expected to continue, those water levels are expected to continue to rise. At this time efforts are being concentrated on situations where life and safety are at risk.

The City of Salem has several sandbag stations available for the public get sandbags for their property. Those locations are listed below. For those being displaced, the Red Cross is working to establish shelters throughout the area. We will provide locations of shelters as they become operational.

Washougal resident Phil Graf was snowed in Wednesday and sent in this photo.

We are asking for assistance from the public keeping themselves safe in these rapidly changing conditions.

If you are in a building and notice water levels rising outside, consider evacuating before the water levels reach a point that creates a dangerous or hazardous situation.

While driving, observe and obey road closure signs, barriers and/or indicators. Do not assume your vehicle can get through the high water.

While driving in high water areas, be aware that some manhole covers get dislodged due to water pressure.

Stay away from creeks, rivers and other bodies of water. Water levels can change rapidly and water currents are running very swift.

As winds increase and rains continue, the possibility of downed trees and power lines increase. Stay away from downed lines and report them to 911 immediately.

This is a rapidly changing situation and the City of Salem will work to put out updates as they become available.

Sandbag locations:

  • Roth’s IGA, West Salem-1130 Wallace Rd NW
  • City of Salem Public Works- 14th St SE
  • Orchard Heights Park-1165 Orchard Heights Rd NW
  • South Salem High School-1910 Church St SE
  • Swegle Elementary School-4485 Market St NE
  • D St at 14th St NE
  • Lowe’s-1930 Turner Rd SE

Corvallis News Release

Due to the ongoing winter storm, multiple locations through-out Corvallis and Benton County are currently suffering weather and flooding related problems. There are multiple locations in the City of Corvallis and Benton County experiencing high water and flooding. The current list of high water locations can be found by going to the City of Corvallis website at or the Benton County Public Works Site Residents can also call a Benton County Public Works information line at 541-766-6821 to report problems. An information line at 541-766-6120 is available to residents of the city and county to call for updated information regarding flooding, road closures, and travel restrictions.

Corvallis Police, Benton County Sheriff’s Office and Benton County Emergency Management are reminding residents not to call 911 unless there is as public safety emergency. For information and to report high water/flooding residents should call 541-766-6821.

Corvallis and Benton County public safety are urging residents not to drive into high water on streets and roads. If you encounter high water in the street/road do not drive into the water. The depth of water can not be judged and it takes only about 18 inches of water to cause most cars to float. Driving into high water also causes drivers and their vehicles to become stranded.

Local sandbagging sites have been established for residents to go and fill their own sandbags. Sand and bags are available, however, residents need to bring their own shovels to fill bags.

Corvallis sand bag filling locations:

  • Wilson School, 2601 NW Satinwood
  • Osborn Aquatic, 1940 NW Highland
  • Grant Ave Baptist Church, 1625 NW Grant
  • CHS Parking Lot Entrance off of 11th St
  • NW Conser Blvd 100 yds north of Circle Blvd
  • 509J Office, 1555 SW 35th St.
  • Cheldelin Middle School, 987 NE Conifer Blvd
  • Home Depot, 1780 NW Four Acre Plc.
  • Benton County Public Works, 360 SW Avery Ave
  • Philomath Public Works, 1515 Willow Ln
  • N. 20th St. in Philomath Benton County Fairgrounds
  • 110 SW 53rd St. Corvallis

The AP contributed to this report.

News Release from: Marion Co. Sheriff’s Office


Posted: January 19th, 2012 1:55 PM

The rain continues to fall in Marion County, creating flooding conditions, dangerous roadways and hazardous water conditions. Emergency crews have worked feverishly to provide service to those in need. Currently, the City of Turner has been the hardest hit.

Earlier this morning the Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano, acting as the Emergency Management Board Designee, approved order #12-9 declaring a local state of emergency in Marion County. The full board will ratify the declaration at their next meeting. A copy of the order is attached to this release.

The declaration provides flexibility in managing resources while responding to current conditions. Commissioner Sam Brentano said, “The County is experiencing some of the same conditions as in the flood of 1996. We are anticipating similar types of damage and this allows us to get the process started for requesting additional assistance.” He continued, “We know that the cities of Turner, Aumsville and Stayton are already experiencing significant issues and there are indications of problems developing near Woodburn and St. Paul as well.”

The emergency declaration will be forwarded to the state Office of Emergency Management for consideration by the Governor.

Marion County Emergency Officials, operating from a Unified Command Post at City Hall, are now asking all residents of Turner to evacuate to higher ground. This is a voluntary evacuation request. Rising flood waters have created unsafe conditions for all residents. Northwest Natural is in the process of turning gas off to the entire City of Turner. Sandbags are still available at Turner City Hall. Residents are encouraged to seek shelter with relatives or friends. You can also receive assistance at any flood shelter established by the Red Cross. One such facility is located in the City of Aumsville at the Bethel Baptist Church, 645 Cleveland St., phone: 503.749.2128

Marion County Sheriff’s Office buses are staged at City Hall for any resident needing transportation.

Earlier in the day, the City of Turner evacuated 50 families from flooded areas of the city. 90 elderly evacuees were originally placed at the Aldersgate Retreat Center, but the rising water has now closed that facility. Those seniors are being transported to nearby Corban College where they’ll be temporarily housed in the gym for shelter. As conditions deteriorated, it became clear that a complete evacuation was necessary.

The city of Aumsville is also being affected by the rains and high water. Aumsville City Administrator Maryann Hills, has reported that some areas the Aumsville sewer system is at capacity with storm water runoff. Water drains and toilets are affected, but Ms. Hills emphasized that the drinking water is NOT compromised. If your household drains are not running properly, you can seek temporary shelter at the flood shelter operating in the Bethel Baptist Church.

The City of Aumsville is providing portable toilets at the church, the Aumsville Elementary School Gym and the Aumsville Community Center, 555 Main Street.

The Aumsville Community Center will also be open today for residents to gather and avoid the weather. Coffee will be available.

In addition to the locations posted earlier, several Stayton High School athletic teams are at Knife River Sand & Gravel loading sand bags. If you need FILLED sandbags, they are available without cost from Knife River, 41816 Stayton/Scio Road in Stayton, OR 97383

As of 1:50pm, the following road closures are in effect:

Gallon House from Downs Road NE to Hobart Road NE

Croisan Creek Road SE from Kuebler Blvd SE to River Road SE

McElhaney Road SE at cascade Highway

Mt. Angel Highway at Hobart Road NE

Elliott Prairie Road NE at High Water Gates

3800 block of Victor Point Road

Talbot Road at High Water Gates

Ogle Road S at 70th Avenue SE

Road Closures are regularly updated at:

News Release from: Corvallis Police


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Today at noon, Benton County Commissioner Jay Dixon signed a declaration of local emergency/disaster for the unincorporated areas of Benton County. Corvallis City Manager Jim Patterson also declared an emergency within the corporate limits of the City of Corvallis.

Flooding and landslides beginning January 18th in the area due to heavy rains and melting snow from a recent snow storm have created high water conditions. A preliminary assessment shows damage to roads and homes and closed roads resulting in isolated areas of the county.

Two bridges, both on Harris Road near Wren, are out of service at this time. The Harris Bridge has been struck by a fallen tree and is damaged on the west side of Harris Road. On the east side, the covered bridge is covered in high water. A detour for residents and emergency personnel only that crosses private property is being used currently for access.

A major slide on NW Niagara has been reported with a large amount of debris and fir trees blocking the road. The Vineyard Mountain area has reported multiple slides and the Vineyard Mountain Road District hired a contractor, who is clearing the road. Slides also have been reported at Pickadilly near North Albany, Highway 223 three miles north of Highway 20, Highway 34 and Yew Wood, Highway 34 Milepost 47, Lobster Valley at Little Lobster and Honeygrove Road near Alsea.

Evacuations already have occurred near Rosewood Drive north of Corvallis and those on NE Oxford Circle near Lancaster Street are advised to stay home, but they also are able to relocate if they desire to do that. Evacuation point has been established at Crescent Valley High School, 4444 NW Highland Ave., near Corvallis.

Residents wishing to leave for the evacuation center at Crescent Valley High School should call 541-766-6120.

Residents leaving their homes for the evacuation center will not be allowed to return until high water recedes or until deemed safe to do so by public safety and emergency management.

Benton County Sheriff’s Office and Corvallis Police remind residents and drivers:

•    Avoid these areas of Benton County and Corvallis.
•    Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Corvallis Police Department, Benton County Public Works and Corvallis Fire Department have established an Emergency Operation Center and are monitoring the situation throughout the county in anticipation of other potential issues.
•    Several other roads around Benton County have high water and may be difficult to travel. Check the Benton County Public Works website or call 541-766-6821 for the latest information about road closures and high water areas. Oregon Department of Transportation information can also be found at for state highways.
•    Road closure information will be regularly updated and more frequent updates may be available. Continue to check the non-emergency information line at 541-766-6120 for the most recent updates.
•    It is important to remember not to attempt to cross high water areas. Turn around, don’t drown!  Obey traffic and high water signs to prevent becoming stranded or swept away in current.

Contact Info: Rick Osborn, Public Information Officer, Benton County Board of Commissioners
(541) 207-6911