The Flood of '96

by Mardi Keltner

Mission Report 96-05
Member Hours: 112

The waters were rising all over western Oregon when we got the first call from Emergency Services on the evening of Tuesday, February 6. The Emergency Operations Center in the Law Enforcement Building had been opened and needed to be staffed the following day. Jon and Mardi worked in Operations through the day on Wednesday, dispatching 4-wheelers to do evacuations and transport emergency workers, and answering questions from the increasingly nervous citizens of Corvallis.
By Thursday the 8th things were looking quite serious. The Willamette River was predictied to crest in Corvallis at 7.2 feet above flood stage, putting a sizable portion of South Corvallis under water. Eight members of CMRU responded, plus two of our 'old-timers', Maryanne Reiter and Mike McCann, who heroically drove from Eugene via Albany to join us. While Jon and Mardi continued to work in dispatch, Jeff, Doug, Jeremy, Mike, Maryanne, Wayne, Don, and Angela all set to work in the pouring rain to help with the evacuation of the residents of the South Corvallis Trailer Court on Twin Oaks Circle. They then moved out to Lincoln School to fill sand bags.
By Thursday evening the bleary-eyed Incident Command staff in the EOC were dealing with rising water of their own. The basement of the Law Enforcement Building was beginning to flood with 'water' from backed-up sewers. The doorway was sandbagged and hoses pumped a steady stream out onto the railroad tracks. Friday the 9th was more of the same with various members working in transport, evacuation, and dispatch. The EOC officially closed Friday evening and everyone gratefully went home for a good sleep.
Joy and Scott Linn acted as CMRU coordinators from their home, where they were confined due to illness. And Bob and Anne... well that's a story in itself. Up in Salem, Bob and Anne began by helping friends whose basement was filling with water. By Wednesday the creeks on either side of the Oregon Department of Transportation radio shop were raising rapidly. Bob and Anne first stacked sand bags, and then evacuated thousands of dollars of radio and computer hardware, before going back to work on their friend's basement. (Whew!)
I think we're all glad to be back to our 'regular' Oregon weather, where we measure the rain in inches rather than feet.

Participants: Jeremy Adolf, Dan DeBrito, Jeff Gent, Mardi Keltner, Susan Leach, Wayne Lederer, Don Lacer, Scott Linn, Mike McCann, Doug McGuire, Maryanne Reiter

Photo by Jeff Gent