By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
One person has died and dozens more had to be airlifted to safety after flood waters ravaged Umatilla County in northeast Oregon over the weekend.
Floodwaters are receding slowly.. and the national guard is on the scene..
The flooding began Thursday when the Umatilla River jumped 8 feet over it’s banks and ran into low lying areas. Dozens of homes in the Pendleton and Umatilla areas were swamped; several were swept off their foundations.
A 62 year old woman who refused to leave her home in a remote part of the county was found dead on Sunday.
More than 50 people were rescued by helicopter.
Interstate 84 was closed in both directions all day Friday, Saturday and most of Sunday between Exits 182 and 188. Crews opened one lane in each direction late Sunday night.
Pendleton area Dustin Breshears, says he’s lucky because while his home didn’t get flooded, it nearly got hit by a landslide.
“The slide was just in the driveway. It knocked our propane tank down and around and just moved a lot of stuff. Our greenhouse is gone but we aren’t growing anything now, so…”
Breshears used an ATV to travel up the nearly destroyed Bingham Road into the mountains east of Pendleton to reach his home and check on his neighbors. Until the road is rebuilt and power is restored, Breshear’s wife and 5 children are staying with family in Pendleton where, he says, the damage isn’t nearly as bad.
“We lost chickens but it’s sad to say, it wasn’t human life and we will recover as far as that goes.” Brashears said.
Two Red Cross shelters in Pendleton and Walla Walla hosted 89 overnight stays and served nearly 2,000 meals since opening Thursday.
Four Red Cross volunteers from Bend are among many who are helping people who lost everything in the flood.