Rain causes erosion damage in metro area

Credit: KGW/Mark Hanrahan

Rain causes erosion damage in metro area

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on April 3, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 4 at 12:08 PM

PORTLAND -- Heavy rain is causing erosion damage and high water around the Portland Metro area and conditions won't be drying up anytime soon, according to KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill.

He warned that not only heavy rain, but also hail and lightning could arrive Wednesday.

A 55-foot section of the Springwater Corridor Trail that connects Sellwood with downtown Portland has eroded away.  Parks crews were using warning cones to keep bicyclists and walkers from coming near the lip of the washout. The dangerously high Willamette River awaits anyone who slips over the edge of the asphalt surface.

Portland Parks and Recreation spokesman Mark Ross told bikeportland.org that a geotechnical engineer was studying the problem and designing a fix. Ross said that the trail remains safe for users for now but did not rule out a closure.

Oregon State geologist Dr. Vicki McConnel said weeks of rain will saturate the soil and it's not uncommon for that to lead to dangerous erosion, landslides and falling trees. She said so far this year, the metro area has actually done well, considering the amount of rain.

"We haven’t had any major road closures for weeks at a time or anything, but that could change if continue to have all of this wet weather and it continues to go into the spring,” McConnel said.

Hill predicted that it would continue at least through the end of the week.

"Cold air behind the current weather front will bring scattered showers through the day on Thursday," Hill said. "Snow levels will drop below 2,000 feet the next few nights. By Thursday, rain will still be likely but with fewer showers and more sun breaks."

Check KGW forecast

The heavy rainfall and soggy ground that it created prompted Alpenrose Dairy to cancel its 50th annual Easter Egg hunt this coming Saturday. Kids usually race onto the baseball fields for this historic Portland ritual. This year, the fields were too muddy.

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March saw record rainfall for Portland, nearly eight inches.The previous record of 7.52 inches was set back in March of 1957.

More: Wettest March on record

Flood watches were in effect through the weekend for the Columbia, Willamette  and Pudding rivers. At Willamette Falls in Oregon City, the brown muddy water was churned to white. The Willamette River has flooded Clackamette Park. And along the Columbia River, part of a walking path east of the Interstate Bridge in Vancouver was flooded and blocked to pedestrians

More: Area rivers run high after rains

An elm tree fell on a woman walking through Portland's Park Blocks last month, uprooting from the saturated ground. The woman survived with injuries to her arm and shoulder.  Then a week later, a huge elm branch crushed a car in the South Park Blocks. No one was injured.

More: Limb crushes car on Park Blocks

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