Aumsville tornado victims stunned by support

Aumsville tornado victims stunned by support

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on December 15, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 17 at 9:47 AM

AUMSVILLE, Ore. -- The streets were back open Thursday morning in Aumsville and much of the debris and torn out trees were cleaned up - but nerves were still very raw for people who live in the small town hit by a tornado Tuesday.

Photos: Tornado damage in Aumsville

The tornado first touched down on the edge of Nancy Smith's property, ripping a tree from the ground and puncturing the roof of her workshop. That may not sound like much, in terms of storm damage, but the emotional toll was still huge for her family.

"I was in a tornado when I was four years old, back in Wisconsin, and it picked up our house, carried it 500 feet and dropped it in a gully," Smith said. 

That Wisconsin tornado also took her mother's life. Soon after, her family moved to Oregon.

"When I was about five, we moved to Oregon. We didn't want to live where tornadoes were anymore," she recalled.

Across town in Aumsville, Elsie Sartin said she feels trapped, partly because her car was damaged.

"I can't go anywhere. I'm trapped. I felt that way yesterday, but they're supposed to come out and put a new windshield in," she said.

In all, 50 homes were damaged by the tornado and ten of them were later condemned. It also swept through the main street of the small town, tearing apart businesses.

Community pulling together

On Wednesday, City Administrator Marianne Hills said the town was moving from emergency services to operations work and that clean-up was "progressing well."

Hill noted many instances of neighbors helping neighbors and donations of cash and food coming in from around the state.

Latest: Tornado hits Aumsville

The city was focusing on continuity of business, assessment of damage, and residential and business cleanup.

In addition, jail inmate work crews were assisting in street clean up and power was completely restored.

Public works and Allied Waste brought in dumpsters to downtown for homeowners and volunteers and Marion County was taking charge of permits for roof restoration.

As a safety precaution, police have increased patrols in the area and emergency officials also created a hotline for people needing additional help or wanting to report looting or other crimes:

503 749-2189 and after hours at 503 749-2188

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