Benton County declared disaster area

Benton County declared disaster area

Benton County declared disaster area

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by Jeff Thompson, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on January 19, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 20 at 11:31 AM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Corvallis and other areas of Benton County were declared disaster areas, officials said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College shut down their campuses. School districts in Lebanon, Scio, and Corvallis were also closed. Sweet Home opened two hours late.

Photos: Flooding in Corvallis

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

Waterways in Benton County were reaching near-record flood levels, officials said.

Late Thursday afternoon, governor Kitzhaber also declared a state of emergency for Marion, Coos and Lincoln Counties.

More: Oregon Gov. declares state of emergency

The Mary’s River was already at a record stage Thursday afternoon, according to Kathie Dello of Oregon State University.

"It reached 21.41 feet Thursday morning," she said, "breaking the old record of 20.9 feet, and causing flooding in Corvallis and Philomath."

She said most of the waterways now reporting high levels were at near-record lows several days ago.

“We needed the rain,” she said, “but not all at once.”

Corvallis and Benton County officials were reminding residents not to call 911 unless they were reporting public safety emergencies. People reporting high water and flooding were asked to call (541) 766-6821.

Officials also warned Benton County residents not to drive into high water in the streets.

"The depth of water can not be judged and it takes only about 18 inches of water to cause most cars to float," said Rick Osborn with the Benton Co. Board of Commissioners.

Benton County police said deputies in a boat plucked a 35-year-old woman from the roof of a Ford Mustang she drove into floodwaters four feet deep.

Police said the water carried the car from a roadway 300 feet into a farm field Friday morning and rose above the car's handles. A sheriff's spokesman says she scrambled atop the car and spent more than 30 minutes there.

Click for more information from the City of Corvallis

Local sandbagging sites were set up at the following locations and residents were asked to bring their own shovels:

Wilson School, 2601 NW Satinwood

Osborn Aquati, 1940 NW Highland

Grant Ave Baptist Church, 1625 NW Grant Ave

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 Pl

Benton County Public Work, 360 SW Avery Ave

Philomath Public Works, 1515 Willow Ln

Benton County Fairgrounds, 110 SW 53rd St. Corvallis

KGW Portland weather app and more

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