Manzanita recovers one year after tornado

Manzanita one year after the tornado

MANZANITA, Ore. -- About a year after the powerful tornado that ripped through the small coastal town of Manzanita, life has returned to normal, for the most part.

Nearly all of the 128 homes damaged are repaired. But just a block off the town’s main drag, a hammer can be heard.

It's Tom Anderson working carefully to take apart a family vacation home badly damaged by the storm.
The house is 100 years old. Anderson’s family bought it 50 years ago. It's built with massive old growth timbers and beams that he’s carefully removing so that someone else can use them in the future.

He remembers arriving here from San Francisco after hearing about the tornado.

“It was kind of a shock. We'd spent all summer painting it. We spent three months painting it. We were home for a month and we heard about a tornado, our phone started ringing,” he said.

The tornado hit Oct. 14, 2016 at around 8 a.m. It ripped the roof off the home.

Tom and his wife Christine are spending months taking the home apart. They’re not sure what they’ll do with the land.

Like many in Manzanita, they've felt the community's warmth after the destruction.

“Neither of us have lived in Oregon for 40 years. So it was kind of like a coming home and integrating ourselves with the culture. So it’s been OK. It’s been a positive experience,” he said

Just up the street, massage therapist Christina Pykel is thinking over the last year. She owns a company called Longevity Massage and is happy to be back in her building. Two trees fell on it during the tornado.

“Mostly I think I felt in awe of nature and really touched by how everybody came together,” she said.

The tornado started out as a water spout over the ocean. By the time it hit land, its winds hit speeds of 130 mph.

It destroyed roughly a third of the trees in town. And it seemed to destroy the building that held the Moxie Fair Trade company.

But on Friday, it was open. Owner Sarah Simmons' business survived, but she’s not completely over the sights she saw at her store on that first day a year ago.

“It was so shocking and just so devastating," she said.

But friends helped her raise $23,000 dollars in a GoFundMe account, which helped her survive until the insurance money kicked in.

And it turned out the building could be repaired after all.

“I’m just so grateful. I'm so grateful to be home. I’m so grateful our little moxie is home, and I’m so grateful all of us are back in and its beautiful,” she said.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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