Swollen Willamette River full of debris, causing flooding

High, fast Willamette river causing flooding

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Local rivers are still running very high and fast. They're also full of debris.

Right now a river is running right through Willamette Mission State Park in Gervais.

But it's a river that's not supposed to be there.

There's supposed to be a road instead. But that road disappeared underneath rushing floodwater from the swollen Willamette River. It's where Tammy Moody and Elise Strauss normally walk their dogs, but not this week.

"We had to turn around down there because it was flooded," said Moody.

On Friday, the park had to shut two of its gates because of all the flooding.

It's something it's had to do a handful of times already this year with all the rain we've had.

But this week, the melting mountain snow is adding to the problem.

"With the snow pack and the heavy amount of rain we've had, it's really caused the river to rise," explained park manager Kevin Strandberg.

Meantime, downriver in Portland, the concern is not so much how high the Willamette is, but all the stuff that's in it.

Multnomah County river patrol says it's seeing a lot of large logs and debris in the river right now.  Both are serious hazards for boaters.

Strandberg has a warning for anyone heading out onto the Willamette river this week in a boat or not.
 
"It doesn't look like there's a lot of force there but there's quite a bit of force in the river and the water is cold," he said. "So when you get in that water it's going to be colder than you think it will be... so be prepared for that."

Strandberg says the river level in Gervais has gone down about four feet in just the last two days.

He expects the roads in the park will be open by Thursday.

He points out, you can still walk or hike into the park. You just have to park outside of it.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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