Portland families struggle to help loved ones in storm-battered Texas

Local ties to harvey's destruction

PORTLAND, Ore. - While Hurricane Harvey may be close to 2,000 miles away, the disaster is hitting close to home for some in Portland.

Ben Partenheimer, who lives in Northeast Portland, was visiting his brother in Rockport, Texas, last week as Hurricane Harvey approached. “[I] went to go to my brother’s house and take a nap. And then, he comes in and goes: ‘Mandatory evacuation,’” said Partenheimer. 

Both he and his brother made it out of the area in time.

Rockport, however, sustained heavy damage from Harvey. According to reports, one person died there related to the storm. 

The home of Partenheimer’s brother was damaged as well as a restaurant he owns. 

It wasn’t immediately clear how bad the damage was or when the restaurant would reopen. As it's the family’s main source of income, Partenheimer described the situation as very serious for his brother and sister-in-law. “It’s been crazy,” he said. 

He’s since started an online fundraiser to help his brother’s family. “They were worried about missing a day of work.”

Meanwhile in Portland, Robin Ebbin was glued to her laptop watching live coverage of flooding related to Harvey. 

Ebbin’s 28-year-old son lives in Sugarland, close to Houston. “I’m worried. I’m concerned. My friends and I are praying,” said Ebbin. 

As of Sunday evening, her son was doing well and the apartment complex he lives at hadn’t flooded. 

But with more rain forecast for the area, Ebbin was warning her son to be prepared. 

“My nerves. It’s very hard to watch this,” she said. “You just cannot predict what Mother Nature is going to do. You just can’t.”

© 2017 KGW-TV


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