TURNER, Ore. -- With flood waters receding, residents began taking stock of damage in soaked cities across the Willamette Valley as officials warned that more rain was coming, along with powerful winds that could rip trees from saturated soil.
Gov. John Kitzhaber paid a visit to the hard-hit town of Turner, where 100 homes were damaged or still underwater. By morning, much of the water had crawled from city streets back into the creek that coughed it up.
Background: Turner residents evacuated after heavy flooding
Dry streets belied a morning of terror barely 24 hours earlier, when emergency crews conducted 55 boat rescues as water filled streets, homes and businesses.
You just watch the water rise hour by hour, and there's nothing you can do about it, Mayor Paul Thomas said. It's a long, slower sort of torture.
Kitzhaber praised rescue efforts and said the state would work with local and federal officials to try and get disaster funding to Turner and other communities hard-hit by flooding. Moments of adversity highlight a strong sense of community as neighbors band together to respond, the governor said.
It's really remarkable, and I think it's a real credit to Oregonians, that they respond to help each other like this, Kitzhaber said.
Nancy Ko saw that spirit first-hand. From the safety of higher ground, she watched a live feed from a security camera as water rose over the curb and lapped against the front door of the convenience store and cafe she owns just feet from Mill Creek.
Out of the blue, five strangers showed up and plopped sandbags in front of the door, preventing damage that she believes would have otherwise been far more severe.
Just a godsend, said Ko, a Korean immigrant who has owned the store for six years. Good person, amazing persons.
On Friday morning, employees and friends helped Ko bleach the floors and clean up her store. Her lottery machines were ruined, but most of the merchandise was on higher shelves and was saved, she said.
A 35-year-old woman who drove a Ford Mustang into 4 feet of flood waters near Corvallis was plucked from the roof Friday by deputies who arrived by boat to rescue her.
The Mustang floated 300 feet from a road into a farm field on the west side of the rising Willamette River. The driver, Olivier Sanchez Cisneros, scrambled to the roof, and deputies summoned by a 911 call arrived more than 30 minutes later, the Benton County sheriff's office said.
It was one of a number of dramatic rescues in western Oregon, left sodden by as much as 10 inches of rain in a day and a half that brought region's worst flooding in 15 years. A young mother and her 1-year-old son died after the car they were riding in Wednesday sank in a creek.
The National Weather Service lifted flood warnings around the Santiam and Jefferson rivers but said several other rivers remained at flood stage, including the Marys, Pudding, Luckiamute and Yamhill.
Forecasters expected more rain in the valleys and snow in the mountains through the weekend. Strong winds also were expected. Authorities said winds could topple trees from saturated soil, potentially blocking roads or knocking out power.
The American Red Cross had four shelters open Friday evening. Marion County officials said sandbags were still available at several locations.
Deb Holbert returned to her home in Scio on Friday to find her hardwood floors still floating in the water. It was the third flood since her family moved in 15 years ago, she said, but she's pleased she was able to save her family pictures.
In a few years, Holbert said, this will be a memory.
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