The following article originally ran in the Friday, January 18, 1974, edition of the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

Waves generated by vehicles using flooded SW Third Street have damaged business buildings along the route, proprietors reported.

With floodwaters from the millrace receding from their depths up to three feet in places, storeowners and proprietors began digging out Thursday from under an accumulation of mudwater, broken glass and spilled oil, washed into their businesses by passing motorists.

Mrs. Raymond Dendy, of the Orchard Motel, 1562 SW Third St., said her sandbagged residence was relatively safe from the flood, but nine units of the motel were washed out.

"It was the traffic that got us," she said. "All those trucks and four-wheel drives kept pushing up waves into the units. It was mostly the sightseers and thrill seekers that did the damage."

Mrs. Dendy said the source of the problem lies with the millrace which cuts through the area.

"The city officials or whoever, are just going to have to clean out that millrace," she said.

The owner of a service station hit by the flooding said several large waves caused some minor damage with his inventory.

A loaded 600-pound milk case was lifted by one wave, carried 30 feet, and dumped on its face, the man said.

"There just wasn't much anyone could do about this," he said. "We just had too darned much water coming down the river.

"I think it's about time they got busy and build those dams up high on the river, near Hidden Valley and places like that. We need some flood control."

He asked not to be identified, and said many trucks and pickups came down the street too fast, pushing mounds of water before them.

Ron Laux, part-owner of Fred's Cycle City, 1935 SE Third St., blamed most of the damage on state highway department crews who let vehicles pass through the water-choked street.

"We had people at each end of the road, asking them to close the highway," he said. "All they could say was that it was a decision which had come from Salem. They never should have let vehicles through."

His establishment suffered a broken plate-glass window when one large swell smashed into the storefront.

"Most of this was done by sightseers running back and forth in four-wheel drives and pickup trucks," he said. "The commercial traffic was there, but they all went pretty slow."

Laux said the millrace is at the base of the problem.

"Crystal Lake Drive backed most of this up," he said. "There just isn't any drainage down there.

"I'll tell you, at one point some of us were willing to go down and blow that road out of there."

A Pacific Power and Light Co. spokesman said a power substation near SE Bridgeway Avenue was kept in operation by round-the-clock pumping of a control house.

The substation serves all of south Corvallis up to SW Western Boulevard.

A preliminary damage estimate today by county assessor C. Lloyd Anderson listed $250,000 in private property damage to south Corvallis.

In other reported damage, a Northwest Natural Gas Co. main passing under the flooded portion of SE Crystal Lake Drive was repaired after it ruptured when part of the road caved in.

The flood put a branch line of Southern Pacific Railroad out of service.

Train conductor Curtiss Dornhecker said he couldn't complete a run to Dawson Tuesday afternoon because of high water over the tracks beyond Alpine Junction.

Tuesday night a 100-foot section of track adjacent to the Marysville Golf Course club house was bowed out of shape from the force of Marys River runoff.

It was estimated that three or four carloads of ballast or rock would be needed to shove the track back into line and hold it firm.

This morning, John M. Gallaway, trainmaster at the Roadmaster's Office in Albany, said no damage estimate yet had been made. He said inspection of the damaged part would be made today.

The branch line operates from Corvallis to Dry Creek, Dawson, Monroe, Alpine Junction and Greenberry. Deliveries and pickups are made daily to such outlets as Brand S Division on SW Airport Road, Western Pulp Products, Venell Farms, Willamette Seed and Grain, Evans Products and McGraw Edison on Crystal Lake Drive and Goracke Bros. in Monroe.

Railroad officials hoped to have the line operating by next week unless weather conditions worsen.


Load comments