CORVALLIS, BENTON COUNTY, Ore. (KMTR) -- Heavy rains bearing down on Benton County have caused landslides, evacuations, flooding and record breaking river levels throughout Corvallis and several other surrounding towns.
Corvallis and Benton County’s local governments declared a “local emergency – disaster” for the city and county Thursday, January 19th, 2012. For many residents the phrase “it’s the worst I’ve ever seen” comes to mind.
Some of the biggest problems for Benton County residents came northwest of Corvallis in the hills near Lewisburg. 22 residents along Rosewood Lane and Rosewood Place were forced to evacuate on Thursday, when a landslide threatened several properties.
Kris DeJong was one of the last homeowners to evacuate. Her home sits at the bottom of the hill.
“It's by far the worst I've ever seen, I mean we've had water, but nothing like this,” said DeJong.
After five years in the same home, it is the first time that the water has forced DeJong to leave. Before diverting it from against her home and some receding, the water was causing major problems.
“It was coming down, hitting my foundations and channeling as a river cutting away the dirt and rock from my foundation,” said DeJong.
“There's already been a landslide up top, the water's coming across Rosewood, and unfortunately, my property is in the path,” said DeJong.
As the debris comes down the hill, a small metal fence is all that is blocking tons of debris from flowing into DeJong’s backyard.
The landslide is near the top of the hill. One of the residents in a home on Rosewood Lane woke up in the middle of the night to their burglar alarm. The alarm was set off by a landslide, which moved the house on its foundation.
“Ideally the rain dies down,” said DeJong, “That's what I'm praying for."
It's unknown when the neighborhood will reopen. Emergency responders have said to some residents when there is "less rain" they'll be able to go back up.
Down lower at Crescent Valley High School, high water in a nearby creek running through the middle of the high school flooded a footbridge on Thursday. The high waters forced the school to close its quad, but did not affect classes.
The heavy rain has given Crescent Valley a second purpose though as an evacuation shelter. Some families will sleep there on Thursday night.
“We have the space, we have the heat, we have the food and we're happy to help,” said Erin Prince, Superintendent of Corvallis’ Public Schools.
Cindy Perdicaro is one of the residents that will likely stay at CVHS. Cindy left her home in the morning, only learning of the evacuation when she got to the point of no return.
“I am worried that we're not going to be able to get back for a couple days,” said Perdicaro.
Fortunately, Cindy’s husband was able to feed their cats and pack some items, but the preps will only last for about one day. Cindy found out that her cell phone was not signed up for Benton County’s Emergency Alert System. Because of that, she did not get a call from the Sheriff’s Office about the evacuation.
“Had we gotten that call we would have had a bit more time and notice to get ready,” said Perdicaro.
As rain keeps falling, concerns remain for many neighbors in the Rosewood neighborhood, including Beth Marszewski. With her husband Craig and two sons, the family evacuated from a house near the top of the Rosewood Lane hill. The family says it is glad to have each other.
“You see people on the news and they say 'oh, you know all you really care about is getting everybody out...’ And that's really true, it's just a matter of making sure everybody's O.K,” said Marszewski.
Another Benton County neighborhood, the Lancaster Street area and residents along Oxford Circle are under a voluntary evacuation. If residents leave, they will not be allowed to come back until the all clear is given.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office has closed several roads in the area as a result of the high water. Here is a list of the road closures in Benton County as of Thursday evening, January 19th, 2012:
n Highway 34 at milepost 45 to 47 near Alsea.
n Bellfountain Road at the bridge south of Alpine.
n Bellfountain Road south of the town at RR Crossing.
n Fern Road and Chapel Drive.
n Chapel Drive to 15th Street in Alsea at the river split.
n Grange Hall Road.
n Harris Road at the steel span bridge.
n Hoskins Road from Marys River Road to Shingle Creek Road.
n Greenberry Road at Highway 99.
n 53rd Street in Corvallis at the railroad crossing.
n Hoskins Road at milepost 45.
n Honey Grove Road at milepost 2.
n Rosewood Drive north of Corvallis.
n NW Niagara Road.
n Alpine Road at Muddy Creek.
n Bruce Road.
n Marys River Road.
n Picadilly Circle.
Here is a list of road closures in Corvallis as of Thursday evening:
n Conifer Street near Cheldelin Middle School.
n 53rd Street at the railroad crossing.
n Tunison Road from Leonard to Pickford Streets.
n Brooklane Street at Dunawi Bridge.
n Lilly Avenue at 3rd Street.