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Water Under the Bridge — the storms of 2007 and 1967

From the pages of Astoria’s daily newspapers

Published on December 6, 2017 7:30AM

‘The worst disaster ever to hit Cannon Beach,’ Mayor Gerald Gower said after the flood subsided and left logs and other debris over much of the small resort city.

The Daily Astorian/File

‘The worst disaster ever to hit Cannon Beach,’ Mayor Gerald Gower said after the flood subsided and left logs and other debris over much of the small resort city.

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10 years ago this week — 2007

Power was still out to thousands of homes and businesses on the North Coast Tuesday after a mega-storm with winds of up to 100 mph laid waste to the region Sunday and Monday.

Some old timers said it was almost as bad as the Columbus Day storm in 1962 — and certainly a longer duration.

The sustained blast of bad weather left a swath of devastation in its wake in Clatsop and Washington’s Pacific counties with scores of severely damaged storefronts in Astoria and Seaside. Hundreds of homes lost roofs and tiles when the sustained winds of 85 mph buffeted the region for several hours.

As highways gradually reopen and power companies work to energize local substations, the worst of the storm appears to have passed.

However, 9-1-1 phone lines remain down, cold weather is on the way, and it could still be a week before all residential power is restored, county leaders heard at an Emergency Operations Center meeting Tuesday morning.

“The heat of the crisis is over,” said Astoria Mayor Willis Van Dusen. “Now we need endurance. It will be several days until things are back to a comfortable level.

The “Voices in the Dark” — the local radio stations and broadcasters who have guided us through the “Storm of ‘07” and its aftermath — have definitely proven their worth this week.

On the FM dial, they’ve been there all along.

Local public radio station KMUN 91.9 of Astoria “stepped up to the plate,” according to station manager Dave Hammock.

And despite a giant tree falling into the building, plus numerous technical problems, the station was able to broadcast 24/7, with their staff of volunteers providing much-needed news and information.

“When something like this happens, it’s not about being the alternative radio station or diversity — for this week, we are a primary communications conduit,” Hammock said. “And we take that responsibility very, very seriously.”

50 years ago — 1967

“The worst disaster ever to hit Cannon Beach” pounded ashore Saturday, flooding that city of 520 persons with water three feet deep for a period of six hours.

Gov. Tom McCall is expected to decide this afternoon whether to declare the area a disaster zone, authorizing emergency state services.

Water began creeping into low-lying areas about 9 a.m. on the rising tide, then rapidly filled the downtown area with three feet of water. Battering waves undermined seawalls and sent huge logs three to four blocks inland. Logs and other debris went through beach front windows.

One motel manager reported $15,000 damage. Other areas of the county were flooded also, according to reports. Water overflowed many dikes.

Heavy seas crumpled a lifeboat on the wheelhouse deck of the huge oil tanker Utah Standard during its entry into the Columbia River Thursday afternoon on the ebb tide.

Bar pilot Capt. R.W. Gibson said water from breakers on the bar washed “over the top” of the midships superstructure and described the crossing as one of the worst he has made in the past two or three years. The Standard Oil company tanker was headed for Portland and arrived there at 11:30 p.m.

Flood damage from Saturday’s storm was being assessed Monday and Tuesday with a report from Clatsop County commission chairman Hiram Johnson the damages could reach a $250,000 total loss in the county.

Bulk of the loss was suffered in Cannon Beach, hardest hit by the churning seas and three-foot flood.

Monday afternoon, Gov. Tom McCall declared Clatsop County a disaster area for emergency loan purposes.

NEHALEM – Nehalem suffered its worst flooding over the weekend since 1933, when all bridges were washed out and water reached door knob level.

75 years ago — 1942

The long-awaited mileage rationing finally went into effect today, and rationing headquarters in the old city hall were crowded with applicants for supplementary ration cards for trucks and passenger cars and by gasoline and oil company representatives who also registered today.

An emergency meeting of the Astoria school board was called for 3 p.m. today to tackle problems arising from ashes of Astoria high school, which was gutted by fire shortly after 1 a.m. The flames that ruined the $100,000 plant temporarily left 530 students educationally homeless. Problems of rebuilding the school and meanwhile arranging school facilities for the students face the board.



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