the great oregon storm. alsea, january 2012.

This morning, at John Boy’s, a man walking in overheard my conversation with the cashier-“so the road is gone?” I asked. She replied, “yes, 34 is a landslide! but the alsea falls is open, but there are trees down.” The man walking by said, “Yes, the terrible loggers- the terrible loggers will clear that road.”

Twelve miles west of town, the road is gone. Four miles east- the road is gone. There is a side road, over the falls, covered in downed trees. The last few days have been interesting here.

“ORE34, 4 miles East of Alsea

Incident #: 121760
Lanes Affected: (Westbound) 1 Lane , Shoulder (Eastbound) 1 Lane 
Comments: A landslide has the highway closed, use alternate route.
Public Contact: ODOT/NWTOC Salem
Last Updated: 01/20/2012 07:43 am”

The first night, I thought it was going to snow. As the sun set, the fog settled in, and the first flakes came. I knew we were in for it, in a way I’d been waiting for it. By nine pm, the woods around the house were creaking, groaning, and shattering under the weight. It sounded like a gun battle. I thought, at first, that maybe the zombies had come- or that some neighbors were having a shotgun party. I got my revolver out, and slept.

In the morning, the snow was thick. Everywhere I looked giant limbs were lying in it. The trees had taken a beating, and a few of the deciduous trees were broken almost in half. The doug firs that shelter my back yard had lost a lot of branches- many of them on my roof. I went into Alsea, and the store had no power. My house had no power. My car slipped in the snow- then it began to rain.

It’s still raining now- not the torrent it was that day, but the usual Oregon dribble. The rain at first though was heady- huge drops, constant. When I first moved to Alsea the water was high, but now it was raging. In Corvallis the roads had flooded, and a friend of mine living in Monroe area said they were pretty much cut off by the flooding.

This morning they declared the county a disaster area.

In my town, there’s lots of washouts. The road right by my house is about ten inches deep in places. There are tree branches all over the place, and you can see where people woke early and got out their chainsaws to clean up a bit.

Since I am stranded here, for the time being, with the roads gone, I think I’ll probably do some art- at least until the sun goes down. The power has been on and off the last few days, so I’m hoping it stays running through tonight.

I’ll post more as events unfold. Here’s the rest of the photos I took today, and a few from friends in nearby towns.

I’m going to post as many photos as I can find from locals, check back later as I will update here in this post. Click through for the rest.