Vernonia Flood of December 3, 2007

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Except for a muddy street, and casual dress of office employee things look almost normal out front.
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But gosh, it's not tidy out back and what's with the masked person
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The Office manager is in the work order department instead of at her desk getting the budget read for the Monday Budget meeting.
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This is her office, but she's not there
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Something's amiss here. The usual cheerful office staff isn't here either. That was one of them in the first photo. I don't even see the desk. OH! OH! I saw the company copy machine in the second picture beside the hand truck. Wonder if that means that the Budget report will be late?
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Well, I'll check the kitchen, maybe they are hanging out there. Nope, not there either.
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Well, I hear thing popping in the vault. Nope, Just a few wet file poppingout of their cabinets.
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Well here we are, the emergency operations office and 24 hour dispatch center. How embarrassing, the dispatch center looks a little grimy, but it has a radio in it that works and a cell phone, and that is what matters besides the reclining seat. All the landline telephones in the community failed when the exchanges flooded so the cell phone with spotty coverage and the company radio are the two key items. In the background is the new office trailer that is going to serve as a the temporary headquarters for WOEC until happier days come.

Waters of the Nehalem River began rising rapidly Monday Morning December 3, 2007. There was no public warning or river forecast, rather someone noticed that water was entering the substation behind the cooperative office. As a little used company pickup was parked in a parking area joining the substation an employee was set to move the pickup. It had a bit of water around it, and it wouldn't start so the employee returned to the office to get someone to help him tow it out of the lot and by the time that was done water levels had risen to the door sill on the pickup. Waters continued to rise rapidly and were shortly to the back step of the West Oregon Electric Office, a place where they have shown up before and stopped. At that point a 'secure, preserve and evacuate' plan was put in high gear. Office Manager Darlene McLoed and several others had worked for the cooperative when a similar flood event had occurred in 1996 and had that experience to draw on with respect to what was important, and what worked and what didn't. Some things such as the computer server had been 'flood proofed' by bolting them to the ceiling after the 2006 flood. Other critical records were quickly stuffed in the attic storage area.

A mistaken assumption (made in 2006 but not this time) that tables and desk tops would be 'high enough' was not made. Shortly after the water began entering the building it was evacuated. By the time the last employees were evacuated there was as much as 6 inches of water in the office. After evacuating the last of the employees, General Manager Marc Farmer went back through the building to make a final check and lock the doors, and water was knee deep as he left. The final Flood height in the office was 53" of water. Some Photos taken on Friday December 7, 2007 follow.

- - Updated 04/19/2008
- - Updated 12/07/2007
- - Updated 03/23/2008