A Small Reaction to a Big Flood

Oceana Mooney, Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






In 1894, the Willamette Valley suffered from flood that turned most of Portland into a five foot lake. The cause of this was an overflow of the Willamette River that was the center of the town at the time. There had been floods in the past, but this time the citizens dealt with it in a different way than most may think.

 

With the history of floods in the town, the residents had created ways to cope with it without closing businesses and evacuating. They decided to work around it by building sidewalks above the water to business instead, and people still continued to show up to shop. Others found ways around this by adapting with boat transportation. There is one account of a cook from the Bureau Saloon, who brought a rowboat into the kitchen to continue to cook.

 

Another odd instance was a downtown hotel, which had a false floor built so that people could continue on with their business as normal. Erickson’s Saloon opted to move to a houseboat to continue their sales. The owner was hosting a buffet that day, and customers most literally came by the boatloads.  People in Chinatown occupied their time by holding row boat races. It was eight blocks long. Others were fishing before the conditions of the water became too disgusting.

 

The calamity of the citizen was alarming, but with a devastating flood that swept houses from their foundations just 30 years prior, this flood was nothing. This previous flood had caused four deaths, and drowned many livestock. So the residents of the area had prepared for a flood of 2-3 feet so they had to adjust a bit to accommodate for the flood of 1894.

 

Now there are more than 20 major dams along the Willamette River to prevent flooding. In result, the most recent flood was in 1996 which was caused by a massive snow storm, and then a warm front moving through the valley.

 

Sources:

Killen, John. “Flood of 1996: Nearly Two Decades Ago, Huge Flood Struck Portland, Oregon City.” OregonLive.com, 10 Feb. 2015, www.oregonlive.com/history/2015/02/flood_of_1996_two_decades_ago.html.

 

Finn J. John — Sept. 16, 2009. “When the Waters Rise, Portlanders Raise the Sidewalks.” Offbeat Oregon History: Album Cover Art, offbeatoregon.com/H015_1894floods.htm.

“Willamette River.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_River.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • A Small Reaction to a Big Flood

    Arts & Entertainment

    Rad Places to Hike in Oregon

  • A Small Reaction to a Big Flood

    Arts & Entertainment

    The Childhood Graveyard: In Loving Memory of Sites We Once Adored

  • A Small Reaction to a Big Flood

    Arts & Entertainment

    Hamilton: An American Musical Coming to Portland

  • A Small Reaction to a Big Flood

    Arts & Entertainment

    Book Recommendations for People Who Don’t Like to Read

  • Announcements

    JCHS Announcements; May 21st

  • A Small Reaction to a Big Flood

    Local News

    AP News Report

  • Sports

    Middlefield Golf Course

  • Announcements

    JCHS Announcements; May 7th

  • Announcements

    JCHS Announcements; April 30th, 2018

  • A Small Reaction to a Big Flood

    Tinkle Time

    Tinkle Times; April 23rd

A Small Reaction to a Big Flood