Dramatic rainfall causes floods, landslides, road closures

Wet weather expected throughout the week

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Heavy rains turned streets in the Portland area into creeks on Monday, interrupting bus and light rail service and forcing the evacuation of at least one neighborhood.

Flooding caused the closure of numerous roads, and heavy rains triggered landslides.

Johnson Creek flooded to its highest level ever on Monday night. The creek’s water flooded Tenino Place apartments at SE 24th and Umatilla.

Some residents evacuated.

Firefighters helped residents of Tenino Place apartments evacuate due to flooding. (KOIN)
Firefighters helped residents of Tenino Place apartments evacuate due to flooding. (KOIN)

Firefighters said people should avoid the water overflowing from Johnson Creek.

“Don’t come in contact with the water, it’s polluted,” Portland Fire Lt. Rich Tyler said. “It’s water runoff from everything you could imagine like driveways and streets.”

The rain also caused Portland’s sewer system to overflow into the Willamette River. Officials said people should avoid contact with the river for at least 48 hours because of bacteria in the water.

KOIN CLOSINGS AND DELAYS

A big sinkhole developed on a street in Gresham.

Crews were pumping water from an elementary school in Gresham, as well as cleaning up hallways and classrooms. Flooding continued, causing Kane at 257 near Mount Hood Community College to close.

Sidewalks were closed as well as a section of the road washed out. The road continued to wash out, forcing the community college to close early Monday and to stay closed through Tuesday.

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The parking lot at Multnomah Falls, a popular tourist stop in the Columbia River Gorge east of Portland, was closed after a creek overflowed its banks.

In Lake Oswego several cars were stranded in high water.

Residents were evacuated from a neighborhood in Clackamas County, and the American Red Cross was opening a shelter there.

Drivers on Hwy 99W at the St. Joseph overpass, Dec. 7, 2015 (Courtesy: Marcus Larson/News-Register)
Drivers on Hwy 99W at the St. Joseph overpass, Dec. 7, 2015 (Courtesy: Marcus Larson/News-Register)

Several school districts in northwest Oregon sent students home early and canceled afternoon and evening activities. The Oregon Zoo in Portland also closed.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for much of northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. It’s in effect through Thursday afternoon, but rain likely won’t stop until the week’s end, forecasters said.

Excessive rainfall could lead to a rise in area rivers, weather officials said.

Officials say residents should avoid traveling and should watch for flash floods, mudslides, falling trees and power outages. They are also advised to keep children and pets away from floodwaters and avoid walking and driving through high water. Residents whose property is at risk for flooding should use sandbags.

The rains are caused by several low-pressure systems moving through the region, one after the other, forecasters said.

The region got 2.75 inches of rain since midnight Monday, the most on record since November ’96.

KOIN 6 Meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke says Portland broke the all-time record Monday for daily rainfall. The region got 2.75 inches of rain since midnight Monday, the most on record since November 19, 1996.

In Multnomah County, a landslide at Corbett Hill Road near Reed Road closed all the lanes in the early afternoon Monday.

In Clackamas County, firefighters went door-to-door checking on people after the floods came through.

The Clackamas County Emergency Operations Center will be staffed through 9 p.m. Tuesday. Anyone in the county who needs help can call 503.655.8224.

Throughout the metro area flooding caused problems. More wet weather is expected throughout the week.

A FLOOD WATCH remains in effect until Thursday in western Oregon.

A series of storm systems will move into the Pacific Northwest over this week and bring additional rain and wind to the area. Flooding could be possible as rainfall totals can reach to 3 to 7 inches or more along areas of the coast and Coast Range through the next couple of days, with 2 to 4 inches possible in the valley.

Some schools and businesses are delayed or dismissing early. Get the latest on the KOIN.com Closings page.

TriMet buses and MAX trains were experiencing delays as well. 

Stay in touch with the PDX Weather app — everything you need to know at your fingertips.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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