Rainier sinkhole widens, officials baffled why

ODOT: "We're going to have to do something."

A sinkhole outside the Earth-n-Sun stove shop in Rainier, Jan. 1, 2016 (KOIN)
A sinkhole outside the Earth-n-Sun stove shop in Rainier, Jan. 1, 2016 (KOIN)

RAINIER, Ore. (KOIN) — A widening sinkhole in Rainier has plenty of water running through it but no one knows where it’s going — and it’s costing ODOT about $10,000 a day to keep it from getting worse.

The sinkhole was spotted December 11, during the record-setting rainstorms that flooded parts of Oregon. It’s affecting the back of Earth and Sun stove shop , and co-owner Jewel Forrest said the water is “just going somewhere and they’re not sure where and how the damage, what it’s really caused.”

 ODOT spokesperson Lou Torres told KOIN 6 News they cannot allow this to continue to happen. “We’re going to have to do something.”

Jewel Forrest, the co-owner of Earth-n-Sun stove shop in Rainier, Jan. 1, 2016 (KOIN)
Jewel Forrest, the co-owner of Earth-n-Sun stove shop in Rainier, Jan. 1, 2016 (KOIN)

The sinkhole, he said, is coming from an old culvert that gave way. Nearby Fox Creek partially runs underground, so they are working to keep water levels there down.

“It’s pretty expensive,” Torres said. “We’ve got multiple pumps working there just really to try to keep the water from backing up to the road, to the highway. We’re trying to protect the highway is essentially what we’re trying to do.”

Between the pumps, the sinkhole and Highway 30 is the Earth-n-Sun stove shop. Forrest said it already flooded once. She continues to worry and said she feels unsafe.

“That is a dangerous sinkhole and it touches our building, which our building touches Highway 30, which is pretty severe traffic if something should go down,” she said.

Torres said it will take more time and expense to figure out the problem and a lot more money to fix it. That can’t come soon enough for Jewel Forrest.

“I was just at my store yesterday,” she said, “and it was the most disheartening place to be.”

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