Multnomah Falls Lodge reopens: ‘We are open for business’

Trails remain closed

Multnomah Falls partially reopened on Nov. 29, months after the Eagle Creek Fire, to the joy and amazement of people. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Back in September, when the Eagle Creek Fire was at its worst, Teri Zumbusch couldn’t envision a sight like the one she saw on Wednesday.

Zumbusch, a Portland native, said she prayed and prayed the fire wouldn’t destroy Multnomah Falls. On Wednesday, Zumbusch returned to the Oregon gem, which was partially reopened for the first time since the fire. And she was shocked.

“This is what we love,” she said. “This is our home — where we love. I really thought it would look a lot worse than this.”

The U.S Forest Service opened the lodge at 9 a.m., and Zumbusch made sure she was one of the first to see it. The opening includes the lodge, front plaza, and the I-84 parking lot. The site has been closed since September 4.

“I’m just so very grateful and you get here and it looks like this,” Zumbusch said, “and you go thanks. Thanks to everybody that worked so hard because this is precious.”

Many people were concerned with the state of the falls while the fire happened. Carl Ness said he was overcome with grief and concern at the potential destruction to the fire. Like Zumbusch, he too returend to see the falls on Wednesday with his own eyes.

“I’m amazed — really amazed,” Ness said. “If not for the creek, if not for wind, if not for a lot of things, and the help of the strong willed people in the fire department, it would’ve been gone.”

The trails will remain closed until Shady Creek Bridge can be replaced and a complete trail condition assessment has been done. Damage to the lodge itself was limited to smoke damage and minor repairs but measures were needed to protect the facility from falling rocks, trees and other debris.

The next phase of reopening will be the lower viewing platform of the falls.

But for now, business is back at the falls. Rick Buck, the owner of the Multnomah Falls Company, said they had their first sale today: a bag of taffy, purchased by a person with ODOT. Things are getting back to normal.

“We are open for business,” Buck said with a huge smile. “We are open for business. This is absolutely fantastic.”