Periods of heavy rainfall caused flooding in Oregon’s northern, middle and southern Willamette Valley during the early days of April. Affected areas experienced extensive damage, but community members have rallied behind some growers to help with the recovery efforts.
Rivers Edge Nursery, a landscape shrub grower in Junction City, was hit hard by raging Willamette River floodwaters on Monday, April 8. “Within a 30-minute span, we went from dry to 18-plus inches of water raging through the nursery,” he stated in an email to Oregon Association of Nurseries. “I had just loaded plants out for a landscaper, went to get a sandwich and looked out to see water in alleyways. I went out to see what had happened and saw plants being swept out of houses.”
Most of the nursery was underwater for two days. Photos from the scene are on the OAN site.
At Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, Oregon, Jay W. Pscheidt, professor of botany and plant pathology, reported that about half of the university’s 50-acre Botany Field Lab was underwater as of Wednesday, April 10. With area roads closed by flooding, OSU researchers were initially unable to assess the damage.
The water levels of the valley’s rivers began to recede after Wednesday. Campbell told KMTR-TV in Eugene he believes the flooding was caused by an Army Corps of Engineers decision to release water from a nearby dam, which caught him off guard.
The flood damage at Rivers Edge Nursery was not as bad as initially suspected, but still significant. The flood waters damaged the nursery’s irrigation system and roadways, and exposed the footings for several of his greenhouses. Most of his containerized plants were still there and intact, though many were swept out of greenhouses and upended into piles. Some of the plants will need to be repotted and re-fertilized; others are too damaged for that. Until the products bloom, identifying plants will be difficult.
On Saturday, April 13, about 30 volunteers — mostly kids and parents of kids Campbell has coached over the past 26 — organized a work party to clean up the nursery and perform repairs. “I’m very happy to say the loss will be a fraction of what it could have been,” he said. Costs to return to normal will be substantial, but with the support of many generous people, we have a fighting chance.”
A gofundme campaign to help the Campbells has been set up by friends and supporters in the Junction City area and has already raised more than $15,000 towards a $20,000 goal.
KATU (Portland, Oregon) has more about the story.