UPDATE 12/30/2008, 10:05 a.m.: The Oregon Association of Nurseries has issued a press release about the storm damage, available here.
Reports of storm damage to Oregon nurseries are beginning to trickle in, and so far it appears it would be difficult to overstate the extent of the damage from the ice and cold, particularly to greenhouse operators.
I got off the phone with Neal Lucht of Northwest Transplants Inc., a Molalla, Ore.-based seedling producer who, pre-storm, was operating 84 production greenhouses. Of these 84 greenhouses, 72 collapsed under the weight of roughly 13 inches of ice and snow (based on the amount measured on the ground). That’s six out of every seven greenhouses. Lucht put it quite simply: “We got leveled.” He estimated the damage at $150,000 and I don’t believe he was including the value of the seedlings. He reports that his hardy field stock made it through the snow and ice just fine. That’s small consolation.
We’re hearing reports from other operators of similar damage. The Oregon Association of Nurseries is working with state and federal officials to formulate an effective response to this significant and widespread damage nurseries have sustained. We will post information on this blog as it becomes available, including information about resources nurseries can tap into as they assess their damage and seek answers. The OAN also plans to survey members soon in order to tabulate damage and provide officials with accurate and complete information. If you have anything to share, please let us know.