Crews clean up Northwest roads

PORTLAND — Road crews in Oregon and Washington worked Tuesday to clear debris from highways hit by landslides and high water during the holiday weekend.

Forecasters expected the rainfall to ease, lowering the flood risk.

In Oregon, three homes were destroyed and about 75 families were evacuated after the Sandy River washed over its banks and swept away a section of a road on Mount Hood.

"Lolo Pass (Road) is the river now," Myrna Hower, a resident of the area for more than 30 years, said to a neighbor by phone. "Your front yard is now water."

As Hower spoke, she watched her neighbor's house fall apart and trees get carried away.

No injuries were reported, and no one was missing in the area near the town of Welches, said Tim Heider, public information officer for Clackamas County.

Downed power lines left the area without electricity, and there was no cell phone service after a weekend combination of rain and melting snow that Heider called "a perfect storm of events" temporarily stranded about 150 to 250 people.

Heider said the area can only be accessed by foot or on ATV.

"The difficulty is all the debris has sort of rearranged the road up there," Heider told The Oregonian.

Nick Miller, 27, who has lived in the area for 20 years, said Lolo Pass Road, which connects to U.S. 26 near the town of Zigzag, said Lolo Pass "looks like an earthquake has hit. The roadway is completely rippled for about a half-mile."

On the Oregon coast, high winds left sand dunes piled up to the roof level of some homes in the town of Waldport. The homes are mostly vacation rentals but it could take weeks to dig them out of the dunes, KATU-TV reported.

In Newport on the coast, a sinkhole nearly swallowed two homes, leaving them dangling on a newly created cliffside, and forced the evacuation of a total of eight houses, KEZI-TV reported.

Crews were still working to clear mud and debris from a massive landslide that closed Oregon 6, which links Tillamook to the Portland metro area.

In Washington state, residents in the town of Index say that the swollen Skykomish River washed away a two-story cabin.

Don McDonald told KING-TV in Seattle that he "heard the noise, and the house just went into the river."

The television station says no injuries were reported when the riverside home was swept into the Skykomish's north fork Monday.

Near Cathlamet, Roger Davis was driving to the Columbia River to check on his boat when he saw an 8-foot-deep pile of dirt on the roadway 200 feet directly below his cliff-top house.

The 80-year-old retired contractor told The Daily News in Longview that he was amazed to discover 15 to 20 feet of his backyard had slid away during the heavy rains, leaving his house at the cliff's edge.

Heavy rain from the weekend, combined with snowmelt, pushed many rivers in Washington, Oregon and parts of Idaho over their banks. But forecasters were canceling flood warnings for most rivers on Tuesday.

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