A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

October: Back to normal on the river

Written October 27th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Looking upriver from the Broadalbin Street pier on the afternoon of Oct. 26.

What a difference a little rain makes — at least in the level and flow of the Willamette River.

All summer and early fall, the view across the river was mostly of a big gravel bar or two. People could wade into almost the middle of the stream without getting their seats wet.

Now, after just seven days of rain, mostly light rain, the river is back to its normal self.

From Oct. 21 through today (Oct. 27), the Hyslop weather station between Albany and Corvallis recorded 1.9 inches of rain. The heaviest total came on the 22nd, when the station recorded three-quarters of an inch over the previous 24 hours. The smallest totals were measured on the 21st and 23rd, just seven one-hundredths of an inch each time.

At the start of the week, the river level on the Albany gauge was 3 feet or thereabouts. The next day it was 4 feet, followed by 5 feet the day after that.

For the last three days, through 5 p.m. today, the level stayed right at 5 feet, and it’s forecast to stay there for the next few days.

There’s nothing overly remarkable about any of that. It happens more or less like this every time the seasons change from summer to fall, though this year the gravel bars appeared to be bigger than in summers past.

We hear a lot about the “climate crisis” and what we must change to adjust. You can find evidence of gradual climate changes all over the place, especially if you look over the last 150 years in western Oregon. But a “crisis”? Not the way we used to understand that term.

And when you look at the river now, “crisis” is not the word that springs to mind. (hh)

11 responses to “October: Back to normal on the river”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    The “crisis” is the climate change political agenda, not climate change.

  2. thomas earl cordier says:

    So the water fall does make hydropower renewable after-all. Yet still the nut
    jobs in Oregon gov’t claim only solar and wind as renewable. Which forces PP
    To foist green renewable energy more expensive power on the public. Total scam.

  3. Nate Conroy says:

    I am a dad here in Albany, grew up here, no desire to hold political office or control others. Because I love my family and Oregon, I do think I have a responsibility to take seriously any threat that might hurt my kids.

    One threat might be getting too worked-up about climate change and having too much spending and unsmart regulations which could mean some jobs are less available for my kids, and make some things more expensive (especially in the short term). I take that risk seriously.

    In a calm, not nut job way, I also think I owe it to my kids to take seriously the potential that their lives, including job prospects and their health, could be hurt if things like forest fires, drought, and ocean health get worse.

    As a person of faith, I feel called to believe that my neighbors who work down the road at OSU and study some of the trends we are seeing related to the climate are good people — I grew up with many of them! — simply trying to do good, careful, honest work the helps the community make smart choices, not trying to control or hurt people.

    I share Gordon and Hasso’s concern that the topic of climate change, especially words like crisis, could be used as a tool to get people agitated, on both political sides, in order to win elections. I also share Thomas’ concern that people need to have energy they can afford.

    It just seems like a disservice to my kids to start from a belief that my neighbors trying to protect their kids from risks created by a changing climate, even if mistakenly, are only motivated by power and money.

    Let’s not fall into the trap of demonizing the good people around us — this just seems unproductive. Instead, it seems much more helpful and patriotic to get specific about the consequences of different choices we could make, and not back down to the imperfect work of trying to build the best possible future for the communities we both want to protect.

    • thomas earl cordier says:

      Not trying to demonize people. I am pointing out that Oregon is already more than carbon neutral. Our forests consume more atmospheric carbon than all man-made activities produce. The hype from the greens about man-made doomsday predictions damages ability for discussions. Please answer the question –why would our gov’t not include hydropower as renewable. If rains don’t come potential energy supply is reduced. When rains come, the potential is restored. For me–the answer is that other interests want to create misinformation to distort public perception to support their agenda. They may not be the people who live on your street but they exist and are active. My pushback is based on reality not hype

  4. Ray Kopczynski says:

    I’ll trust the many words/articles from NOAA, National Geographic, Scientific American, et al – and even the article that came out today vs. living in a bubble and denying that change is rapidly accelerating on a global scale:


    • thomas earl cordier says:

      Once again obfuscate —that’s not the issue. the question is why Oregon falsely claims
      hydro power in not renewable energy.
      Reminds me of Fauci saying masks do not work and then explaining “well I did not want a run on masks because we might run out.”
      Typical gov’t distortion B.S which Ray participates in, even in City matters.

      • HowlingCicada says:

        Ray wasn’t responding to you, so how is he ducking “the issue?”

        I don’t know enough about the hydro issue to comment intelligently, but your point makes sense at first glance. There seems to be a lot of disagreement among environmentalists about both hydro and nuclear. My guess is that we will need both. Hydro probably wins over nuclear, at least economically in the U.S.

        Probably the biggest error made by climate change skeptics/deniers is misunderstanding the time scale. Things are going much faster in the wrong direction recently (250 years max, but especially the last 30 years) than they were in previous human history. Ray’s linked article gives some examples.

        Getting a little technical, whatever graphs you make about events in history, pay attention to the slopes.

    • TLH-ALB1 says:

      Ray, Ray, Ray…
      I would recommend investigating a little deeper than the “top soil” on the cycles of climate related to earth’s existence. At the very least, take the current narrative with a grain of salt.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        That “top soil” to which you allude has been rapidly accelerating over the past 150 years due to human hubris. We tip-toe around the edges and pat ourselves on the back that we’re accomplishing change. I see nothing slowing it down because “we” don’t have the political will to do so. So it’s status quo as far as I can tell, hyperbole notwithstanding… That suits all the current players that are going to be around when it really hits.

  5. Josh F Mason says:

    “We hear a lot about the “climate crisis” and what we must change to adjust. You can find evidence of gradual climate changes all over the place, especially if you look over the last 150 years in western Oregon. But a “crisis”? Not the way we used to understand that term.

    And when you look at the river now, “crisis” is not the word that springs to mind. (hh)”

    Hasso, I’ve enjoyed your writing on the many topics that you address however when it comes to your writing on climate change, your articles continue to be framed by skepticism, with understandings and conclusions typically based on your own local and myopic point of view instead of science. To continue to propagate climate change doubt in yourself and readers is irresponsible and to suggest the climate change crisis hullabaloo is the actual “crisis” at hand is downright wrong.

    With OP26 World Climate Summit taking place this week, perhaps now would be an apropos time to catch up with the rest of the world’s informed, educated and concerned. Or better yet, reach out to some of the knowledgable local scientists on staff at OSU. 


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