A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

On Spring Hill Drive on Wednesday afternoon

Written April 10th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

[youtube video=”cJaIJrPpn58″]

A short section of Spring Hill Drive in North Albany was under water Wednesday, but not so deep that the Albany Fire Department could not drive through it to transport someone to the hospital.

When I heard that Spring Hill was closed at Quarry Road because of high water, I worried that this week’s flooding might rival the event in 1996, when Quarry and other streets in North Albany were swamped. To check it out, I got on the bike to avoid being caught in heavy vehicle traffic on the Willamette River bridges.

Turns out the swamped section of Spring Hill was about a mile and a half north of Quarry, where the road takes a slight dip and skirts the river’s left bank for a few hundred feet.

I got there just as an ambulance was coming through the flooded section, headed back to town. It was followed by another fire department vehicle, and as you can see and hear in the video, Battalion Chief Scott Cowan explained what had happened.

The Willamette came up higher Wednesday than the Weather Service had predicted the night before. At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the river hit 27.2 feet on the Albany gauge, about half a foot higher than forecast, and running at an estimated 98,350 cubic feet per second.

The Weather Service expected the river at Albany to crest at 27.3 feet at 11 p.m. Wednesday. And by that time on Thursday night, it should fall below flood stage, which is 25 feet.

Keep your eyes on your smart phone or the websites of Albany and Linn and Benton County road authorities to learn when the water has gone down enough to reopen various roads. (hh)

An ambulance is headed this way through the water on Spring Hill Drive Wednesday afternoon.


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