The city of Ukiah is experiencing much of what Pendleton is going through, but on a smaller scale.
Mayor Clint Barber said three or four homes near Camas Creek are surrounded by water, and some properties in the surrounding area.
Despite dealing with worsening conditions since Friday, Barber said no residences have been hit with damage and the worst local businesses experienced was some water on the floor. He added that flooding conditions have improved since then.
The city declared an emergency nonetheless in an effort to protect its sewer lift station from floodwater.
“That’s our biggest problem, the sewer infrastructure,” he said.
Barber said there’s a chance that water could back up on a creek channel and start to flow into the lift station, although the facility is currently surrounded by some of the 2,000 sandbags provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
He also hopes that the emergency declaration will help the city garner attention for a channel in need of repairs.
He said the channel was built in the 1960s after a high-water event and would divert creek overflow from Ukiah and some of the surrounding properties if it was fully functional.
But the channel is filled with gravel, and Barber said he’s reached out to agencies like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Oregon Water Resources Department for 15-20 years to get help clearing it to no avail.
“We just want it gone,” he said.
Barber said it’s getting to the point where it’s starting to threaten a county bridge that crosses the creek to the south of town.
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation also called a state of emergency when its Board of Trustees passed a resolution Monday.
CTUIR spokesman Chuck Sams said most of the flooding occurred along Wildhorse Creek, Meacham Creek, and the Umatilla River in the Cayuse area.
Sams said the flood affected some tribal fisheries and homes, andit sent information to residents about filing flood insurance claims.
The tribes are also advised residents who draw their water from wells near these rivers to either boil their water or use bottled water.
Between Ukiah and Pendleton, flooding along McKay Creek also affected residents in the Pilot Rock area.
The flooding eroded 30-40 feet of riverbank, said Mike Morehead, who lives near Pilot Rock with his wife Barbara.
The flooding was strong enough to tear down a power pole on the couple’s property, Morehead said, leaving them without power for 14 hours before Pacific Power restored service.
The Umatilla County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday declared an emergency because of flooding.
Sheriff’s Lt. Sterrin Holcolm said that opened the door for an incident management team from the Office of State Fire Marshal to help coordinate the local response.
Cory Hardy is the Pendleton area supervisor for Umatilla County’s public works department. Flooding washed out a county road near McKay Creek, he said, and he worked to make that passable on Saturday. Monday he was repairing a washout on River Road off Cayuse Road near the Umatilla River east of Pendleton. Otherwise, he said, the rain caused some minor landslides.
“Nothing really devastating,” he said.