Cleanup begins after devastating flooding in northeastern Oregon

PENDLETON, Ore. – The water is beginning to recede in flood-ravaged northeast Oregon, leaving a massive cleanup effort behind.

Bracing for that effort, the community has come together in solidarity and determination.

Part of Pendleton off Highway 11was just decimated by floodwaters.

In the days following, there is a real community effort to get folks back on their feet.

Fernando Ortiz is volunteering with the cleanup. He said, “Some of the families lose everything you know.”

Ortiz doesn’t live in this part of town but had to come down to help move lives into storage. “Some houses are very, very bad and now we try to help put one in storage some of the stuff that is in good condition,” he explained.

Up Bingham Road, a mess was left behind at the Bar-M Ranch. They are hoping to return Tuesday to assess the damage and begin their clean up.

Rob Myers is among those who were left stranded here as floods and landslides cut off access to the outside world, drawing a line even between neighbors Thursday night.

Myers was one of the more than 50 people airlifted to safety. He said, “There was a washout between us and them that took out the road and the water coming down off the mountainside was so torrential that there was no crossing it.”

Along Interstate 84 near Hermiston, ODOT crews were able to get one lane in each direction open. Tuesday, they worked to repair the roads damaged by fast-moving floodwaters.

Back in Pendleton, they know it’s going to take a community to get this all cleaned up and lives back to normal. “Happy to help the people, you know?” Ortiz said. “And if we help each other it’s strong I think.”

The flooding is being blamed for at least one death.

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