Grants Pass, Ore.– “It’s just unreal! I couldn’t have ever imagined it would be this big.”
Steven Fitchie’s son’s land is being swept away, sloughing off into a fast moving creek.
“It’s a gigantic problem,” Fitchie says.
His 23-year-old son Travis bought property on Jerome Prairie Road in Grants Pass a couple of years ago.
His father says, “He has spent the last two years and every nickel he had to buy this place and do it right.”
He knew the property housed a large culvert maintained by the Grants Pass Irrigation Department.
“Every neighbor has complained about this [culvert] through the years. Every year it erodes more and more and more. Trees fall and break power lines etc.,” he explains.
Fitchie says his repeated calls to the irrigation district were basically ignored. He says they told him, “We don’t have the money, we don’t have the funds, we don’t have the time, come out and fill out paperwork.”
And when he tried to take matters into his own hands, packing concrete against the erosion behind the pipe, he says he was told to stop. Left neglected, this winter he says the pipe finally cracked. With the heavy rains this week, the culvert broke overnight. It took a small bridge, trees, fences, and land with it.
“It did fail and it failed huge,” says Fitchie. “It’s eaten up about 20 feet of their property and its still going, trees are falling over.”
Power was also lost to parts of the neighborhood and fast moving water continues to eat away at Fitchie’s son’s hard earned property. He says they don’t know where to go from here and fears the worst may
be to come.
“I don’t imagine there is anyway to fix this until summer,” he explains. “And with the rest of the winter rain this is going to get worse and worse. It’s not over.”
At the time this story was posted calls made to the Grants Pass Irrigation District were not been returned.