Record Rains Pummel Oregon, and Wind Drives a Floating Home Across State Lines

By morning, Portland’s downpour had stopped. It left fires, flooding and sewage in its wake.

UNMOORED A houseboat on the Columbia River (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)

An “atmospheric river” flowed over Portland yesterday, pouring over 2 inches of water on parts of the city.

The National Weather Service called it a “record rainfall day.” The 4 inches dropped in Astoria on Nov. 4 doubled its previous daily record. Portland tied its previous mark—1.87 inches—set in 1969.

The rains wreaked havoc. A floating home was spotted at 4 pm drifting down the Columbia River. It had been docked in a marina on North Marine Drive before high winds precipitated an “escape to Washington,” according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

“We later learned it was not currently being lived in, and the owner was planning to demolish it in the near future,” says Chris Liedle, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. “Where it settled, near Marine Park in Washington, was not creating a navigational hazard.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation advised residents to clean out storm drains and pick up sandbags. (Available free if you “bring your own shovel.”)

By 9:15 pm, the “Big Pipe” that transports sewage to Portland’s wastewater treatment plant had reached capacity. The overflow lasted four hours. The city advised residents to “avoid contact” with the contaminated Willamette River.

Shortly thereafter a fire broke out in an electrical substation at Southeast 60th Avenue and Stark Street, plunging more than 3,000 homes in the Tabor neighborhood into darkness. The power outage lasted until the early hours of the morning.

Portlanders woke up to good news, however. A cold front was pushing precipitation south to California, according to the NWS daily briefing. Rainfall is forecasted to subside.

Flood watches, however, remained in effect.

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