Some areas already seeing flooding; more expected this weekend

Some areas already seeing flooding; more expected this weekend

Portland, Ore. – Lance Kirk lives on a hazelnut farm near Independence, Ore. The nearby Willamette River swelled 21 feet over its banks on Friday and onto his property. Some of his orchards are sitting under four feet of water.

"This is coming up slow," Kirk said. "It came up fast yesterday. Right now it's coming up slow, but it looks like next couple of days it's really going to shoot up."

He’s used to flooding - his land is in a flood plain.  There’s something different this time though.

“It usually comes up and comes right back down," Kirk said. "And this doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere."

Flooding is a growing concern for Western Oregon and Southwest Washington residents this weekend as rain moves into the forecast, adding to the snow and rain that have fallen over the past week.

Some of Kirk’s orchards are already stunted because of past exposure to water.  He said the water could kill his crops if it sticks around longer than a few days.

Kirk knows he doesn’t have control over the situation. Instead, he took his twin 10-year old sons out for a tour of the water-logged areas.

“You can’t do anything," Kirk said. "it’s Mother Nature. So we’re just waiting and seeing what she brings us right now."

The National Weather service issued a flood watch for Western Oregon as possible flooding conditions are predicted to last through the weekend. Many of Oregon’s rivers are already on the rise as rain and melting snow push water levels up the banks.

Rogue Farms, the place where hops are grown for the Oregon brewery's beer, is just down the road from Kirk’s farm. The farm was evacuated because of the flooding. 

In a blog post, staff members at the farm said they aren’t sure when they’ll re-open for business.  They canceled all of their Valentine’s Day events. The Rogue Farms blog says although some of the hops fields are covered with water, there’s no damage to them.

“Flooding is part of the natural cycle here in the Wigrich Appellation – and we are grateful for it," it reads. "The rich alluvial soil where we grow our hops, rye, pumpkins, marionberries, jalapeños and honey is the legacy of centuries of Ice Age floods and seasonal winter floods that smothered this land with volcanic dirt. If not for the floods we may not even be farmers.”

"It's always exciting at the beginning. So we'll see where it really ends up. Then it's the mess. That’s when the damage shows up," Kirk said.