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Parking lots, road closed in Tualatin as river rises

SUBMITTED BY BRIAN WEGENER - Pick-n-Pull, a self-service auto parts store near Sherwood, was inundated Friday by rising waters. The salvage yard sits in lowlands near the confluence of Rock Creek and the Tualatin River.

This story has been updated from its original version.

High water on the Tualatin River prompted the city of Tualatin to close Southwest Nyberg Lane and two public parking lots to traffic early Friday.

The river reached a flood stage exceeding the National Weather Service's predictions in the Farmington area, several miles upriver from Tualatin. The river crested to just over 34 feet, which the NWS considers to be its major flood stage in Farmington, overnight into Friday.



The level of the river in Tualatin has also been rising steadily. The gauge in Tualatin, just north of Tualatin Community Park, measured it at 114.8 feet above sea level as of 4 p.m. Friday, up nearly 3 feet over 24 hours. The flood stage is at 118 feet.

Nyberg Lane was closed between 57th Avenue and just east of 65th Avenue. The “Green” and “Blue” city parking lots along Southwest Boones Ferry Road were also closed in anticipation of flooding later in the day, while Valvoline and the Roamer's Rest RV Park also saw flooding in their parking lots.

Just west of Tualatin, the Pick-n-Pull salvage yard on Highway 99W was also flooded.

Schnitzer Steel Industries, which owns Pick-n-Pull, issued a statement Friday afternoon acknowledging the flooding.

"We are working closely with our facility to assess the situation and to take any necessary actions," the statement read in part. "It is important to note that prior to staging for parts re-sale in the impacted area that all hazardous materials are removed from these vehicles and that our store staff has worked diligently to maintain a clean yard that should minimize any floating debris."

Schnitzer Steel also promised "a thorough evaluation of our property" after the waters recede and said it will "address any resulting issues in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements."

The city said it is also monitoring portions of Southwest Nyberg, Tualatin-Sherwood and Tualatin roads as potential problem spots.

Tualatin Public Works Director Jerry Postema said that as of shortly after noon Friday, the situation in Tualatin was “overall pretty good.”

“We're seeing a little bit of a rise in the flooded areas,” he said.

It is unclear how much more the river will rise over the course of the day.

“It could go anywhere from 114.5 to as high as 119 feet, based on the information we have, above sea level,” said Postema.

Postema said he had not heard any reports of water entering buildings. He said Thursday that property-owners in the floodplain have been contacted, but no evacuations were planned.

Flooding and mudslides across the region caused Oregon Governor Kate Brown to declare a state of emergency in Washington County, and a dozen other northern Oregon counties on Thursday.

As of Friday morning, the NWS projected the Tualatin River to crest just below flood stage in West Linn on Sunday. The agency monitors another gauge on the river there, just north of Fields Bridge Park.

Tualatin has free sandbags available at the Public Works Department, 10699 S.W. Herman Road. In Tigard, sandbags are available at its Public Works shop, 8777 S.W. Burnham Street.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information from Oregon Governor Kate Brown's office, the National Weather Service, the city of Tualatin and Schnitzer Steel Industries, as well as with a new hydrograph, and to correct the matter of the ownership of the river gauges. The NWS does not own the gauges it uses to monitor water levels on the Tualatin River.

COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE - A hydrograph shows the rising level of the Tualatin River in Tualatin Friday.