The Umatilla River did not discriminate when it overflowed its banks last week in a near perfect storm of wind, rain and snow in Pendleton, surrounding towns and on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
While that makes for dramatic news coverage and photos, the cleanup is really the hard part for our neighbors to the northeast.
Last week, floodwaters surged through the communities and filled homes and businesses with several feet of water. It washed out yards, destroyed a small bridge and roads and left some access to small towns impassable. One person died in the floodwaters, and some 54 people were evacuated from their homes.
Anyone who has been through a disaster knows the anxiety, stress, fears and sense of being overwhelmed. Believe it or not, some homeowners have experienced burglaries since they had left their home unlocked, fleeing the floodwaters.
In true Oregonian fashion, you can help. But don’t send supplies, or clothes or bales of hay (unless directed to by a farmers’ organization). Many of the items people tend to send wind up in piles unused and unneeded and eventually are warehoused or discarded.
What our friends need is cash, according to our sister paper, the East Oregonian in Pendleton.
Cash donations are being accepted by three local community organizations:
- Umatilla County/Pendleton region: Community Action Plan of East Central Oregon (CAPECO). Donate through the website or call 800-752-1139.
- Milton-Freewater: Blue Mountain Community Foundation: Donate through the website or call 509-529-4371.
- Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation: Send a check to: CTUIR (Attn: Accounts Receivable), 46411 Timine Way, Pendleton, OR 97801.
And don’t forget the Red Cross. You should be able to direct your funds specifically to Umatilla County.
And thank you for your kindness. One never knows when they might need a helping hand.