COLUMBIA COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - Flood waters surrounded and covered roads, vehicles, and several homes across Columbia County on Tuesday morning, and the conditions have prompted the Mayor of Rainier to declare a state of emergency.
Heavy rain has led to significant flooding across northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. One of the hardest hit areas was Columbia County.
At a sandbag station, FOX 12 caught up with Michael and Ainsley Chakos who live in the Happy Hollow area along Milton Creek. They were concerned about the rising waters just outside their home.
The Chakos filled about 30 bags of sand in hopes they would be able to protect their home and property.
"I'm a little concerned. I'm worried about my car floating away," said Ainsley Chakos. " I park away from the creek so it won't get hit, but you never know."
However, FOX 12 learned by the time they arrived at their home it was too late.
The creek had overflowed, submerging trees and roads. Water had seeped into the Chakos basement, meaning the sandbags would be of no help.
Michael Chakos said the water had risen rapidly in the time it took to retrieve the sandbags.
The Chakos have lived along Milton Creek for 20 years, and Michael said they are used to this type of flooding once every four or five years.
Due to the severe flooding in the City of Rainier, Mayor Jerry Cole declared a state of emergency. The mayor said water was rising faster than resources could handle.
Mayor Cole also said the flooding has caused damage to "public and private property, disruption of utility services, and endangerment of health and safety of the residents of Rainier."
Sandbags lined businesses throughout Rainier Tuesday. The sandbags weren't enough to keep the flood waters out of Riverside Community Church.
Still, Pastor Paul Rice said it was nice to see the community coming together to help each other out during the flooding.
"Yeah, it is cool to see the other churches and other pastors get involved and helping out," Rice said.
As the water starts to recede, Columbia County Emergency Management says the main concern now is landslides.
The agency is advising drivers to be cautious because the ground has become more saturated and poses more risk for landslides.
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