More than 17 inches of rain have fallen in Portland since the beginning of February, and it’s not over yet. The Columbia River is already over flood stage, and now the Willamette River is getting close, too.
Flood stage for the Willamette is 18 feet. The river was running at 17.35 feet Monday afternoon, but was expected to rise to 17.54 by Tuesday morning.
AIR 12 flew over Sellwood Park Monday morning, where the water was swallowing up the edge of the park, burying picnic tables and foot paths in water.
Eight-year-old Anika Newman was one of the few people who didn’t mind.
“When we were driving into the parking lot, I just thought it was so cool that the park was all flooded over here,” Newman laughed.
But the floodwater and sticky mud made it a little difficult for her to ride her bike.
“It’s really hard,” Newman said. “It’s like a swamp!”
For grown-ups, the mess isn’t quite so fun.
The high water was creeping dangerously close to some southwest Portland homes Monday morning, covering popular walking paths.
It was also forcing the closure of the floating Eastbank Esplanade between the Steel and Burnside Bridges for the first time in six years.
“This is supposed to be a forest,” Jennifer Moran said, pointing to the shore from the balcony of her floating home off Southwest Macadam Avenue. “That’s usually a beach that my dog runs on every day and there’s a 6-foot embankment and everything is underwater. Every day it gets higher and higher and it’s getting a bit scary.”
Late Monday, Portland Parks & Recreation announced all city-owned athletic fields and ball fields will be closed until at least Friday because the over-saturated earth is posing a safety threat.
Crews will re-evaluate conditions on Friday, in hopes that the dry weather expected later this week will allow the fields to re-open for the weekend.
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