Visitors return to Vista House following 11-week closure due to Eagle Creek Fire


A major milestone has been reached in the Columbia River Gorge as 11 weeks after the Eagle Creek Fire erupted, the Old Columbia River Highway reopened, along with the Vista House at Crown Point.

Officials with the Oregon Department of Transportation made the announcement Wednesday morning, reopening a six-mile stretch of the highway between Larch Mountain Road and Bridal Veil.

The road became too dangerous after the Eagle Creek Fire broke out on Labor Day weekend, first because of fire itself but then later because of falling debris and the risk of landslides.

Vista House reopened just in time for a lot of wind and rain, though the dreary conditions didn’t stop people from visiting one of their favorite Oregon landmarks.

Visitors braved the wind and rain Wednesday to take pictures at Crown Point, taking in the view they haven’t had access to for too long.

“I’ve sort of been following it but not since the really intense coverage over the fires and everything,” visitor Russ Alexander, who grew up in the Gorge, told FOX 12. “But I’m glad to see it was open. It’s something special and it always has been.”

Visitors should keep in mind that even with Wednesday’s reopening at Vista House and the portion of the historic highway, Angel’s Rest, Multnomah Falls and some other spots are still closed.

Deputies told FOX 12 they have increased patrols in the areas that are still closed, adding that if they see a car in those areas, it will be towed and the owner could face charges.

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