Major rain storm hits Clearwater County

This landslide happened on April 2, a windy, rainy day in Orofino, on upper Harmony Heights Road.
(Bottom two slide photos by Carol Ponozzo)


This bridge is over Orofino Creek, on Orofino Creek Road.


An ICI-O prison work crew sandbags homes located near Orofino Creek

   A major rain storm moved through Clearwater County early April 2, causing small creeks and streams to reach flood levels. Clearwater County also experienced some rock and mud slides Saturday due to the storm.

   Flood waters threatened Orofino Creek in and around the City of Orofino and Whiskey Creek around Huckleberry Butte. Landslides and water damaged multiple roads including Old Peck Grade, Havelock, Harmony Heights, and Huckleberry Butte. Over 1,000 sandbags were placed in areas around Orofino Creek and around the Huckleberry Butte Bridge over Whiskey Creek to protect the bridge from being damaged by the high water.

   Clearwater Search and Rescue and ICIO inmate crews did the sandbagging around homes in low lying areas and the Huckleberry Butte Bridge.

   Road Department crews worked to clear ditch lines and repair areas with slides and where water washed away gravel roadways.

   Orofino fire fighters responded to the area between 115th and 117th streets with hand tools to divert water from a stream that was overflowing in one yard causing concern to residence as it pooled near a house.

   Clearwater County Sheriff Chris Goetz declared a local emergency Saturday after he could not find any of the county commissioners and the disaster needs were beyond the county's resources. Later an official Disaster Declaration was signed by the county commissioners. The state has been notified of the emergency, but their resources are not needed at this time

   Clearwater County Sheriff Department, Clearwater office of Emergency Management, Orofino Police Department, Orofino Fire, Orofino City crews, County Road Department, ICIO inmate crews and local citizens all responded to the events of last Saturday.

A crew works to bring excessive water under control in the yard of Gordon and Dorothy Balla, who live in Riverside in Marquette Ct. Photos courtesy of Gordon L. Balla Photography

Flooding reported in Riverside

   Gordon Balla, a resident of Riverside who lives in Marquette Court, reported Tuesday that at approximately 4 a.m. he and his wife, Dorothy, heard water rushing loudly down a creek through the area and into a few of the area residents’ front and back yards.

   Balla reported that the water traveled from an overflowing, plugged up creek into the front yard of a next door neighbor’s, then down the hill under a wooden fence into both his back yard and that of another neighbor’s. Both yards ended up filled with at least a foot of water.

   Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office was notified, and they came out in force with men and shovels. Don Gardner, Emergency Management Coordinator, and Sheriff Christ Goetz summoned the city street crew and fire departments, including C-T, to bring their water pumps.

   The Ballas expressed their appreciation to the city and county crews’ valiant efforts and impressive efficiency.