PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office has launched an effort to find a Dodson woman swept away by a landslide on Interstate 84 in the early hours of Wednesday.
Charles Moore of Dodson and his wife, Jennifer Camus Moore, were traveling eastbound on I-84 in separate cars around 12:45 a.m. As Moore was and his wife were caravaning home, there was some distance between them. He said his wife was following his car when all of a sudden he heard her screaming and crashing sounds over the phone.
Moore said the conditions were so bad he could not see what direction his wife’s vehicle went in following the landslide. Jennifer Camus Moore is 50.
Earlier, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said one Dodson resident was missing and the vehicle was believed to have been swept away by the debris flow. Firefighters were unable to locate any heat sources via thermal imaging cameras.
One lane of eastbound Interstate 84 reopened by Thursday morning, after being closed at the Troutdale exit after the landslide spilled onto the freeway. In addition to the Troutdale exit, Frontage Road is currently closed at Ainsworth State Park as water continues to flood the roadway.
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office first tweeted about the landslide shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Half an hour later, MCSO said the landslide was still active. First responders from the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Police and MCSO rushed to the scene looking for anyone caught in the debris.
Officials issued a flash flood warning just before 5:30 a.m. and urged residents of Dodson to evacuate the area immediately. The National Weather Service said the situation had been “deemed too dangerous to send in rescue crews.”
As of 3 p.m., as many as 30 homes remain evacuated.
The flash flood warning expired at 11:15 a.m. According to the MCSO, the Red Cross Cascades has rooms available at the Best Western in Hood River, 1108 East Marina Way, 97031 for evacuees.
MCSO says they do not know how wide the landslide is, but deputies estimate it to be several feet deep in some areas. ODOT is bringing in machinery to clear the roadways.
‘Mother Nature stronger than anybody’
Longtime Dodson resident Esten Smith, who has lived in Dodson for more than 30 years, recounted the first major landslide in the area back in 1996. Now he’s seeing this type of weather event for a second time.
Smith said this landslide started just before 1 a.m. Wednesday.
“The boulders were coming down… and you could feel the house shake,” he said. “This just goes to show you what mother nature can do. Mother Nature is stronger than anybody. I don’t care who it is.”
Smith wants everyone to stay home until they get this cleaned up first.