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History Center - 1964 Flood
Introduction
This page is devoted to historical photographs of the 1964 Christmas Flood in Oregon. This is just a sampling of the photos stored in the History Center.
 
Historical records, correspondence and photographs dating back to the late 1800's are stored at the ODOT History Center in Room 5 of the Transportation Building in Salem, Oregon.

The documents in the History Center are public records and open to inspection, as well as being available to copy.  The History Center has space available for old records, including photographs, which are not being used in daily work.  If you have any questions about the center, contact Pat Solomon Archivist at (503) 986-3284 or FAX (503) 986-4025.
 
To get back to the main History Center page, click here.

Newspaper Accounts

 
Many OregonRoads Closed By Water, Slides
MedfordMail Tribune
December 22, 1964
SALEM  (UPI) -- Highways throughout the state were closed by high water and slides, the governor's office announced at mid-morning.
The following highway report was prepared about 9 a.m. by the State Civil Defense organization:
Highway 22, closed by slide near Detroit Dam.
Highway 42, closed by high water east of Coquille.
Highway 99, closed between Oregon border and Yreka by high water and slide.
Highway 18 closed at Valley Junction by high water.
Alsea highway, closed by slides.
South Santiam Highway, closed by high water east of Foster.
Fifteen county roads closed in Marion County.
Highway 99W closed south of Monmouth.
Crown Point secondary highway closed at Troutdale.
Warm Springs Highway closed at Warm Springs bridge.
Clackamas highway closed.
Canby - Marquam highway closed at Goods bridge.
Willamina - Salem Highway closed at Dairy.
Bellview - Hopewell highway closed.
Powers secondary highway closed by high water at Broadbent.
Bandon - Coquille secondary highway closed.
Water over U.S. 99 at town of Rogue River.
Redwood Highway, U.S. 199 closed 25 miles south of Grants Pass.
Sams Valley Highway 234 closed five miles east of Gold Hill.
Lake of Woods highway closed between Eagle Point and Lake Creek.
Elkton - Sutherlin highway closed.
Powell Butte secondary Highway 371 closed north of Bend airport.
Underpasses Closed
Redmond - Bend secondary highway closed 13 miles south of Redmond.
All three underpasses in Bend closed.
U.S. 395 closed due to debris 11 miles south of Ukiah.
Two bridges on Oregon 19 in doubtful condition and may have to be closed.
South River road closed south of Salem.
Jefferson to Mill City road closed.
Highway 51 closed between Salem and the "Y".
Crown point secondary highway closed.
 

 
Record Level At Portland
MedfordMail Tribune
December 24, 1964
PORTLAND (UPI) --Thousands of flooded-out Oregonians prepared today for a bleak Christmas as the mighty Willamette River passed record levels near Portland.
All flooded areas of the state today were declared disaster areas by the Small Bsiness Administration in Washington, D.C.
Tension mounted in Portland as a crest of 28 feet, 10 feet above flood stage, was forecast for Christmas morning.  There already had been damage to waterfront property.  At Oregon City below the falls the Willamette was a record 17 feet above flood stage this morning and was expected to go 2.5 feet higher by Friday.
Twelve persons were known dead as floodwaters washed away homes and roads and crippled travel and communications.
Highway Engineer Forrest Cooper said 28 highway bridges were out.  He estimated damage to highways in excess of $10 million.  Cooper flew over the Willamette Valley Wednesday.  "I saw hundreds of houses flooded in the valley - in cities and towns and isolated farms.  You just can't imagine how much water there is."
 

 
State Highway Conditions Vary; Caution Urged
MedfordMail Tribune
December 24, 1964
 
SALEM (UPI) -- Highway Engineer Forrest Cooper today issued the following report on major Oregon routes:
Interstate 5 open.
Interstate 80N, open, but restricted to emergency vehicles only in the John Day area.  Use alternate routes for east-west travel.
Coast Highway, US 101, open, with periodic high water in Gardiner area.
Sunset Highway, US 26, open.
Wilson River Highway, Oregon 6, open.
Salmon River Highway, Oregon 18, open.
Corvallis - Newport, US 20, open.
South Santiam Highway, US 20, open.
Green Springs Highway, Oregon 66, open but restricted to vehicles of 10,000 pounds or less.
The Dalles-California Highway, US 97, open from Madras to California.
Bend-Ontario Highway, US 20 open.
Klamath Falls-Lakeview highway, Oregon 66, closed by high water.
Fremont highway, Oregon 31, closed at Paisley.
Closures Listed
The following highways are closed, and there was no indication when they might be reopened:
Mt. Hood Highway, US 26, Sandy to Government Camp
Willamette Highway, Oregon 58, above Oakridge.
Crater Lake Highway, Oregon 62, closed at Shady Cove
John Day Highway, Oregon 19 and US 26, closed several places.
Ochoco Highway, US 26, Redmond to John Day.
Lake of the Woods Highway closed west of Klamath Falls.
All major routes are in varying stages of repair, and motorists were cautioned to exercise care at all times.  Local road conditions were changing hourly as water levels change, and motorists were advised to ask local authorities for details.
 

Flood Photos - Highways

The following highways in Oregon were hit hard by the 1964 flood:
 
Cascade Hwy.Pendleton - John Day
Clackamas Hwy.Redwood Hwy.
Columbia River Hwy.Sams Valley Hwy.
Coos Bay - Roseburg Hwy.Service Creek - Mitchell Hwy.
Coquille - Bandon Hwy.Sherman Hwy.
Corvallis - Lebanon Hwy.
Spray - Mitchell Hwy.
Crater Lake Hwy.Umpqua Hwy.
Crown Point Hwy.US 20
Hillsboro-Silverton Hwy.US 99E
I-5US 99W
John Day Hwy.Warm Springs Hwy.
North Santiam Hwy.Willamette Hwy.
Oakland - Shady Hwy.Woodburn - Estacada
 
Click here to see a sampling of the many highway flood photographs available in the History
Center.

Flood Photos - Cities
The History Center has 1964 flood photos of the following cities:
 
 Keizer
 Portland
 
Click here to see a sampling of the images.