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Swollen rivers wash away Oregon houses, Washington cabin





PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Three homes were destroyed by flooding on Mount Hood and about 75 families were evacuated after the Sandy River washed over its banks and swept away a section of mountain road.






"Lolo Pass (Road) is the river now," Myrna Hower, a resident of the area for more than 30 years, said to a neighbor by phone. "Your front yard is now water."






As Hower spoke, she watched her neighbor's house fall apart and trees carried away.






No injuries were reported and no one is missing in the area near the town of Welches on the western slopes of Mount Hood, said Tim Heider, public information officer for Clackamas County.






But downed power lines left the area without electricity, and there was no cell phone service after a weekend combination of rain and melting snow that Heider called "a perfect storm of events" stranded about 150 to 250 people.






"The difficulty is all the debris has sort of rearranged the road up there," Heider told The Oregonian.






Two of the homes that were destroyed lay along the Sandy River on Lolo Pass Road and a third was on the Zigzag River.






The bridge over the Zigzag River was closed to all traffic because of structural concerns, Heider said.






Nick Miller, 27, who has lived in the area for 20 years, said Lolo Pass Road, which connects to U.S. 26 near Zigzag, is "completely devastated."






"Lolo Pass (road) looks like an earthquake has hit," Miller said. "The roadway is completely rippled for about a half mile."






Heider said the area can only be accessed by foot or on ATV.






Late Monday afternoon, Lt. John Creel of the Hoodland Fire Department said crews used chain saws and hand tools to build a path up to Zigzag, where reports of damage were still tricking in.






In Washington state, residents in the town of Index say that the swollen Skykomish River has washed away a two-story cabin.






Don McDonald told KING-TV in Seattle that he "heard the noise, and the house just went into the river."






The television station says no injuries were reported when the riverside home was swept into the Skykomish's north fork Monday morning.






Heavy rain from the weekend, combined with snowmelt, pushed many rivers in Washington, Oregon and parts of Idaho over their banks.






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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com






Copyright 2011 The AP.



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