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'About 5:15-5:30 I heard this big crash': Wind storm topples Eugene trees

Across Eugene, residents woke up Friday morning to find damaged and downed trees littering the streets. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – Two massive Douglas firs came crashing down on Crocker Road in north Eugene Friday morning during the wind storm.

The trees fell into the street and not on any houses. For 75-year-old George Betz, the storm damage was a rude awakening.

“About 5:15-5:30 I heard this big crash,” he described.

The two Douglas firs in his yard measured more than 200-feet tall when they crashed to the ground, taking his brick wall down with them.

“I'm thinking I got a weekend worth of work right now,” Betz said. “We'll get it cleaned up and go on about our life. Just thank God that no one got hurt.”

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The Whiteaker neighborhood saw similar damage. The wind toppled an 80-year-old Myrtle Bush.

“It did scrape the garage on the way down, but it didn't cause any structural damage,” said Norman Lent, a resident in the area.

The trees are just a few examples of a much larger mess caused by the storm.

Eugene Public Works has their work cut out for them. On Friday, 13 crews worked to clean the roads, sidewalks, and bike lanes. They responded to more than 60 tree hazards.

The wind storm came just weeks after the city finally finished clearing the trees damaged by the December ice storm.

“We just finished that work and then rolled back into this morning. So we're well-versed and waiting for summer,” said Chris Girard, urban forestry manager for the City of Eugene.

For many, like Betz, summer couldn’t come soon enough.

“When you live in Oregon, most anything's going to happen,” Betz said.

Eugene Public Works said they rely on the public’s help during storm clean-up. Call them at 541-682-4800 to report a tree hazard.

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Public works asks the public to be cautious in the coming days. They have not assessed the tree damage in parks and along the trail systems.

“We’ve cleared downed trees from more than a dozen roads, but there could still be some hazards out there, specifically in the parks and on the trails,” said Chris Girard, acting incident commander.

The storm brought down dozens of trees, blocking 16 roads in all. The following three roads remain closed as of mid-Friday afternoon:

  • 2100 block of Stonecrest Drive
  • 2800 block of Timberline Drive
  • Lorane Highway, west of Van Buren

Officials say the cleanup process will take several days.

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