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Pages of History: Klamath cuts new channel

From the pages of the Del Norte Triplicate, January 1965.

Devastation from the December 1964 flood in Del Norte County was inspected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Col. Robert Alan, chief of the 12th district, San Francisco, assured local authorities the Corps is ready to move in immediately upon authorization and begin debris clearance.

It was found that the Klamath River has cut a new channel, making a new island just below the glen.

Three-thousand people are homeless in Del Norte County due to the floods and damage is set at $40 million, although this figure is very conservative. Gov. “Pat” Brown has said that it is “impossible” to say when roads would be opened in the Crescent City area again.

All logging and salvage operations along Del Norte’s 40 miles of coastline have also been prohibited. This notice went into effect immediately.

Visitors welcomed

Smashed to their knees by the flood damage, northern counties of California’s famed Redwood Empire are determined to be ready for visitors this summer.

Christmas week floods that erased whole towns in the valleys of the Eel and Klamath rivers also ruined miles of highway and left mountains of debris, but an inventory today showed that major resort centers were virtually untouched, that the great redwood groves are still standing and that a crash program of highway restoration is under way.

The greatest reconstruction project in the history of California’s Division of Highways is attacking that problem from all directions with contracts being awarded to rebuild bridges around the county.

REA President J. Dwight O’Dell, newspaper publisher at Fortuna, on the fringe of the badly flooded Eel River delta, relayed word that motels and hotels in Eureka, Crescent City, Garberville, and many intervening towns are open and will be serving tourists as soon as Highway 101 is back in service.

Water scours banks 80 ft.

The Klamath River banks are scoured 80 feet and higher, according to reports by Hugh Wolcott of Klamath and Ike McCovey who lost two homes just above Ryerson rocks, which is 15 miles down the river from Weitchpec.

Wolcott, member of the Simpson Timber Company staff in Klamath, made a survey of the river by boat last weekend. McCovey, after being isolated since Dec. 22 when the flood hit, got down the river by boat last Sunday, Jan. 3.

The information supplied by the men told of complete devastation with many homes and businesses gone or badly damaged.

Economic upset predicted

Charges and counter accusations flew across county lines this week as the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors decided to salvage merchantable timber in the tremendous mass of debris in the surf and on county beaches.

Giving the money to the school district was the original plan, but if the logs show evidence of manufacture, they become the property of the original owner, leading to another problem: trying to identify now unmarked logs.

Mills outside of Del Norte County are also trying to lay claim to the logs leading back to the same question: Who do the logs belong to?

 


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