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The End of an Era

Officials survey a washed-out Douglas Bridge on Highway 101 in Klamath following the Christmas Flood of 1964. Photo by Maris Ward courtesy of the Maris Ward family
It was the week before Christmas in 1964 and snow covered the mountains from an earlier Alaskan cold front. On Dec. 18, a warm “Pineapple Express” storm from the tropics had arrived and began delivering large amounts of rainfall to the Northwest region. Warm rains melted the snowpack, and the runoff steadily increased the flow of Klamath River watershed creeks and tributaries, causing the river to rise quickly. Within days, concerns grew with anticipation of dreaded flooding. 

The Klamath River had flooded numerous times before, sometimes disastrously, including one flood over 150 years ago mentioned in Frances Turner McBeth’s “Lower Klamath Country” that destroyed Fort Ter-Waw near Klamath Glen. It rained almost constantly in the winter of 1861–1862, and Terwer Valley was covered by the floodwaters. As a result, 22 buildings at Fort Ter-Waw were washed away. And in more recent times, Klamath residents and businesses survived the 1955 flood that caused considerable damage and loss of homes when the river reached 44 feet. 

Slide redirects Patrick Creek

A landslide, visible on the left, has pushed the creek closer to the road. Courtesy Jeff Daniels
Lake Earl will be breached in coming week 

Torrential rain sent the embankments on either side of Patrick Creek Road tumbling down over the weekend, closing the road indefinitely, according to county officials.

As a rock slide cuts off both lanes about 1.25 miles from Hwy 199, another landslide across the creek has rerouted the scouring flows. If huge boulders left tottering on the edge take the plunge, it could wash out the pavement completely, explained Del Norte County Roads Superintendent Jeff Daniels.

DN posts lowest Nov. jobless rate since 2007

Unemployment in Del Norte County and the state of California as a whole is seeing a return to pre-recession levels,  according to the California Employment Development Department.

Del Norte County’s unemployment rate last month was the lowest November rate since 2007, meanwhile California’s overall unemployment rate is at its lowest level since June 2008.

Man rescued from rising water near Requa ramp

The rising waters on the Klamath River nearly claimed the life of a man reportedly living in the brush near the banks, but a persistent effort from a Del Norte Sheriff’s deputy and Yurok Tribal Police finally paid off with the rescue of Yew-Sou Wong.

Deputy Adam Daniels recieved a call about a subject possibly stranded near the Requa boat ramp. Daniels tried to reach the area on West Klamath Beach Road, but by about 7 a.m. the road had become impassable.

Students’ Polar Plunge canceled

A polar bear swim and a chili cook-off to raise money for a high school trip to the Mediterranean coast has been canceled.

Sponsored by Del Norte High School’s World Edventures Booster Club, the event was scheduled to take place on New Year’s Day with people sprinting into the ocean at the Crescent City Harbor and warming up at the chili cook-off afterwards. 

Study backs reroute of 101

Climate change’s impact on Last Chance Grade examined 

Sea level rise and more intense storms could exacerbate coastal erosion, flooding and landslides on Del Norte County’s coastal roads, particularly at Last Chance Grade, according to a federally-funded study on climate change impacts to North Coast roads.

Using public input and direction from a technical advisory group, the study concluded that rerouting U.S. Highway 101 around the active slide was the most desirable of two adaptation strategies to cope with climate change.

Victim, 72: ‘I would have shot them’

Webb gets 9 years for burglary thwarted by woman with gun 

A burglar caught in the act by his victim now faces more than the pistol she leveled at him, after being sentenced to nine years in state prison by a Del Norte Superior Court Judge on Thursday. 

A jury found 32-year-old Crescent City resident Donald K. Webb guilty of first degree residential burglary last month. The crime carries a maximum six-year sentence, plus three additional years, one for each of Webb’s prior stints in state

Caltrans keeping an eye on slides

The annual winter rains have been falling hard on Del Norte County over the past few weeks, and with them have come the familiar mudslides and rockfalls common in the area.

While Del Norte has been able to avoid any major road closures thus far, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Chris Enriquez said Caltrans has been keeping a close eye on two slides just south of Crescent City on U.S. Highway 101 on either side of the Hamilton Road junction. 

Enriquez said that so far the slides haven’t resulted in closures, but travel has been restricted to one lane at times as crews work to remove some freshly fallen debris. 

DUI suspected in single-car crash

A one-car accident on Washington Boulevard left the driver with major injuries, but a passenger escaped the wreck unhurt Thursday morning.

John Skerik, 28, of Crescent City was traveling west on Washington toward Pebble Beach Drive at about 5:15 a.m. in a 2005 Honda Accord, according to a press release from the California Highway Patrol.

Public comment on transportation priorities sought

Caltrans is currently developing a long-range planning document to prioritize transportation projects across the state. 

Del Norters are encouraged to submit comments about their road and rail transportation priorities for the Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan or ITSP before the end of December.

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