River Flooding Turns Homes Into Islands Along Pend Oreille

Published On: Sep 09 2011 12:13:29 PM PDT   Updated On: Jun 15 2011 06:03:14 AM PDT
NEWPORT, Wash. -

The Pend Oreille River is near record highs, has washed away docks, beaches and picnic areas on both sides of the river near Newport and is threatening homes along LeClerc Road.

People that live in this area say the river hasn't been this high in years.

Lucy Bauer has lived near the Pend Oreille River for 10 years.

"We have stairs, wonderful stairs that go down to the river, and a beach where I keep my kayaks and everything is gone," Bauer said.

The river has submerged the 14-foot drop to Lucy's beach, she says thanks to the rain and spring runoff the river has been gradually rising up to two feet everyday.

"We got water everywhere and we are almost becoming an island," she said.

Some houses have already become islands, several homes are completely surrounded by water with driveways washed away and their only access is by boat.

"If things go bad I will just get on my kayak," Bauer said.

Lucy isn't worried, because her house is on stilts, but her neighbors have started sandbagging trying to protect their garages and homes. She says they have decided no matter what happens they are not going to leave, they will continue to watch the river rise and hopefully sooner than later go back down.

"Most of us have water transportation whether its kayak or motor boats or runabouts," Bauer said.

People that have lived in this area for decades say they last time they remember the river being this high was in 1997.