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Oregon Guard on Alert as Ice Jam Expands

December 31, 1985|From Associated Press

Weary Oregon National Guardsmen kept watch today as the Snake River's worst ice jam in 28 years continued to expand.

At Ontario, Ore., flooding stabilized along the Snake River at the Idaho-Oregon border, but a 35-mile-long ice jam appeared to be growing, and National Guardsmen stood ready to evacuate more people.

"The water is down in some places and up in others," National Guard Capt. Theo Moore said today. "The way it's acting, the jam has moved up river farther."

Eight families were helped from their homes Saturday night, more left on their own and some were ready to leave if necessary, Moore said. Guardsmen in vehicles patrolled the river banks during the night.

Overnight, water rose as much as a foot on Gamble Island near Ontario, Moore said, but it fell in other areas. Water also began to rise slightly upriver at Nyssa, Ore., about 10 miles south of Ontario and more than 35 miles above the head of the ice jam.

"We just have to try and guess what the river will do and wait for people to holler for help," Moore said.

Huge chunks of ice were crushed against one another from Farewell Bend, just northwest of Weiser, Ida., to southeast of Ontario in what Police Chief Jim Jones called the worst ice jam in 28 years.

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