Swollen Methow claims home
fill.gif (49 bytes) Methow claims home

Photo by Mike Murray

Don Fitzpatrick's vacation home hangs over the runoff-swollen Methow River. The house later slipped into the river.
fill.gif (49 bytes)

By Al Camp
Omak Chronicle staff

     MAZAMA, WA - 6/24/02  - A change of course in the Methow River claimed an expensive log home in the Edelweiss area last weekend.
     Don Fitzpatrick, Seattle, notified the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office Sunday morning that the river was tearing away the river bank near his vacation home off Goat Creek Road about 1.5 miles from the Weeman bridge.
     The two-story log home, which was last assessed at $251,600 on about sixth-tenths of an acre of land, was built 16 years ago about 80 feet from the river, said sheriff Mike Murray.
     The sheriff said it appeared a log jam upriver recently changed the river's course.
     Murray said Fitzpatrick first noticed the river had torn away a couple feet of dirt around 8 p.m. June 15.
     "He did not think much of it, went to bed and then started hearing the river really roaring, and could hear trees falling," said Murray.
     Fitzpatrick checked the property at 10 p.m. to find the river had eaten away 20 more feet of embankment toward the 2,800-square-foot house, which was eight feet above water level and not built in the flood plain.
     The county was notified around 8:30 a.m. June 16 that the river was undercutting the house.
     "When I got there, it was obvious we were not going to save the house," said Murray, who said trees continued dropping into the river near the house.
     Lloyd Logging got a cable to the house to control how it fell into the river.
     "We didn't want it to roll out into the main stream and float into the bridge," which is about six feet above the river, said Murray. The river was not considered at flood stage, he added.
     The sheriff said the house slid into the river around 8 p.m. Sunday, about 24 hours after it was noticed the river was starting to eat away embankment.
     "That's pretty fast," said Murray, who credited a bulldozer and backhoe with controlling the house's descent into the river, keeping it out of the main channel.
     The remains of the house have been pulled from the river and lie in pieces on the bank, said Murray, who inspected the site Monday.
     "It was a really good move on our part to keep it from going into the main channel," said Murray, who said inch-diameter rods joined corners and held the house together. The structure would have caused problems for the bridge had it washed down stream.
     "The house was not going to come apart," said the sheriff.
     There was concern about more log jams being formed down river. Murray said the river is being monitored.
     A couple other houses down stream were experiencing mild erosion nearby due to the change in the river, said the sheriff.
     A garage on the Fitzpatrick property, also made of logs, was within five feet of the new river channel.
     Logs have since been placed along the shore in an effort to slow down erosion, Murray said.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]