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
"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
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.