Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 1, 2008)
voice in other words
Voices In My Head:
By Chief Mathew Workman
By P.J. O’Leary
The worst side of Mother Nature and the best parts of human nature rose to the
surface in Vernonia on the rain-soaked day of December 3rd. I can’t imagine how
we could thank all of the friends and neighbors, the volunteers and rescue crews who
helped us so much on that day and in the days that followed
While I understand that none of the help provided was given with the hope of
recognition, I feel like I need to thank a couple of people from “flood day.” At about
1:00 PM, with a good two hours of mail left to deliver, I needed to get back over the
downtown bridge to finish the mail route. My wife Leslie, who had been rescued by
Lee Siebert (thanks Lee), told me I wouldn’t make it back over because of the flood
level on Grant Avenue. Being a typical husband, I ignored her advice. I might have
made it if the engine hadn’t killed. There I was, floating back and forth like a turd in
a public pool.
Anyway, I’ve got two people to thank for saving my butt that day. Curt Bernal,
who pulled me out of the wash, and Loren Dennis, who helped me get the rest of
the mail back to the Post Office. Without them I’d be the mailman in Wheeler now
because that’s how far I might have gone before they fished me out of the Nehalem
River. These guys represent the best parts of human nature that I alluded to earlier.
I’m still a big fan of human nature.
Mother Nature I’m not so sure about. It seems to me that she is one twisted
chick. Sure, she’s the one who gives us flowers and trees, wildlife and rainbows
and those snowflakes we catch on our tongues. She’s also into hurricanes and tsuna-
mis and heartbreaking floods. “Oh, that’s just Mother Nature,” we say. Is she wear-
ing some kind of Teflon housecoat with reflective fuzzy slippers? Let’s stop giving
Mother Nature a free pass.
Imagine how different your childhood memories would be if your mother treat-
ed you like Mother Nature does. There you are, all snuggled in your warm bed.
Mommie has finished your bedtime story, tucked you in and given you a big kiss.
She then steps out into the hallway, puts on a hockey mask and starts up a chain saw.
That’s the kind of mother this “Nature” lady is.
Or maybe she’d put you in a nice warm bubble bath with your duckies and
boats. She’d pinch your cheek and say “I brought you your Easy Bake Oven to play
with too. Let me plug it in for you.”
I don’t know much about this postpartum stuff, but you would think she would
have gotten over it by now.
The Flood of 2007 is over but the rebuilding of the Upper Nehalem Valley con-
tinues. Daily we have seen the massive destruction and frayed lives being rebuilt.
I have mentioned my tremendous pride watching emergency responders, friends,
neighbors, family and strangers pulling together to try to help each other out in this
disaster. The resiliency of the valley residents continues to amaze those who are
viewing our peril from a distance. Though we were and are down we are most cer-
tainly not out, nor will we be any time soon.
I want to publicly thank all of the numerous police agencies who helped supple-
ment our manpower to ensure we had twenty-four-hour coverage. The fire depart-
ment has also received help from numerous departments to ensure adequate fire
protection for the district. The outpouring of volunteers, corporations, and agencies
was not only amazing to see but helped restore faith that people do still care about
those in need. To everyone, too numerous to mention, I want to say thank you and
would like them to know if they are ever in need, we will be there for them!
As with the Katrina Disaster, many scammers are seizing the opportunity to
prey on the generosity of the public and the vulnerability of victims. Even with
the smaller scale Vernonia Flood there are Red Cross Donation scams trying to get
people to contribute money. An elderly woman in Aloha was telephoned and asked
to give credit card and bank information to the caller. Never give out personal infor-
mation to anyone on the telephone. Other scammers have been going door-to-door
asking for donations. Any monetary donations should go through the legitimate ac-
counts set up at the Wauna Federal Credit Union and US Banks. If you feel you have
been contacted by a scammer or if you are the victim of any type of crime, be sure
to report it to your local police.
Governor Kulongoski and Attorney General Meyers are warning both storm
victims and the general public about scams. For the general public they advise that
though Oregonians want to help meet the recovery needs, crooks often try to capital-
ize on the generosity by soliciting for non-existent charities. Charities authorized to
solicit funds are registered with the Department of Justice and can be confirmed by
calling 971-673-1880 or by going online at www.doj.state.or.us/charigroup. There
are also numerous charity watchdogs that can be found on the Internet. For victims,
the Governor and Attorney General advise you to be cautious of consumer scams.
Avoid unlicensed contractors promising immediate, cheap home repair or tree re-
moval. Phony clean-up crews and tree-cutting services may begin soliciting services
with an advance deposit on future work that is never performed. They reminded ev-
eryone of Senate Bill 118 that was passed in 2007 outlawing price gouging in selling
basic products and services during certain times of emergency. More information
and reporting mechanisms can be found on the AG website at www.doj.state.or.us/.
All of this information can also be found on the VPD website under the “Storm
Cedar Ridge Retreat and Conference Center
“Weddings Are Beautiful
In The Country”
For More Information On Having Your Wedding Day
Be Very Special Call (503) 429-2801
More Packages to Choose From Ceremonies, Receptions, Or Both!
Wauna Federal Credit Union is looking for Board
of Directors, Supervisory Committee members
and other volunteers.
Learn about leadership in the financial industry
with this career building opportunity while
volunteering for a local cooperative business.
For more information, contact your local branch
or visit our website today!
The application deadline is January 25, 2008.
Board Elections will be held on March 1, 2008 at
the Annual Meeting.
Astoria Clatskanie St Helens Vernonia Warrenton
325.1044 728.4321 366.1334 429.8031 861.7526
IF YOU NEED LOCAL TOWING SERVICE
IN THE VERNONIA AREA-
Make sure you request service from a local provider.
Police and County personnel are required to use a rotating
pool of available providers, unless you speciﬁcally ask for a
service by name.
For towing emergencies this winter in and around the
Vernonia area, please ask for
R & R TOWING
There for you, when you need it the most!